Indiana sets the pace and downs the Kings 107-97 on Saturday night

Kings at Pacers scoreboard
Graphic: @Pacers

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings knew going into Indianapolis they faced an uphill battle with the Indiana Pacers. The upstart Kings handed the Pacers a 111-110 loss in Sacramento last Saturday night and the Indiana team was ready to revenge that loss.

The Pacers are one of the best defensive teams in the NBA and they win by controlling the pace of the game. Indiana had no intention of allowing the Kings to run and gun like they did in Cleveland on Friday night.

Indiana did slow the Kings down and the Pacers won the game 107-97.

Back-to-backs
This was the second game of a back-to-back set on the road for the Kings. Some statisticians place the chances of the visiting team winning the second game of a back-to-back schedule on the road at under 33 percent. That means the Kings were at a great disadvantage before the opening tipoff of the game in Indiana on Saturday night.

Battle of the Tiers

Pacers flag

This was a battle of two teams that are in different NBA tiers. The Pacers are a solid Tier Two team (a consistent playoff team) that may be ready to jump into to the lower end of Tier One in the Eastern Conference. The Kings are a Tier Three team (Draft Lottery participants) who are trying to become a lower Tier Two team that battles for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.

The fact that the Kings split the season series (1-1) with an accomplished team like the Pacers shows the kind of improvement they are experiencing this season.

The Pacers “D” suppressed the Kings’ offense

sac sac

After posting big team numbers versus the Cavaliers, the Kings team stats dropped dramatically against the defensive-minded Pacers:

  • Field Goal Shooting: 38-for-90 (42.2%)
  • 3P Field Goal Shooting: 28.1% (9-for-32)
  • Points in the Paint: IND 56 SAC 46
  • Second Chance Points: SAC 24 IND 19
  • Fast Break Points: SAC 22 IND 18
  • The Pacers outrebounded the Kings 52-43

A Check of the Book

Kings at Pacers starters
Photo: @SacramentoKings

The Kings played the game without Iman Shumpert who was inactive due to an injury that was categorized as “load management”. Joel Embiid has been kept out games for the same reason a number of times.

  • Buddy Hield was the Kings top scorer with 20 points shooting 8-for-20 from the field
  • De’Aaron Fox started slow but stepped up in the second half to put 18 points in the scorebook along with six assists
  • Willie-Cauley Stein put up 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic and Justin Jackson each scored 11 points in the game
  • Nemanja Bjelica scored six points and hauled in 12 rebounds for SAC

The Pacers were still without their star guard Victor Oladipo (sore right knee). Indiana still has no definite date for his return to active status.

Kings at Pacers Collison
Photo: @Pacers
  • Thaddeus Young led the Pacers scoring attack with 20 points
  • Bojan Bogdanovic added 18 points converting 7-of-7 from the free throw line
  • Former King Darren Collison scored 14 points and dished out six assists
  • Miles Turner put nine points in the book and grabbed 13 rebounds

With the loss, the Kings record drops to 13-12 for the season and they fall to ninth in the Western Conference. The Pacers improve to 16-10 on the year and are now in sole possession of fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

Up Next
The Kings will wrap up this four-game road trip on Tuesday night in Chicago versus the Bulls. A win would give Sacramento a record of 3-1 on the trip which they would be very happy to finish with for a December road tour of the East.

The Pacers will host the Wizards on Monday.

Kings pull one out of the fire, beat the Pacers 111-110 on Saturday night in SAC

By Charlie O. Mallonee

SACRAMENTO — The Sacramento Kings broke a three-game losing skid on Saturday night when they defeated the Indiana Pacers 111-110 on their home court. The Kings took the lead with 16.1-seconds to go in the game and then had to battle through one of the ugliest jump ball endings any NBA has ever seen.

Even after the final buzzer, the game’s ending remained in doubt as the officials called for a replay to determine who committed a violation on the jump ball play. The violation was charged to the Pacers’ Darren Collison (yes, the former King) and 1.3 seconds was put back on the clock with the ball being awarded to Sacramento.

The Kings inbounded the ball and held it until the clock expired to seal the victory.

This was not a “typical” Kings win
The Kings were not able to run the Pacers into the ground as they have so many other teams this season. Indiana entered the game holding their opponents to the second lowest average points per game at 102.3. The Pacers were seventh in shooting defense holding their opponents to a 46.6 Field Goal Percentage.

Sacramento did win the battle of the Fast Break Points 18-10, but that is a far cry from a team that has twice this season scored 38 points on the break.

One of the keys to the Kings win was their offensive rebounding. They pulled down 14 rebounds off their own shots while the Pacers grabbed only six offensive rebounds. Those offensive rebounds would lead to 15 Kings second chance points while Indiana could muster only six of their own.

The Kings also helped themselves with some well-timed 3-point shooting in the game. The Pacers came in holding their opponents to a 37.7 3-point shooting percentage. The Kings shot 44.8 percent (13-for-29) from downtown on Saturday night. Indiana shot above their normal 3-point shooting percentage of 37.8, hitting 10-of-24 attempts (41.7-percent), but their effort fell short of the Kings’ pace.

Both teams were missing key players
The Pacers were without Victor Oladipo for a seventh game due to sore right knee. The bad news for Indiana is that there is no timetable for Oladipo’s return. It is not easy to replace 21.4 points per game in your lineup.

The Kings had to play without Marvin Bagley III, who was suffering from back spasms that flared up late in the game versus the Clippers. Sacramento is hoping that he will be available on the upcoming four-game road trip.

Battle of the Bogdanovics
Each team’s leading scorer had the name Bogdanovic on his jersey. Bojan Bogdanovic was the Pacers leading scorer and the high scorer in the game with 27 points in just over 37 minutes on the floor. He hit 10-of-19 shots from the field, including two 3-point baskets. Indiana’s Bogdanovic converted 5-of-6 opportunities from the free throw line.

The Kings’ Bogdan Bogdanovic led his team in scoring with 20 points coming off the bench as the sixth man. Bogdanovic also added six assists and two steals for Sacramento. He put 7-of-12 shots through the hoop with three of those buckets being 3-pointers. Bogdanovic was a perfect 3-for-3 from the charity stripe.

Dave Joerger had a lot to say after the game

Joerger point of emphasis
Coach Dave Joerger met the press corps at the entrance to the locker room to tell us he overlooked something in postgame remarks to the media. He wanted to be sure to let us know that in his opinion that Justin Jackson had his best game of the season on Saturday night.

Jackson scored eight points, hauled in three rebounds and dished out two assists in just under 25 minutes of playing time. Jackson also played some tenacious defense for the Kings that will not show up in hard numbers but helped lead them to a win.

Don’t overlook Troy Williams
Troy Williams scored 12 points in 16 on the floor Saturday night. He connected on 4-of-6 shots and was a perfect 3-for-3 from behind the 3-point arc. Williams brought a high charge of energy to court every time he entered the game.

De’Aaron Fox is always ready to talk after a win

Final Takeaways

  • The Kings are now back to .500 for the season with a record of 11-11
  • The Pacers’ record now stands at 13-10
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic has scored 20 or more points in his last three games
  • Willie Cauley-Stein recorded his eighth double-double of the season with 17 points and 13 rebounds
  • Bojan Bogdanovic put up 27 points which is a new season-high for the Pacers star
  • The Kings win broke a four-game overall losing streak to Indiana
  • This game featured 25 lead changes, 11 ties and neither team ever held a lead of more than seven points
  • The Kings are now 8-2 when they outrebound their opponents

Up Next
The Kings will head out on the road for a four-game trip that will take them to Phoenix, Cleveland, Indianapolis and Chicago. Sacramento will kick off the trip on Tuesday night in Phoenix.

The Pacers will return to Indianapolis and will host the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday evening.

Kings lose hard fought game to Pacers, 106-103

Bogie vs Bogie
It was Bogdanovic vs Bogdanovic in this game! Photo: @Pacers

By: Jordan Chapin

SACRAMENTO- On one of the final home games of the season, the Kings put on quite a show against the playoff bound Indiana Pacers but didn’t have enough down the stretch as they fall to Indiana 106-103. After a sloppy game on Tuesday night against the Mavericks, Sacramento came out tonight, and really seemed like they were playing for their city. Led by the outstanding shooting nights of Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic, the Kings were in it for the entirety of the game, but ran into an all-star by the name of Victor Oladipo.

Kings starting 5 vs Ind
Kings starting five vs Pacers Photo @SacramentoKings

Sacramento looked as good as they have this season in the first half of the ballgame. Willie Cauley-Stien was doing everything out on the floor before heading into the locker-room, including scoring 17 of his 19 points and shooting (9-of-10) from the field. The Kings outscored the Pacers bench 48 to 22 led by a 20 point night from Buddy Hield and Frank Mason doing a little bit of everything.

The second half of the game, the Kings continued to shoot the ball well and played hard, but the all-star, Victor Oladipo, began to show why he has led his team to the 5th-seed in the East. He finished his night with 24 points, five boards, and two assists, including the dagger 3-pointer that sealed the win for Indiana. Even after two crazy made baskets in the final seconds of the game by Hield and Bogdanovic, the Kings luck ran out as they fell 106-103.

Indiana sweeps the season series with the Kings, although it took a hard fought game from the Pacers to seal the win. The Kings will finish their six-game homestand on Saturday as the World Champion Golden State Warriors come to town. Fans were able to get into the game tonight and it really seemed like the Kings were playing for the Sacramento faithful. With only seven games remaining, the Kings will not surpass their win total of 32 from last season, but it seems they are truly playing for what is to come in the future.

Kings battle hard again but come up short against the Thunder 122-118

okc-west
Westbrook en route to 20th triple-double Photo: Kelley L Cox USA Today Sports

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Sacramento — Stop me if you have heard this before. “Tough night. Tough game to watch. The guys (Kings) are playing as hard as they can,” Sacramento head coach Dave Joerger after watching his team lose to the Oklahoma City Thunder 122-118. The Kings actually cut the Thunder lead to just two points with 11-seconds to go in the game, but there was not enough time left to finish the potential comeback.

The Kings were down by 12 points with 2-minutes remaining in the game and it felt like things were over at that point. Three 3-point baskets by Tolliver, Collison and Gay along with three Oklahoma City turnovers allowed Sacramento to work their way back into the game. Literally, the Kings waited 60-seconds to long to start their comeback and have enough time to finish it with a positive outcome.

The Kings are playing hard. They are not giving up. They just do not have enough “____________” (fill in the blank with your own opinion because there are so many and no one idea seems to be the right one at this moment). There can be no doubt that something is missing. Be assured the Kings want to fix it. At this point, it must not be that easy to fix or the organization would do it immediately.

No team wants to be in playoff contention – and the Kings are still in ninth place one-game back of Portland even after this loss – with a record of 1-5 on a seven-game homestand. The Kings management, coaching staff and players want to fix whatever is wrong. At this point, they just have not been able to do so successfully.

What will the Kings do next? They have a multitude of options so predicting the next move is very difficult despite whatever anyone is saying. The one thing that is known at this point is the Kings want that eighth spot in the Western Conference Playoffs.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Sacramento Kings
Dave Joerger draws up a play for the Kings versus the Thunder Photo: NBAE

It was a long game on Sunday night

Early in his postgame comments, Kings head coach Dave Joerger talked about what a long game it was on Sunday night. In fact, Joerger said it felt like game went on for hours.

  • There were 57 personal fouls committed by both teams
  • A total of 81 free throws were attempted
  • Four technical fouls were assessed

Add in timeouts, arguments by coaches and players plus video reviews and it was a long night for everyone

Stars of the game

Oklahoma City Thunder v Sacramento Kings
Cousins goes to the basket against the Thunder Photo: NBAE
  • Russell Westbrook – it did not look like the triple-double machine would pull off another impressive stat night early in the game. The OKC star guard had just 11 points, four rebounds and six assists at the half. By the time game ended, Westbrook had posted his 20th triple-double of the season by scoring 36 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and dishing out 10 assists. The man is truly a phenomena.
  • DeMarcus Cousins – the Kings center had a big night as he scored 31 points for his team and made it a double-double game by hauling in 11 rebounds (6 offensive). He also had seven assists. It was not a great shooting night as he went 8-for-20 from the floor but Cousins made up for it from the free throw line by hitting 14-of-17 from the stripe.

Co-stars

  • Darren Collison – the point guard had just two points in the first half of the game and finished the game with 21 points. He shot 7-for-9 from the floor including going 2-for-3 from 3-point range. Collison also took advantage of the charity stripe going 5-for-6 from the free throw line. He also posted two assists and two steals.
  • Enes Kanter – he is an easy selection for the Thunder. When Steven Adams went down due to injury, Kanter picked up the slack. Kanter scored a season-high 29 against the Kings hitting 10-of-18 shots. He also recorded a double-double by pulling down 12 rebounds.

Other featured players

Oklahoma City Thunder v Sacramento Kings
Rudy Gay brings the ball up the floor versus the Thunder Photo: NBAE
  • Kings – Rudy Gay 21 points and 10 rebounds, Anthony Tolliver 10 points, Garrett Temple 8, Matt Barnes 7 points and 8 rebounds, Arron Afflalo 7 points
  • Thunder – Victor Oladipo 23 points shooting 7-for-14, Alex Abrines 13 points and Steven Adams 6 points and 4 rebounds in just 19-minutes before being injured

Spotlight on stats

  • Points in the Paint: Thunder 56 Kings 46
  • 2nd chance points: Kings 17 Thunder 14
  • Fast break points: Thunder 25 Kings 9
  • Turnovers: Kings 22 (23 pts for OKC) Thunder 19 (28 pts for SAC)
  • Rebounds: Kings 44 (14 offensive) Thunder 44 (17 offensive)

Injury update

  • Steven Adams, OKC Thunder – Adams went down after battling for a rebound at the 10:48 mark of the third quarter. He left the court and did not return to the game. Adams hit his head on the floor and was experiencing concussion-like symptoms. He will be evaluated on Monday to determine if he must enter the NBA concussion protocol program.

Up next on the schedule

Kings – Sacramento closes out the seven-game homestand versus the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night at the Golden 1 Center. Sacramento is just 1-5 on the current homestand and would like to close it out on a positive note before heading out on a brutal road trip. The Kings will play eight games over 13 days on the road and will not be back in Sacramento until February.

Thunder – Oklahoma City has the second game of a back-to-back set on Monday night in Los Angeles against the Clippers. The Thunder will then head back to the Bay Area on Wednesday night to take on Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors in a nationally televised game.