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It was a wire to wire victory for the Sacramento Kings over the New Orleans Hornets, winning 102-96, and DeMarcus Cousins played the biggest role in all of it. Cousins scored eight of the first twelve points and nineteen first half points to pace Sacramento to a 56-46 halftime lead.
And he came up big in the clutch too; despite Cousins not scoring any points after the 10:22 mark in the fourth quarter, he grabbed four rebounds in the final four minutes, assisted Tyreke Evans on a layup to put the Kings up six, stole a pass from Chris Paul, and drew an offensive foul on Marcus Thornton with under a minute left.
Cousins finished with 25 points, 12 rebounds and 7 assists on the game, his second big performance in as many nights, as Sacramento has now beaten the Lakers in Staples and snapped the winning streak of the hottest team in the Western Conference. Up next? The Boston Celtics.
DeMarcus Cousins Rainbow Fall Away Shot (via kingsflix)
For more Kings coverage, head over to Sactown Royalty.
Sacramento was able to withstand an early Lakers run in the 4th quarter to hang on and pull off the huge upset at Staples Center.
Los Angeles started the quarter off with an 18-8 run, cutting the lead to as low as three. But the Kings fought through their mistakes, and in another sign of growth, hung on to win.
There were many moments that helped attribute to the victory, but perhaps the biggest reason was the play of the Kings big man rotation of DeMarcus Cousins, Samuel Dalembert, and Carl Landry.
Cousins had one of the best nights of his career. He finished with 27 points on 11-19 shots, along with 10 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blocks, 2 assists to go with only 1 turnover and 1 foul. He was also a game-high +19. He did a good job on defense too, on both Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum.
Dalembert finished with a season high 18 points on 8-12 shooting, as well as 5 rebounds. Carl Landry chipped in with a double-double, with 12 points and 10 rebounds (7 offensive).
The Lakers bigs meanwhile didn’t really come alive till it was too late. The trio of Bynum, Gasol and Odom only scored a combined 25 points on 26 shots. Odom himself was 0-7 from the field.
The Lakers really couldn’t get anybody going on offense besides Kobe Bryant, who scored a game-high 38 points. But Bryant missed quite a few shots down the stretch that would have cut the lead. Shannon Brown was perhaps the only other player who helped offensively, scoring 17, including 3-5 from downtown.
Tyreke Evans didn’t score as much as he usually did, only 13 points on 5-13 shots, but he managed to make an impact in other ways, adding 5 rebounds and 5 assists with two steals. The three-pointer and free throws he hit during the fourth quarter were huge too.
Omri Casspi also had a huge game, scoring 20 points to go with 8 rebounds, as well as playing some good defense on Kobe Bryant late in the game. Casspi had a huge tip-in off an Evans miss late in the 4th to put the Kings up by 7, sealing the victory for Sacramento.
This is a great win for the Kings, and hopefully they can carry this momentum against the other good teams that they play on this trip.
Samuel Dalembert, somewhat surprisingly, has given the Kings a huge lift off the bench, scoring 17 in only 21 minutes. He hit a variety of jumpers, and combined with DeMarcus Cousins (24), the Kings centers have outscored the Lakers combo of Gasol/Bynum 41 – 14.
Omri Casspi has also been an underrated player, scoring 18, including 3-5 from the three point arc. Carl Landry has been huge on the offensive glass, grabbing 6 offensive boards. Landry has also added 8 points.
Tyreke Evans still hasn't gotten much going, but did manage to stay out of further trouble.
DeMarcus Cousins didn’t let up on his scoring onslaught in the 2nd quarter. He scored 10 in the quarter to finish with 22 points (on 9-13 shots), 5 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal at the half. His career high is 28 points so it seems likely he’ll reach or surpass that total tonight. Most importantly perhaps, he only has one personal foul. He did get whacked across the face by Kobe Bryant late in the half that seemed to bother him, but he managed to hit both free throws before returning to the bench.
The Kings as a team are shooting 59.1% , compared to the Lakers 52.6%, and they are also managing to outrebound Los Angeles by 6. The Lakers meanwhile have a big free throw advantage (12-14 to 5-5) and also in turnovers (3 to the Kings’ 7).
Kobe Bryant got a nice breather in the 2nd so he didn’t score another 21 in the 2nd but he still managed to score 26 on 10-14 shots, as well as 2 assists and 3 steals. He didn’t get much help scoring-wise from his teammates however, as the next highest point total was Andrew Bynum with 6.
Sacramento also got some nice production from Omri Casspi (10 points), Carl Landry (8), and Samuel Dalembert (7). Tyreke Evans only scored 4 points, but he also had 3 assists, 2 rebounds and a steal. Evans was only able to play 13 minutes in the half due to foul trouble.
Sacramento has had trouble closing out games all year, and the Lakers are not just any other team. The Kings have their work cut out for them if they are going to hold on for the upset.
DeMarcus Cousins came out meaning business. He scored 12 points on 6-7 shooting, mainly on jumpers, including a tough contested fadeaway. He was pulled from the game for Carl Landry when Samuel Dalembert came in, presumably to save him for the rest of the game and also not to pick up a 2nd foul.
Tyreke Evans fell into that trap early, getting two quick fouls despite playing well early. He only was able to play the first 5 minutes, and it included a layup where he blew by Ron Artest and muscled his way to the basket.
Kobe Bryant was way too much for Sacramento. He scored 21 points in the first quarter alone. On his 13th point, he passed Hakeem Olajuwan for 8th place on the All-Time Scoring List late in the quarter on a steal and breakaway dunk.
Both teams traded blows and runs back and forth through the quarter. Sacramento finished the quarter shooting 70%, and the Lakers 72.2%. The biggest problem for Sacramento however has been turnovers, as they have 5 while Los Angeles only has 1.
The Kings haven't had the best of luck beating any team this season, much less the good ones (only two wins against teams above .500). The Lakers are no different as the Kings have already suffered two losses at their hands, and both games the Lakers were shorthanded without Andrew Bynum. Bynum is back now however, and he's been a big boost to both Los Angeles defense, and their offense, as it allows Pau Gasol to move back to his more natural position of PF, and also allows the Lakers the luxury of bringing in Lamar Odom off the bench. The big man rotation of Bynum, Gasol, and Odom is probably the best in the league, and why the Lakers are still considered favorites for their 3rd title in a row.
Bynum himself might have a bit of a grudge against Sacramento, as Rookie DeMarcus Cousins tweeted this summer that "Bynum didn't deserve to touch the trophy" as he had been injured much of the time last year. Its not likely that he's forgotten that.
The Kings are coming off a tough loss at home against Charlotte, a game which had no rhythm thanks to the 59 combined fouls. Carl Landry and Tyreke Evans both led the Kings with 19 points, but they still weren't able to hold off the Bobcats, and lost by 5.
Perhaps the only position the Kings have an advantage on the Lakers in is at the point guard with Beno Udrih going against Derek Fisher and Steve Blake. Blake and Fisher are more spot-up shooters in the Lakers offense, while Udrih is often asked to create his own shot, something he's been very good at this year. Plus he did this once in a preseason game:
If the Kings hope to win this game, they're going to have to find some way to score inside, and also to stop the Lakers from doing the same. This is definitely not an easy task, especially considering how in the last trip to LA (a 113-80 loss), the Kings were outscored in the paint 68-30. This doesn't even paint how bad the picture really was, as the Lakers had a 50-10 points in the paint advantage midway through the 3rd quarter, before it really became garbage time.
The likelihood of Sacramento winning this game is low. Low might be too generous of a word there. They'll likely have to play better than they have in any other game this season, and the Lakers will likely have to play worse than any other game this season. The chances are absymal. Here's hoping simply for a competitive and exciting game.
Today the NBA announced that this year for the Skills Challenge, the fans would get to vote four players in to compete with reigning Champion Chris Paul during All-Star Weekend.
Included on the Ballot are Sacramento’s Tyreke Evans, as well as Stephen Curry, John Wall, Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose, Baron Davis, Tony Parker and … Derek Fisher?!? What?
Fans can vote as many times as they want on NBA.com by visiting this link. You must choose four of the five candidates to vote (I’m not counting Derek Fisher as a real candidate).
Personally, I think Tyreke is a bit of an underdog to win this thing, but I still wouldn’t put it past him to win it if he got voted in. Last year during the All-Star Break, Evans led the underdog and undersized Rookie team to a thrilling victory over the Sophomores on his way to being called the game’s MVP.
Why should you vote for Tyreke? Because of stuff like this:
The Bobcats earned their fifth straight win over the Kings and began their six-game road trip on the right foot. The jaunt will also take them to Phoenix, Golden State, Los Angeles, Utah and Detroit.
"This one kind of sets the tone for us and the guys know they can win out here. That's the main thing," said Charlotte head coach Paul Silas. "Everyone has a sense that we can get it done."
The Kings were coming off a 96-81 win in Portland on Monday night.
"We obviously didn't want to have a let down, even though this is a good Charlotte team. But we kind of got out of our game," said Jason Thompson, who had 14 points and eight rebounds in the loss.
The Bobcats took a 21-19 lead after a back-and-forth first quarter. Wallace added 10 points in the second quarter, and the Bobcats shot 60 percent from the field on the way to a 52-42 lead at the break.
Both teams came out flat in the third quarter, but the Kings made 9-of-10 from the line as they cut their deficit down to 76-67 entering the final stanza.
Charlotte opened the fourth with a Shaun Livingston running jumper to expand its lead to 11, 78-67. However, Donte Greene then made 1-of-2 from the line to start a 9-2 Sacramento run, capped by a Landry tip-in to made it a one- possession game with 8:20 remaining.
The Bobcats ended the spurt when Wallace and Jackson made consecutive baskets, surrounding Kings misses, to put the lead back to seven, and the Bobcats held their margin down the stretch.
The Bobcats are now 6-14 as visitors this season...The Kings shot 1-of-12 from beyond the arc...Kings rookie DeMarcus Cousins scored nine points before fouling out late in the game.
The Sacramento Kings finally closed out a game, and ended up winning for just the 17 time in the Sacramento-era at Portland, and the 10th time this season.
The Kings outscored the Blazers in both the 3rd and 4th quarters despite the Blazers coming back and taking an early lead in the 3rd after trailing most of the game. Tyreke Evans was the biggest catalyst, finishing with a game-high 26 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, and two steals. Omri Casspi also provided a nice boost, especially in the third quarter, where he had a stretch where he scored 8 straight, including two three pointers, that helped the Kings regain the lead.
The Kings played some excellent defense down the stretch, holding the Blazers to just 16 points in the final quarter despite being in the penalty situation since the halfway point of the final quarter. LaMarcus Aldridge, recently named Western Conference Player of the Week, had perhaps his worst game in a long time, with just 9 points on 4-14 shooting. Jason Thompson or Samuel Dalembert spent most of the night guarding him and doing such a good job the Kings rarely had to resort to double teams.
The bench was also a big difference in the game, as Carl Landry provided a big boost for Sacramento. Landry scored 16 points and had 8 rebounds. He was also a game-high +18. The Blazers were hurt by a poor shooting night from Rudy Fernandez who shot just 1-10 from the floor, but they did get good production from Dante Cunningham. Cunningham had 8 points, 7 rebounds (including a nasty putback dunk), and 4 blocks in just 22 minutes.
Rookie DeMarcus Cousins showed flashes of brilliance mixed with bouts of idiocy, as he is wont to do, but he still managed to put up 14 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists in only 15 minutes of play. The short time was due to foul trouble, as well as a stint in the third quarter where he had a turnover three straight possessions.
For the Kings this has to be a huge confidence booster, finally winning a game, and controlling it down the stretch. Hopefully they can build on that tomorrow at home against Charlotte.
The 2nd quarter seemed like it was getting out of hand for Portland, as Sacramento opened up to a 13 point lead on a Beno Udrih three pointer to make it 37-24. But thanks to a tricky zone defense and Andre Miller, the Blazers were able to cut it to two at the break.
Miller had 6 points in the quarter, but his defense and passing helped get Portland back into it. He also received some help from Wesley Matthews who leads the Blazers with 11 points.
For Sacramento, its the backcourt doing most of the work. Udrih is having another good game offensively (10 points on 4-8 shooting) but his defense has been porous. Tyreke Evans leads the game in scoring with 15 points on 6-9 shooting, but also has 3 turnovers and was slowed down a bit by Portland’s zone defense.
DeMarcus Cousins again played well at the beginning of the quarter, hitting his jumpers and finishing inside too. But his contributions have come in little time, as he once again got into early foul trouble trying to draw a charge while in the restricted area. His replacement, Samuel Dalembert, has played very well defensively against LaMarcus Aldridge, holding him to only 6 points. Aldridge has found other ways to contribute however, with 6 rebounds and 3 assists.
Tyreke Evans found Carl Landry at the basket for a layup at the buzzer, but the basket was discounted since it left Landry’s hands after time expired.
Tyreke Evans has 8 points on 4-6 shooting and has led the Kings to a good start on the road. His defense on Andre Miller has also been good, as Miller has been held to 0 points and no assists either. Evans quarter was capped off by a very pretty fastbreak layup in which he wrapped the ball around his back to avoid Wesley Matthews.
DeMarcus Cousins also got off to a hot start, scoring 5 of the Kings first 7 points, but he also got into foul trouble very quickly, picking up his 2nd only 4 minutes in.
For the Blazers they’ve had success going to either Nicolas Batum or Wesley Matthews (both with 6 points). Neither Omri Casspi or Beno Udrih have been able to guard them. Donté Greene was subbed in for Casspi later in the quarter and that helped out the defense as well.
Pooh Jeter checked in the late first quarter as well, marking his debut in his hometown.
(Sports Network) - The resilient Portland Trail Blazers shoot for a season- high sixth straight win tonight when they welcome the lowly Sacramento Kings to the Rose Garden.
Despite missing All-Star swingman Brandon Roy and top rebounder Marcus Camby with knee injuries and then losing starting point guard Andre Miller in the first quarter due to a bout with gastroenteritis, the Blazers rallied from a 16-point deficit to top Indiana 97-92 on Saturday for their fifth consecutive win.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 25 points with 12 rebounds in that one, while Nicolas Batum added 23 points and Wesley Matthews scored 19 with a career-high nine assists for the Blazers, who moved to 2-0 in their five-game homestand.
"We just mixed it up with both he and [Matthews]. At first we struggled a little bit, but that group is a good group," said Blazers head coach Nate McMillan.
Portland has won 12 of 14 at home and is a solid 16-5 at the Rose Garden on the year but will close its current residency against two of the NBA's best teams, Boston and San Antonio, later this week.
Miller is listed as questionable for tonight's contest.
The Kings, meanwhile, dropped their fourth straight in Oakland on Friday as Monta Ellis hit a jumper with nine-tenths of a second remaining to send the game to overtime, and Golden State rallied to beat Sacramento, 119-112, at ORACLE Arena.
Tyreke Evans netted 35 points to pace the Kings, who have dropped seven of eight overall. DeMarcus Cousins totaled 21 points, eight rebounds and five assists in defeat. Omri Casspi had 14 points and nine rebounds for Sacramento and Jason Thompson compiled 12 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out.
"We kept attacking. We got to the free throw line because we were going inside with Tyreke and our bigs, but for some reason we decided to stop doing it," Kings coach Paul Westphal said. "We stopped running the things that were working the whole game. It's not a formula for winning."
The Kings, who have lost 15 of their last 16 on the road overall, have dropped four straight at the Rose Garden.
The Kings desperately need to get a win or two in the books and soon, and they’ll have to catch some luck and bring their A-game to do it this week, as it isn’t going to be a walk in the park.
The Kings face four teams all currently slated for the playoffs, as well as the defending champions on the road. The four games also come on back-to-backs with road and home alternating so there is going to be travel involved every day and little time to rest.
The first game comes at Portland, a team the Kings just recently faced (and lost to) last week at ARCO Arena. The Kings probably should have won that game, leading 99-90 late, but the Blazers were able to take it to overtime and eventual victory. The Blazers will be on their home floor, but they’re riddled with injuries, and the Kings will want revenge.
The next night Sacramento return home to face the Bobcats for the first time this season. Gerald Wallace was originally brought to Charlotte from Sacramento in an expansion draft, and Kings fans still think of him fondly, despite him being little more than a super athletic garbage time player during his time with the team. The Bobcats defense can be tough, but their offense is exactly the opposite. It’s perhaps the most winnable game of the week, especially considering Charlotte is the only team below .500 and only 5-14 on the road.
The game against the Lakers will likely require some divine intervention to win. It’s not as if the Lakers haven’t been upset by some bad teams before, but ever since getting Andrew Bynum back they’ve been on a roll.
Sacramento then comes back home to play the Hornets for the third time this season. The Kings have lost the previous two meetings, but played competitively in both games, losing only by 3 and then 4 points. The last victory was perhaps the biggest collapse all season for Sacramento, as they led by 23 points in the 2nd half and still lost. The comeback was the largest in New Orleans Franchise History.
The Kings have their work cut out for them. Hopefully they can start the 2nd half of the season on the right track.
The Kings are coming off yet another winless week, hurt even more by the fact that they had good chances to win each and everyone of the games, a common theme of the last few weeks. The Kings are playing a lot better than they were in December and November, but its still not getting results in the win column.
One of the problems is the Kings lack consistency in almost all their players. That was the greatest thing about Tyreke Evans last year, how consistent he was. Night in and night out, he would be around the 20/5/5 mark of his average. This year though, dealing with plantar fasciitis and other problems has caused a bit of a regression in his statistics and you don't know whether Good Tyreke or Bad Tyreke will show up each night. His last three game point totals show that: 16 points on 6-16 shooting, 16 points on 7-13 shooting, and then a career high 35 points on 14-29 shooting. He also needs to work on his decision making down the stretch, as crucial turnovers (he had 5 or more in the last two games) and poor shot selection has helped contribute to these late game collapses.
The Kings are also looking for progress in their other young star, DeMarcus Cousins, who really needs to learn patience and how to control his emotions. He has so much potential, and the fact that he had two more 20 point games this week and I still don't think he was all that great says a lot.
In other news the Kings recalled rookie Hassan Whiteside from a poor D-League experience in Reno. Despite leading the league in Block Shots per 36 minutes, Whiteside did not see much time on the floor for Eric Musselman's Bighorns. Musselman has not officially commented on the matter, but Ailene Voisin has reported that it could've been due to an extremely poor attitude by Whiteside while in Reno, which is unfortunate.
On the injury front the Kings have lost swingman Francisco Garcia for a little bit as he re-injured his left calf during a practice last week. He'll likely be out for a few weeks. The Kings have started both Donté Greene, and more recently, Omri Casspi in his place.
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