Kings

Kings' upset run ends with loss to Celtics

377558.jpg

Kings' upset run ends with loss to Celtics

Feb. 1, 2011BOX SCORE KINGS VIDEONBA PAGE NBA SCOREBOARD

SACRAMENTO (AP) Even Ray Allen was fed up.The Celtics were already spending an extra night in Sacramento because of a winter storm back East, and Allen wasn't about to spend it soaking up a loss to one of the NBA's worst teams. On a team with the boisterous Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, the usually reserved shooting guard gathered everybody in the locker room at the half and delivered a speech that left them stunned.
RELATED: Winter storm strands Celtics out West an extra day
"I kind of let everybody have it," Allen said.Allen sparked a stagnant start to finish with 22 points, Rajon Rondo had 17 points and 10 assists and the Celtics overcame a poor opening half to beat the Kings 95-90 on Tuesday night."It's funny. We knew we were messing up when Ray's the one yelling and screaming," Pierce said.Pierce added 15 points and Garnett had 12 to help the Celtics (37-11) pull away in the fourth quarter and clinch the Eastern Conference's best record through games of Feb. 6. That means Boston's Doc Rivers will coach the East in the All-Star game in Los Angeles on Feb. 20.DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans finished with 20 points apiece for a Kings (12-34) team that returned to its losing form. They were coming off wins against two of the Western Conference's elite - the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Hornets - but missed out on their first three-game winning streak this season.REWIND: Shocker at Staples Kings snap Hornets' streak
"Even though we got the loss, it showed how good we can be and the potential of this team," Sacramento coach Paul Westphal said.
The Kings knocked Boston around for most of the first half until the Celtics finally pushed back.Maybe even a little too hard.A physical game spilled over after Garnett dived for a loose ball near the Kings bench late in the second quarter. Cousins stood over the Celtics big man - still wearing a bandage on his head from a gash that opened in the previous game against the Lakers - with the ball already out of bounds. Rondo came to his teammate's aid, exchanged words with Cousins and pushed the Kings forward in the chest."It was all in the game and it wasn't nothing personal or dislike," Cousins said. "That was the Celtics, and I was standing my ground. But it was really nothing."Added Garnett: "We're a very proud team. We don't really do that to other people and just want hold up some decency in this game and respect. We all have each other's back. I guess (Rondo) felt he was standing over me, which is inappropriate to us."Things never escalated past that, although Rondo was called for a technical foul that could draw more attention in the NBA league office. The Kings led 54-45 at the end of a first half in which they dominated the Celtics in almost every phase.The Eastern Conference champions were just too much to handle.The Celtics withstood all the blows and clamped down defensively in the fourth quarter. Glen Davis' fastbreak dunk highlighted the run that put Boston ahead 87-77 with 6 minutes remaining, and the Kings never seriously challenged after that.If only that was the end of Boston's otherwise successful 3-1 West Coast trip."Usually I have to say something at half time. I kind of stood outside the locker room," Rivers said. "Ray and the starters, they let the second unit have it today, and you don't see that very often. They were upset. They weren't upset that they didn't play well, they were upset at the way they played. We don't play that way. That's not Celtic basketball. That's the great thing about having a veteran team."NOTES: The Celtics will fly home Wednesday and don't play again until Friday at home against the Dallas Mavericks. ... Rivers met with friend and Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker, who lives in northern California, before the game outside Boston's locker room. Baker's son was wearing a green Reds baseball cap. ... Kings reserve F Darnell Jackson took a few minutes to leave the court after the first half. He did not return. The team said Jackson had shortness of breath and kept him out for precautionary reasons. ... Kings F Jason Thompson sat out the game with a sprained right ankle.

Kings' second unit steals show from Fox-Ball, fuels victory over Lakers

Kings' second unit steals show from Fox-Ball, fuels victory over Lakers

SACRAMENTO -- The fans came to watch De’Aaron Fox and Lonzo Ball square off for the first times as professionals Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center. They ended up being treated to a breakout performance by Sacramento’s second team.

“It’s not all about Fox and Ball, it’s about Kings and Lakers,” Frank Mason said after another solid performance. “I’m just happy we got the win as a team.”

Coming into Wednesday night, the Sacramento Kings ranked first in the league in bench scoring at 48.1 points per game. The Los Angeles Lakers weren’t far behind, posting 40.6 a contest, good enough for fourth in the NBA.

Sacramento received solid contributions from almost every player that stepped on the floor, including 22 points, seven rebounds and seven assists from starter Zach Randolph. But the group that came off the bench put on a show, outscoring Los Angeles 67-38.

In his fourth game in a reserve role, Willie Cauley-Stein scored a game-high 26 points in 28 minutes, including 13 in the fourth quarter as the Kings pulled away. He drew a crowd around his locker during post game, but he was the direct beneficiary of some stellar play by others.

Mason and fellow rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic broke down the Lakers defense countless times and found Cauley-Stein for the poster dunk. According to the official scoresheet, nine of Cauley-Stein’s 10 made baskets were assisted, including five alley-oops from Bogdanovic.

“We talked about it yesterday when we were icing,” Cauley-Stein said of his Serbian guard. “We were both sitting in the cold tub and exactly what happened is what we were talking about.”

Cauley-Stein is gifted athletically and he’s extremely long. He was a star receiver in high school and he knows how to go up and get a ball.

“I think he realizes, (he’s) just got to get it up there and I’m going to go get it,” Cauley-Stein said of Bogdanovic.

Bogdanovic hit his first two 3-point attempts and it seemed to open the floor up for Sacramento. With defenders going over screens to defend the long ball, Bogdanovic used his dribble to get free.

When the Laker’s bigs stepped in to stop his dribble, Bogdanovic tossed the ball near the rim and Cauley-Stein finished with authority.

“It’s easy to play with Willie, because he can catch,” Bogdanovic said. “I didn’t pass perfectly those alley-oops, but he likes to be a little higher than usual.”

Both Bogdanovic and Mason set new career-highs in assists, finishing with seven dimes apiece off Dave Joerger’s bench. Bogdanovic dropped in 14 points and picked up two steals. Mason added 11 points and five rebounds.

The smallest player to step on the floor, Mason brings a physicality the Kings have lacked early in the season. Since earning rotational minutes four games ago, the 23-year-old is posting 9.8 points and 4.3 assists in 22 minutes a game.

“That’s who I am, that’s who I’ve always been,” Mason said when asked about his toughness. “I take a lot of pride in someone scoring on me and I play every possession like it’s game point.”

With the win, the Kings improved to 4-4 on their home floor and 5-13 overall this season. They’ll take Thanksgiving off, but return to practice Friday in preparation for the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday evening. They’ll need another big evening from the bench unit if they hope to build momentum going forward.

One thing is pretty clear about these Warriors after 2-2 road trip

One thing is pretty clear about these Warriors after 2-2 road trip

The Warriors are not ready to flip their seek-and-destroy switch. Not yet.

They’re closer to being ready than, say, their longtime rivals in Cleveland, but in going 2-2 on this four-game road trip the Warriors showed they are nowhere near full annihilation mode.

They went into Oklahoma City Wednesday night and, in gulping down a 108-91 loss on national TV, came away looking more vulnerable than they have in any game this season. The 17-point loss was their largest margin of defeat and this was awful close to being a wire-to-wire rout.

The Warriors defense, so splendid during the seven-game win streak they took out of town last week, was inconsistent throughout and downright atrocious by their standards as they concluded the trip.

Their offense, which had begun reducing the turnovers to acceptable levels, came apart like a pair of $3 sneakers.

Even their body language, aside from two well-deserved technical fouls, seemed to mostly vacillate between whispers and a whimpers.

“We didn’t have any focus or concentration,” coach Steve Kerr said. “The ‘millennials’ couldn’t lock in tonight. And their coach couldn’t do much either. Long night for us.”

These were not the Warriors who posted seven consecutive double-digit wins, and they’re certainly not the team that found its competitive blowtorches last April. They weren’t visible in this game, nor were they seen for most of this road trip.

This, ahem, regular-season road trip.

That’s the catch. Last April is when the playoffs got underway, and next April is when the 2018 playoffs begin. The time between now and then is for experimenting, fine-tuning and fighting through the monotonous joys of victory -- a factor on vivid display Wednesday night.

“We played with some decent energy,” Stephen Curry said. “We just didn’t play smart.”

“They completely outplayed us, outcoached us,” Kerr said. “It was just their night. It was absolutely their night. They brought the energy, they brought the juice, they brought the intelligence. And we didn’t bring any of that.”

The Warriors entered the game after studying video and stats that illustrated OKC’s ability to disrupt an offense. The Thunder leads the NBA in steals, deflections and -- this one punches the Warriors in the gut -- forcing turnovers.

The Warriors committed 22 giveaways, leading directly to 34 Thunder points.

“Thirty-four points off turnovers, you can’t win like that,” Draymond Green said.

“I’ve got to do a better job of getting them ready to play,” Kerr said. “We have a pretty loose, fun atmosphere around here. That’s great, but there are certain times where it’s like, ‘All right guys. Let’s throw it to our team. Let’s execute the play. Let’s remember the play.’ ”

Kevin Durant bemoaned the “silly turnovers” that were such a factor in the game, blaming it players rather than Kerr and his staff.

“For the most part he can’t control that type of stuff,” said Durant, whose four turnovers were second to Curry’s team-high six. “We’ve got to be better at keeping the ball in our hands, shooting more shots than our opponents and playing defense.”

Added Green: “We were pretty well-prepared. We just played bad.”

That happens to even the best of teams, a category in which the defending champions fit quite snugly. No team, not even the Chicago Bulls of the maniacally competitive Michael Jordan, is able to bring its best for 82 games a season.

The Warriors blew two 17-point leads, one in second quarter and another in the third, in losing at Boston.

They fell behind by 24 in the third quarter to the 76ers before coming back to win in Philadelphia before recovering the next night to submit their best performance of the trip in routing Brooklyn.

And in OKC, against a Thunder team that would seem to get their full attention, the Warriors were outhustled, outsmarted and played with considerably less fury.

“Right now, we’re just in a little bit of rut, where we’ve got to focus,” Kerr said. “And I know we will. We’ve done this many times in the past and bounced back. And we’ll bounce back. We need to lock in and tighten up everything.”

They will, eventually. It could happen next week, or next month, or after the calendar turns to 2018. They’ll turn it on and become the team of terror, punishing all before them. It might be April, though.

This road game indicated some truth, though, which is there will be games over the next four months in which they will lose the battle with themselves.