Instant Replay: Cousins outshines Westbrook, carries Kings to win over Thunder

Instant Replay: Cousins outshines Westbrook, carries Kings to win over Thunder


SACRAMENTO -- Thanksgiving came a day early for Sacramento Kings fans. After dispatching the Toronto Raptors on Sunday night, the Kings made it two in a row on Wednesday when they thumped a road-weary Oklahoma City Thunder club by a final of 116-101.

DeMarcus Cousins dominated the action from the opening tip. The two-time All-Star big hit from long range and from inside, dropping in 16 of his team-high 36 points in the first quarter. Cousins added 13 rebounds to notch his seventh double-double of the season.

Bumped out of the starting lineup for the first time this season, Ty Lawson was a ball of fire off Dave Joerger’s bench. Lawson finished the game with eight points four rebounds and four assists, but his raw numbers don’t tell whole story. The pint-sized point flew around the court and energized the team.

Rudy Gay, Darren Collison and Arron Afflalo struggled to their offense going early, but after a halftime wake up call, all three came out strong in the third. Gay finished the night with 17 points, nine rebounds and four assists in 33 minutes.

Collison chipped in 21 points and six assists in his second start of the season. Afflalo went into the post and worked over the Thunder for eight points on 3-for-6 shooting.

Kosta Koufos gave a big effort off the bench, hitting for nine points and 10 rebounds and Ben McLemore scored all nine of his points off the bench in the first half.

Russell Westbrook has more gears than any automobile on the road. The perennial MVP candidate barely missed posting his sixth triple-double of the season, finishing the night with 31 points, nine assists and 11 rebounds in the loss.

With Westbrook drawing and kicking, Oladipo found the soft spots in the Kings defense. The versatile scorer hit 3-of-8 from long range for 18 points and added six rebounds.

Enes Kanter managed 10 points and seven rebounds and Andre Roberson added 10 points.   

STANDOUT PERFORMER -- It was a battle of two of the NBA’s heavy-weights and Cousins came out on top. The Kings’ star big dominated Steven Adams and anyone else the Thunder put in front of him.

TURNING POINT -- The Kings let the game slip away at the end of the first half, allowing OKC to cut their big first half lead to just four heading to the intermission. They responded in a big way in the third, using a team effort to push the lead back to 12 heading into the final frame.

INJURY UPDATE -- Sacramento has plenty of bumps and bruises, but none that have shown up on the injury report. They have 12 healthy veterans and three rookie back with the parent club after time with the Reno Bighorns.  

WHAT'S NEXT -- The Kings finish up their five game homestand Friday when James Harden and the Houston Rockets roll through town.

De'Aaron Fox and the Kings seek revenge on the Hawks in Sacramento


De'Aaron Fox and the Kings seek revenge on the Hawks in Sacramento

SACRAMENTO -- The countdown has begun. The Sacramento Kings host the Atlanta Hawks Thursday evening in game 73 of the regular season. With just 10 games remaining on the schedule, the Kings are in full evaluation mode.

Sacramento is coming off a sub-par showing against the Detroit Pistons. Buddy Hield posted his fourth straight 20-point game and De’Aaron Fox added 16 points on 8-of-11 shooting, but the Kings lost by 16.

The Hawks sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, but they are coming off a shocking win over the Utah Jazz on Tuesday. Dennis Schroder dropped in a season-high 41 points to help Atlanta snap their six-game losing streak.


Kings by 1.5


De’Aaron Fox vs. Dennis Schroder --  Fox is one of the fastest players in the league, but Schroder is no slouch. The Kings’ rookie point guard played sparingly the last time these two teams faced off, but it’s his show now in Sacramento. Schroder is coming off a big performance in the Hawks win over the Jazz on Tuesday. He plays with a force that Fox hasn’t quite figured out yet. It’s speed vs. speed. 


Kings: 23-49, fourth place in Pacific

Hawks: 21-50, fifth place in Southeast


Kings: SG Bogdan Bogdanovic (sore hamstring) probable, SG/SF Garrett Temple (ankle sprain) out, PF Zach Randolph (gastroenteritis) questionable, SF Iman Shumpert (knee/plantar fasciitis) out, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out for the season.

Hawks: SG Kent Bazemore (knee) out, SF DeAndre’ Bembry (abdominal strain) out, PF John Collins (ankle) out, G Jaylen Morris (ankle) out, G Antonius Cleveland (ankle) out, G Malcolm Delaney (ankle) out.


Ten Games to Make a Lasting Impression -- The Kings’ young core is getting an opportunity to show what they have. A couple of players are jumping off the page in the post All-Star break schedule and a few are fading. The team is evaluating what they have and what they need for the upcoming summer.  

Play Hard -- Atlanta lacks talent, but they don’t lack heart. Mike Budenholzer teams come to play, which Utah just found out the hard way. The Kings had an active practice on Wednesday. Hopefully that carries over to Thursday night’s game. 

Revenge Game -- Dave Joerger’s group got their lunch money stolen the last time they faced the Hawks. The 46-point drubbing was the worst loss of the year for Sacramento. Atlanta comes in short-handed and with a 21-50 record, but they are still capable. The Kings need show up and get a little payback.  


Atlanta torched the Kings in their early season matchup, running over the Kings for a 126-80 win at Philips Arena. The Hawks hold a 159-154 advantage all-time over the the Kings and lead the series 43-18 during the Sacramento-era.

Vince Carter 'very humbled' to pass Patrick Ewing on all-time scoring list

Vince Carter 'very humbled' to pass Patrick Ewing on all-time scoring list

SACRAMENTO -- Half man, half amazing. Vincanity. Air-Canada. V.C.

Vince Carter has plenty of nicknames on his bio. He also has plenty of achievements over his long NBA career. On Monday night in Sacramento, he added a new one.  

With his seven point performance in the Kings’ 106-90 loss to the Detroit Pistons, the 41-year-old forward surpassed a former teammate on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

“It means a lot, because in my days in Orlando, I played with Pat Ewing and know him very well,” Carter said following the game.

Carter came into the night needing five points to tie Ewing’s 24,815 mark for 22nd place on the all-time scoring list.

In the early second quarter, Carter stole a pass from Andre Drummond at the top of the key  and flew down for a breakaway jam to move within three points of Ewing.

“It’s fun for everyone, just to show I can still do it,” Carter said of the dunk. “I think I’ve proven I can, but it’s still fun. I told James Ennis on the way, I said, ‘stay back, don’t foul me.’”

Ennis likely couldn’t have caught Carter either way, but the slam got the Kings crowd going.

At the 4:12 mark of the second, Carter drilled a 12-footer to move within one point of Ewing and with 29.5 seconds remaining in the third, Carter knocked down a 26-foot 3-pointer that rattled around and tried to spin out.

That was the last bucket of the evening for Carter, giving him 24,817 for his 20-year career. He now sits alone in 22nd place, two points ahead of the former New York Knicks star center.

“That’s crazy,” 20-year-old De’Aaron Fox said. “That’s a lot of buckets. Top-25, that’s huge - a lot of guys won’t get close to that.”

Carter now sits just 375 points behind legendary Laker, Jerry West for 21st place and 462 shy of Reggie Miller for a spot in the top 20.

“When you talk about (being) in the top 25 in scoring all-time, you just look at the list of the greats and elite players and the best of the best that still play, and to be in that group, I’m very humbled and thankful for it,” Carter told the media scrum surrounding his locker.

Carter was away from the team over the weekend dealing with a death in the family. He returned to Sacramento to play on Monday, but did so with a heavy heart.

For most of his life, the basketball court has been his place to escape. After two decades as a pro, it still has that effect.

“I just still love it, it’s been great to me, it gives me an opportunity to be around the younger generation and still be around the game I love and accomplish things like this,” Carter said.

He’s played sparingly for Sacramento this season, but his impact on the bench, in practice and behind the scenes as a leader and mentor to the young Kings has been immeasurable.

Carter hasn’t committed to retiring following the season. He will weigh his options, but there is a possibly he will look for one last run at an NBA championship.