Kings come to halt after halftime, miss opportunity in Indiana

Kings come to halt after halftime, miss opportunity in Indiana

Another missed opportunity. The Sacramento Kings are playing a better brand of basketball of late, but Friday evening’s overtime loss to the Indiana Pacers stings. To open a four games in five nights stretch, the Kings blew a 16-point lead to a relentless Pacers team and lost by a final of 115-111.

Sacramento couldn’t miss in the first half, knocking down 11-of-16 from long range to take a 64-55 lead into the intermission. The ball was moving freely, everyone was involved and if not for the Pacers turning the ball over just three times in the first half, the Kings' lead could have been much greater. 

Pacers head coach Nate McMillan made adjustments at the break. His team came out physical, like they did a week earlier when these two teams met. Initially the Kings responded well, pushing their lead to 16 points, but then the game started to slow down.

“When they started being a little bit more aggressive, getting to the basket, we turned the ball over a couple of times,” point guard Ty Lawson told reporters following the game. “I thought we as a team got tight. Instead of attacking like we normally were, we started being a little apprehensive.”

Sacramento had just eight field goal attempts in the third quarter as the game slowed to a crawl. They went 15-of-19 from the line in the quarter, but their offensive rhythm was clearly disrupted. 

“The second half was the tale for us in our undoing,” coach Dave Joerger said in post game. “We shot 37.5 percent in the second half, we just couldn’t score.”

That carried over to the fourth quarter where the Kings continued to control the game until the midway point of the period. 

“We had them on their heels pretty much the whole game besides the last five minutes of the fourth,” Darren Collison said to media members after the game.

The Pacers were the aggressors late. They chipped away at the Kings' 11-point fourth quarter lead, but Sacramento still had control of the game.

At the 3:39 mark of the quarter with the Kings leading 100-95, Jeff Teague missed a floater in the lane. DeMarcus Cousins went high for the rebound and bought it down, but veteran forward Matt Barnes lowered his shoulder into Myles Turner who was crashing the glass and after a review, he was called for a Flagrant 1.

Instead of being up five with the ball, Turner hit one-of-two at the line and the Pacers retained possession. Turner hit a 19-foot jumper to cut the Kings lead to two and set up a wild final three minutes. 

“It’s not just that one play by Matt, it’s every play in all. I can take credit for some of the plays I made down the stretch,” Collison said. “Whether it’s Cuz or GT (Garrett Temple), everybody makes some plays that we wish we could take back. In a game like that, there’s no excuses.”

Sacramento almost won the game in the final 0.6 seconds of the fourth when Barnes threw an alley-oop pass to Cousins on a back cut. Cousins got his hands on the ball, but it rolled off the iron to send the game to overtime.

The Kings shot just 3-of-9 in the extra session, but they had an opportunity to tie the game late on a Collison layup. Initially it looked like the veteran point guard was blocked, but replay footage showed that the ball caught the underside of the basket and rolled out of bounds off the Kings. 

“I thought it was either going to be a foul or they tipped the ball,” Collison said. “But they obviously saw the review and they saw it the way they saw it.”

That sequence sealed the deal. It was one of the few miscues for Collison who finished the night with 26 points, five assists and three steals. 

It’s a disappointing outcome for the Kings, who came into the game with a modest two-game win streak. Following the contest, the team boarded a flight for Charlotte where they will face a Hornets team Saturday that lost 110-107 on the road to the Knicks Friday night.

The Kings have Sunday open before finishing off their brutal eight-game road trip with their third set of back-to-backs Monday in Philly and Tuesday in Houston. 

After upsetting Warriors, Kings battle schedule with fifth game in seven days


After upsetting Warriors, Kings battle schedule with fifth game in seven days

No break. After a surprising win Friday night on the road over the Warriors, the Kings hopped a flight to Utah where they’ll face the Jazz on the second night of a back-to-back Saturday evening. 

Buddy Hield came out firing off the Kings bench against Golden State, scoring 22 points on 5-of-10 shooting from long range. The shooting guard added seven rebounds and seven assists in one of his more complete games of the season.

Utah is in a fight for playoff position. They are currently tied with the Spurs for the seventh spot in the Western Conference chase, just a half game behind the Pelicans for the six seed. The Jazz have won eight straight and 20 of their last 22 games. 


Jazz by 15.5


Kings vs. The Pick-and-Roll -- Utah is one of the better pick-and-roll teams in the league. Rookie Donovan Mitchell is explosive and patient at the guard position and Rudy Gobert is a monster rolling to the rack. The Jazz have shooters all around the perimeter waiting for the kick out. This is a very good team playing at an elite level right now.


Kings: 23-47, fourth place in Pacific

Jazz: 39-30, fourth place in Northwest


Kings: SG/SF Iman Shumpert (plantar fasciitis) out, F Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out for the season.

Jazz: PG Ricky Rubio (knee) probable, C Tony Bradley (concussion) questionable, PG Raul Neto (wrist) out, SF Thabo Sefolosha (knee) out.


Rookie Watch -- Mitchell has been spectacular this season for Jazz. The Kings will combat the high-flying rookie with a pair of first-year guards of their own in Fox and Bogdanovic. It’s not often that a player comes into the league and makes an impact on a franchise like Mitchell has in his first NBA season.

The Gobstopper -- Gobert is a monster in the post. He plays the pick-and-roll to perfection with Mitchell and he is an absolute force on the defensive end. Willie Cauley-Stein and Kosta Koufos will have to make his work on both ends of the court if the Kings have a chance of upsetting the Jazz. 

Put up a Fight -- This is the fifth game in seven nights for the Kings. It’s also a brutal back-to-back, with less than 24 hours between games. The key to this game is to escape with the team’s health intact, but it would be nice if they could make a strong showing in a difficult situation.


The Jazz hold a 2-0 advantage in the season series and they’ve won four straight over the Kings. Utah leads the all-time series 104-82 and holds a 81-49 advantage during the Sacramento-era.

Bogdanovic, Kings look to beat Warriors at Oracle for second time this season


Bogdanovic, Kings look to beat Warriors at Oracle for second time this season

No rest for the weary. The Kings hit game four of their five games in seven nights stretch. They’ll draw a beat up, but dangerous Golden State Warriors team Friday night at Oracle Arena.

Sacramento is coming off a wild overtime win against the playoff bound Miami Heat on Wednesday. De’Aaron Fox hit a floater as time expired to push the game to overtime and fellow rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic drilled a late 3-pointer to put the game away late in the extra session.

Golden State trails the Houston Rockets by two games for the top overall seed in the Western Conference playoff chase. They’ve already clinched another Pacific division title, but they are at risk for missing out on the top seed. Every game counts as they hit the stretch run.


Warriors by 12


Willie Cauley-Stein vs. Zaza Pachulia -- It might not be the matchup people bought tickets to see, but it’s the matchup they’re going to get. With the Warriors banged up, Pachulia has stepped up and filled a valuable role in the middle. He’s strong as an ox and does all the dirty work. Cauley-Stein is getting his legs back under him after missing 10 days with a back strain. He’s improved in year four, but still needs to work on his consistency.  


Kings: 22-47, fourth place in Pacific

Warriors: 52-16, first place in Pacific


Kings: PF Skal Labissiere (hip contusion) questionable, SF/SG Iman Shumpert (knee rehab/plantar fasciitis) out, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out until January.

Warriors: PF Jordan Bell (ankle) probable, PG Quinn Cook (hand contusion) probable, PF David West (arm cyst) probable, SF Kevin Durant (ribs soreness) out, PG Steph Curry (ankle) out, SG Klay Thompson (thumb) out, SG Patrick McGaw (wrist) out.


Wounded Warriors -- Golden State will play without three of their four All-Stars. The Kings took advantage of the Warriors early in the season when they were the similar situation of missing All-Stars. Sacramento needs to stay the course and continue to play with effort as they finish the schedule, regardless of who suits up for their opponent.

Big Moments -- If there is one thing that stands out in the 2017-18 season for Sacramento, it’s the clutch plays by the young players. Fox has four shots in his rookie season that either won or tied a game in the final seconds. Bogdanovic, Skal Labissiere and Buddy Hield have come through with big shots as well.  

Come Out Firing -- The best way to beat the Warriors is to make them work for their shots. The best way to make them work for their shots is to score baskets and set up the defense. If the Kings can put up an efficient offensive night, they have a shot of dethroning the shorthanded champs.


The Kings and Warriors are all knotted at one game apiece in the season series. Golden State holds a 201-187 lead in the all-time series and a 73-66 advantage during the Sacramento-era.