Rewind: Kings 'starting to realize what it takes to win games' under Joerger

Rewind: Kings 'starting to realize what it takes to win games' under Joerger

We’ve got a win streak. For the third straight game, the Sacramento Kings turned the screws on a team late to come away with a huge victory. This time it was in Minnesota against a young, but extremely talented Timberwolves by a final of 109-105.

With the win, and losses by both the Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets, the Kings gave their fans a little bit of extra joy heading into Christmas weekend. Although it’s early in the season, Sacramento now holds sole possession of the eighth seed in the race for the Western Conference playoffs. 

This is unfamiliar territory for a franchise that has been on the outside looking in of the NBA’s postseason for a decade. 

“I just think the team’s playing the right way, we’re all buying in,” DeMarcus Cousins told reporters following the game. “I think we’re starting to realize what it takes to win games. I think we’re doing a great job of playing together, moving the ball, getting everybody involved - guys are having fun right now.”

Cousins got off to a slow start, but he came out in the third quarter on fire. The Kings’ star center hit all three of his 3-point attempts in the third on his way to another huge statistical night. 

“He just like sneezed 32 - it’s amazing, he’s amazing,” coach Dave Joerger said of Cousins in his postgame press conference.

Not only did Cousins drop in 32, but he stuffed the stat sheet in almost every other category. With shots falling for both teams, he managed to grab just seven rebounds, but he dished out a team-high seven assists, snared four steals and blocked two shots in the win.

Minnesota came at the two-time All-Star and he found his teammates for open shots on the perimeter. 

Anthony Tolliver was the beneficiary of plenty of those passes. The veteran forward has been in and out of the rotation all season, but he’s earned a longer look with his solid play over the last week. 

“I think he hit me for about three or them four tonight of them tonight,” Tolliver told CSN’s Kayte Christensen following the game. “I told him, ‘If you want an assist, just pass it to me.’ I told him that about three or four times. He kept listening and I kept knocking them down.”

Tolliver finished the night with 17 points on 5-of-7 shooting from behind the arc in 31 minutes of action.

“Professional - he can sit five games in a row and his name is called and he’s going to come out and play like it’s his last game,” Cousins said of Tolliver. “True professional. He’s always ready to play.”

Point guard Ty Lawson made a huge impact as well. The 29-year-old speedster came off the bench to score 15 points and hand out four assists. Over the last few wins, it’s been Lawson and not starter Darren Collison who has finished games for coach Joerger.  

“We’re just playing for each other,” Tolliver said. “Obviously it’s a little different mix on the court, but once you decide that you’re going to play for each other and play unselfishly, things happen in the right way,” 

Tolliver and Lawson did the heavy lifting on the offensive side of the ball and Garrett Temple was asked to slow down the red-hot Zach LaVine. Temple did what he could, but LaVine is coming into his own as a player and on Friday night, he was spectacular. 

LaVine dropped in a game-high 40 points on 7-of-12 shooting from long range. He’s a super athlete that continues to refine his offensive skill set. 

While LaVine went off for big numbers, Temple still managed to run a positive plus/minus, finishing the night a plus-seven. He added nine points, six rebounds and four assists off the bench. 

It seems like someone new is stepping up for Sacramento every game and their second unit is playing extremely well right now. The Kings reserves outscored Minnesota’s bench Friday night 45-11 and once again helped lead the Kings to victory. 

“Our bench has been incredible this year,” Cousins said. “They’re stepping up, they’re ready to play and when they’re not playing, they’re great cheerleaders on the bench.” 

The Kings return home to face the Philadelphia 76ers Monday night at Golden 1 Center. This is their first three-game win streak of the season. At 13-17, they sit just four games under .500 and they play nine of their next 11 constests in Sacramento. 

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.