Rewind: Lawson, bench lift Kings into virtual tie for final playoff spot

Rewind: Lawson, bench lift Kings into virtual tie for final playoff spot

Now trending in Sacramento: #Playoffs

No, the Sacramento Kings haven’t ended their decade long playoff drought, but with Wednesday’s night 94-93 road win over the Utah Jazz, they have moved into a virtual three-way tie with the Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets in the chase for the eighth spot in the Western Conference playoff race.

Down 20 in the second half, it wasn’t DeMarcus Cousins’ broad shoulders that carried the Kings to victory for one of the few times this season. Instead, it was the smallest guy on the floor.

Veteran point guard Ty Lawson has had his struggles this season, but without the 5-foot-11 fire plug, the Kings would be on their way to Minnesota licking their wounds. Instead, they head into Friday night’s game against the Timberwolves riding a modest two-game winning streak and looking for more.

“I thought Ty Lawson was just fantastic,” Dave Joerger told media members following the big win for Sacramento. “He’s been playing well, he gets a lot of guys shots.”

Lawson ran into the heart of Utah’s defense, scoring at the rim or stepping back for short jumpers in the key. The eight-year NBA veteran scored 14 of his season-high 19 points after the intermission as the Kings shocked the Jazz on their home floor.

“We’re just trying to attack, get in the paint and find each other for open shots,” Lawson told CSN’s Kayte Christensen after the game. “When we move the ball like that, it’s hard for teams to stop us - regardless of who’s on the court.”

It was Lawson, Cousins and the second unit that led the Kings back. Garrett Temple continues to anchor the Kings’ perimeter defense, but his 3-pointer at the 7:10 mark of the fourth drew the Kings back to within one.  

“Our bench was tremendous, they won this game for us tonight,” Cousins said. “It wasn’t one of our best wins, but it’s a win.”

Arron Afflalo has been the forgotten man in Sacramento, but he showed up big for coach Joerger’s group in the second half. He finished with a modest eight points in 27 minutes, but he chipped in three assists and four rebounds while playing physical defense on Gordon Hayward for stretches.

Anthony Tolliver scored six points in 30 minutes, but he went into the post and battled amongst the trees. The veteran forward came away with seven rebounds and the highest plus/minus for the Kings at plus-16.

“Without our bench tonight, we probably would have been smacked by 30,” Cousins added.

The Kings All-Star big still managed to lead the Kings in scoring, finishing the night with 21 points and eight rebounds. But he struggled from the field, shooting just 5-of-18 against up and coming big man Rudy Gobert. Cousins didn’t take an official shot in the fourth quarter, but he hit 8-of-10 from the line to help seal the win for Sacramento.

Following the game, the Kings flew out to Minnesota where they face a young, but very talented Timberwolves team that is struggling to find their way early in the season. Getting a win in Utah was unexpected for Sacramento, who now sits at 12-17 on the season.

“It’s huge, coming in here, it’s a tough team to play in this arena,” Lawson said. “For us to come in here and get a win like this being down 20 and just fighting back - I think we can play with any team in the league. As long as we play hard, I think good things will happen.”

Following the game in Minny, Kings take the holiday weekend off before returning home to face the Philadelphia 76ers Monday night at Golden 1 Center.


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.

Carter passes Ewing on all-time scoring list


Carter passes Ewing on all-time scoring list

SACRAMENTO -- Moving on up. Vince Carter came into Monday evening’s matchup against the Detroit Pistons needing just five points to surpass Patrick Ewing for 22nd place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. He got that and a little more.

Carter, 41, picked off a Pistons pass in the second quarter and hammered down a breakaway dunk to score his first two points of the evening. He knocked down a jumper in the lane before halftime to get within one point of Ewing and then moved ahead of the 7-footer with a 3-pointer in the third quarter.

The 20-year NBA veteran now sits at 24,817 points. He is 375 points behind the great Jerry West’s 25,192, who currently sits in 21st place on the all-time list.