Rewind: In loss to Mavs, Kings let opponent hit them first again

Rewind: In loss to Mavs, Kings let opponent hit them first again

That loud thud you heard Sunday afternoon was the Sacramento Kings falling flat on their face at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. After a big road win Friday night in Memphis, the Kings couldn’t find the bottom of the net against a Mavericks team with the worst record in the Western Conference. The end result was a 99-79 win for the home team.

Sacramento has been a notoriously slow starter this season and it’s come back to haunt them on countless occasions. Sunday was no different.

“We let them hit us first,” DeMarcus Cousins told reporters following the game.

It’s a broken record. The Kings trailed by as many as nine in the first quarter and settled for a 28-21 deficit heading into the second. The Mavs continued to push the lead heading into the half, outscoring Sacramento 27-23 in the second quarter to take an 11-point lead into the intermission.

"We've got to come out and be the aggressors, that's just plain and simple," DeMarcus Cousins told reporters following the game. "We can't get off to slow starts. We can't let a team gain confidence early. We've got to be the aggressors every night."

The Kings usually come out of the half with a new game plan, but the same lackluster team appeared from the locker room following the break.

Sacramento scored just 14 points in the third on 6-of-19 shooting. Dallas wasn’t much better, scoring 21 in the quarter on 6-of-22 shooting, but they hit all six of their free throws to push their lead to 18 heading into the fourth.

“Good game for Dallas, they were the aggressors, they had us on our heals most of the day,” Dave Joerger told reporters. “It was never really much of a game. We made a couple of runs late, but we missed a lot a shots.”

Cousins was one of the few Kings players to show up on the offensive end, scoring 33 of his team’s 79 points. The All-Star center dropped in 12-of-24 shots, but the remaining 10 players struggled from the field, knocking down just 18-for-52 attempts (34.6 percent). Ty Lawson was the only other Kings player to score in double-figures and he finished with 10.

The starting backcourt of Darren Collison and Garrett Temple combined to score seven points on 2-for-18 shooting from the field and 1-of-11 from long range.

Ball movement stopped. Sacramento took ill-advised quick shots and they missed way more than they hit.

“We got beat by 20, not a lot of X’s and O’s in it,” a disappointed Joerger said.

Following the loss, the Kings boarded a plane for Sacramento where they will take on the Portland Trail Blazers Tuesday evening. They hit the road again the next night, flying to Utah for their second home-and-road back-to-back against the Jazz this month.

Afflalo odd man out

Despite the absence of Rudy Gay (hip flexor) and Omri Casspi (illness), shooting guard Arron Afflalo drew another DNP-CD against the Mavs, his third in six games. Since losing his starting job on Dec. 7, the 10-year NBA veteran has played just 24 minutes for Joerger.  

Before his exile, Afflalo was off to a slow start on the season. In 23 appearances this season, the free agent acquisition is averaging 7.3 points on 40.5 percent shooting from the field.

Afflalo, 31, is under contract at $12.5 million this season and the Kings hold a team-option for another $12.5 million next season with a $1.5 million buyout.

Report: Former Kings star offers to pay for Stephon Clark's funeral

Report: Former Kings star offers to pay for Stephon Clark's funeral

Former Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins reportedly reached out to Stephon Clark's family and offered to cover the cost of his a funeral, according to The Sacramento Bee's Jason Jones

Sacramento police shot and killed Clark, a 22-year-old African-American father of two, on Sunday while he was holding a cellphone in the backyard of his grandmother's home. Clark was unarmed. 

During his six-and-a-half year tenure in Sacramento, Cousins was not only the face of the Kings on the court, but the face of outreach efforts off of it. He paid for the funeral of Sacramento-area high school football player Jaulon "JJ" Clavo, who was shot in 2015, and ran free children's basketball camps for the city's children during the summer.

He continued to run a camp last summer following a midseason trade to the New Orleans Pelicans, and has spoken at length about how much he treasures maintaining strong ties to Sacramento. He told The Sacramento Bee last February that he "still consider[s Sacramento] a home."

“It’s very important to me,” Cousins told The New Orleans Advocate in October. “I’ve built relationships in a lot of the different places I’ve been. My biggest thing is helping those kids and helping families in need. I was once in their position, and it would’ve done wonders if I could’ve had a little bit of help coming up. I’m just doing my part.”

Bodycam footage from the officer-involved shooting was released on Wednesday, setting off protests on Thursday. Protestors blocked traffic on Interstate 5 both ways, according to NPR, before locking arms and surrounding the Golden 1 Center ahead of Hawks-Kings that night. Those protests delayed the start of the game by 15 minutes, and an estimated 15,000 fans were unable to enter the arena. 

Kings find themselves in middle of protest as sports, politics collide: 'It has to stop'

Kings find themselves in middle of protest as sports, politics collide: 'It has to stop'

SACRAMENTO -- Basketball took a backseat Thursday evening at Golden 1 Center. Protesters surrounded the Sacramento Kings’ facility, locking arms and blocking the entrance to an estimated 15,000 fans. The game was delayed by nearly 15 minutes and the limited number of ticket holders that made it into the building were basically put on lock down and supplied with free food for the evening.

This issue at hand was the officer involved shooting death of Stephon Clark, a local South Sacramento man that was killed Sunday evening.

Video of the shooting was released by the Sacramento Police Department Wednesday afternoon, setting off community outcry in Sacramento.

In perhaps his finest moment as owner and chairman of the Sacramento Kings, Vivek Ranadivé took center court surrounded by his players to address the undersized crowd.

“On Sunday, we had a horrific, horrific tragedy in our community and on behalf of the players, the executives, ownership and the entire Kings family, I first of all want to express our deepest sympathies to the family. What happened was absolutely horrific and we are so very sorry for your loss.

I also want to say that we at the Kings recognize your people’s ability to protest peacefully and we respect that. We here at the Kings recognize that we have a big platform. It’s a privilege, but it’s also a responsibility. It’s a responsibility that we take very seriously and we stand before you; old, young, black, white, brown and we are all united in our commitment.

We recognize that it’s not just business as usual and we are going to work really hard to bring everybody together to make the world a better place, starting in our own community. We are going to work hard to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening again.”

Protests continued throughout the night in the courtyard adjacent to Golden 1 Center. Security and police stood guard at each entrance, trying to keep the events outside the building from spilling into the team’s two-year-old facility.

The locker room was quiet. Despite the 105-90 victory by the Kings, basketball was the last thing on anyone’s mind.

"I just want to say I 100 percent agree with the protest outside,” Garrett Temple said following the game. “If I didn't have a job to do, I probably would have been out there with them peacefully protesting, because what's going on has to stop. It has to stop.”

Sacramento’s leader behind the scenes, Temple has been active in reaching out in the community and fostering conversation with local youth. He wasn’t able to play in Thursday evening’s game due to a left ankle sprain, but that didn’t stop him from waiting around to field questions.

“I think the protest did what it was supposed to do, it brought a light to what’s going on, I think that’s what protests are for,” Temple added. “After that, something has to change. Us not playing a basketball game isn’t going to change the fact that police unfortunately view black and brown men as a threat, when they are certainly not.”

Temple said that he had viewed the video and admitted that it was dark. A split second decision by a police officer cost Clark, a 22-year-old African American, his life. According to published reports, Clark was holding his mobile phone and not a weapon as officers believed.

The tragic events played out in seconds, but it’s storyline that many communities around the country have had to face on countless occasions.

Temple isn’t one to sit by idly by and bite his tongue. He may have addressed the shooting on his own with or without the protest going on outside the arena. But with the events of the night, politics and sports intersected at 500 David J. Stern Walk, opening a door for Temple to express himself.

“To those that say politics and sports don’t intertwine, this is a democracy, people have a voice and we’re people at the end of the day,” Temple said. “Obviously, sports and politics definitely intertwined tonight. The protesters did what they wanted to do in terms of bring light to the situation.”

In addition to Ranadivé’s comments following then contest, the Kings put out two separate press releases. The first came out around 7 pm to update fans of the current status of the game.

"Tonight's game began with a delay. Due to law enforcement being unable to ensure ticketed fans could safely enter the arena, the arena remains closed and we ask fans outside to travel home. We will issue further information soon regarding a refund."

The second press release came later to insure fans that they would receive a refund.

“Due to law enforcement being unable to ensure ticketed fans could safely enter the arena, the arena remained closed as tonight’s game proceeded with a delay. In the coming days, guests who purchased tickets for tonight’s game directly through the Sacramento Kings or Ticketmaster will receive detailed instructions to facilitate a full refund.”

The Kings return to the court Sunday afternoon for a 3pm matinee game.