Kings

Homemade recipe for disaster bites Kings again in loss to Warriors

Homemade recipe for disaster bites Kings again in loss to Warriors

SACRAMENTO -- How to lose a game in seven minutes or less. Step 1: Miss shots. Step 2: Argue with officials. Step 3: Allow your opponent to score easy buckets in transition while you are still arguing about your missed shot.

The Sacramento Kings played a really solid first half Sunday night against the Golden State Warriors, leading by as many as 16 points.

And then they fell apart in the first seven minutes coming out of the break. They never recovered from their third quarter woes and fell to the best team in the Western Conference by a final of 117-106.

“They’re not difficult to guard in transition if you communicate and you’re focused and you’re not arguing at the referees after turnovers and missed shots,” Garrett Temple told media members following the Kings’ third straight loss.

Golden State trailed by seven at the half, but just after the midway point of the third, they had already wiped out the Kings lead and held a 10-point advantage.

“We’re losing them ourselves,” veteran point guard Ty Lawson said. “Just from little things like arguing with the refs and stuff like that. And they’re running out and getting dunks and layups.”

This is a recipe for disaster that the Kings have become experts at creating. They play well for stretches and then have momentary lapses that lead to massive deficits. Against a team like the Warriors, there is no margin for error, let alone room for a 39-13 run between the late second quarter and the mid-third quarter.

“We talk about it all the time,” Temple added. “The officials seemingly aren’t on anyone’s side at the end of the day. Both teams always argue with the officials, but, especially in that third quarter, we seemed to let it get to us even more than usual. They’re a different team on the break. They have three dead-eye shooters and a power forward that can pick people apart.”

The Warriors finished the night with a 28-3 advantage on the break. Once they turned the game into a track meet, Steph Curry and Kevin Durant started knocking down 3-balls and the game got out of hand.

“I think we did everything right in the beginning,” DeMarcus Cousins said of Sacramento’s fast start. “As usual, we always have that one quarter or that one little stretch where we have bad basketball. It kind of comes back to bite us in the end.”

Cousins struggled to find his game, finishing with 17 points on 4-of-11 shooting. He turned the ball over seven times, including three fumbles in the third as the game spun out of control. Cousins has played big minutes all season long and carrying more weight than most.

“He’s exhausted,” head coach Dave Joerger said following the game. “He’s been carrying the torch for a long time. It seems perhaps maybe longer than just this year. Is there a night off coming or something? He had a tough night. At the same time, I don’t think Golden State gets enough credit for their defense.”

Sacramento has now lost three straight and four of the last five. With the Detroit Pistons coming through town on Tuesday night, sitting the team's best player seems like a stretch.

The Kings needs a win to keep pace in the Western Conference playoff race. They also need a victory to avoid a complete meltdown, which has happened more than once for this team over the last few seasons.

Rudy Gay had another solid performance since returning from injury. The 30-year-old forward scored 15 of his 23 points in the first quarter as the Kings built their early lead.

Joerger went with a new starting group, giving Garrett Temple and Anthony Tolliver a look alongside Cousins, Gay and Darren Collison. Both had solid performances.

Tolliver dropped in 16 points on 3-of-4 shooting from long range and Temple finished with 14 points in 42 minutes of action while limiting Klay Thompson to 8-of-19 shooting.

The Kings have dropped the first three games of their season-long seven game homestand. They draw the Pistons on Tuesday, before facing the NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night.

Kings struggle in second half, embarrassed on the road by Brooklyn Nets

Kings struggle in second half, embarrassed on the road by Brooklyn Nets

Sluggish. Slow to react. Embarrassed.

Some losses you can’t explain. After a bumpy start, the Kings looked solid through the first half against the Brooklyn Nets. And then the wheels completely fell off the bus in a 123-95 loss.

“The second quarter, we were much better defensively,” coach Dave Joerger told reporters in Brooklyn. “We just didn’t come out with that same intensity in the second half.”

Sacramento was outscored 35-28 in the third quarter, and then they didn’t even show up in the fourth. The Kings only scored nine points in the fourth quarter, while the Nets added another 30. 

The final outcome was a completely forgettable shellacking.

This happens on occasion in the NBA. One team loses their energy, and the other goes for the jugular.

Brooklyn is a quality opponent. They play extremely hard for coach Kenny Atkinson, and they have no issues scoring at an extremely high clip.

After starting the season 8-18, the Nets are 17-5 and in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff chase.

Sacramento is in the midst of a long road trip. They were coming off of an extremely emotional win over the Detroit Pistons on Saturday night. They looked both mentally and physically exhausted in the second half, and the Nets took advantage.

During the final 24 minutes, the Kings shot just 15-of-47 (31.9 percent) from the field and 2-of-8 (25 percent) from behind the 3-point line. After turning the ball over four times in the first half, Sacramento gave it away 10 times after the intermission.

Iman Shumpert shot 1-of-10 from the field overall. De'Aaron Fox finished 4-for-14 and Buddy Hield scored just 11 points on 4-of-10 shooting.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Kings were a mess in the second half. They were outrebounded 26-18 after the break, and 56-37 overall. They allowed the Nets to shoot 61.9 percent in the final two quarters, including 8-for-17 from behind the arc.

D’Angelo Russell did plenty of damage, scoring 18 of his game-high 31 in the second half. But, it was a team effort for Brooklyn. 

The Kings don’t have long to think about the loss. Following the game, they hopped a plane for Toronto, where they’ll face a tough Raptors team Tuesday evening of the second night of a back-to-back.  

They’ll need a much better effort, of Toronto will hand them another lopsided loss.

Kings takeaways: What we learned from 123-94 loss to Nets on MLK Day

Kings takeaways: What we learned from 123-94 loss to Nets on MLK Day

BOX SCORE

Beatdown in Brooklyn. The Sacramento Kings went into halftime with a lead and then never showed up for the final 24 minutes of the game Monday at Barclays Center. 

The Nets were the better team for most of the night as they ran Sacramento over by a final of 123-94.

D’Angelo Russell torched the Kings for 31 points on 7-of-14 from behind the arc. Joe Harris added 19 points and Rodions Kurucs ran through Sacramento’s defense for 16. 

Here are three takeaways as the Kings get embarrassed in Brooklyn to fall to 24-23 on the season.

Third Quarter Collapse

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Kings take a lead into halftime, only to give it all away in the third quarter. 

Through the first couple of months of the season, the Kings owned the third quarter. That hasn’t been the case in January. After leading 60-55 heading to the intermission, the ball got sticky and the shots didn’t fall in the third. 

Like most games this season, the Kings allowed their offensive woes to carry over to the defensive end. Brooklyn outscored Sacramento 38-25 in the third to take a 93-85 lead into the fourth. Russell got hot and the Kings didn’t have an answer.

Defensive? 

Sacramento lost their defense somewhere between Detroit and Brooklyn. Playing against a solid offensive club, the Kings couldn’t stay in front of anyone.

They made some adjustments in the second quarter, but they never figured out the counter move from the Nets coaching staff.

When Brooklyn wasn’t running layup lines past Sacramento’s guards, they were firing away from behind the arc with deadly accuracy. 

If the Kings want to compete for a playoff spot, they have to find a way to stop someone. The effort was bad, the rotations were slow and the rebounding was atrocious. 

Bogdanovic at the point

Bogdan Bogdanovic is the Kings’ most versatile player and against the Nets, he took on the role of distributor.

Coach Dave Joerger turned to his super-sub off the bench early and he instantly opened up the Kings’ offense. He got everyone involved, including Willie Cauley-Stein, who went on a dunking binge in the second quarter. 

Bogdanovic finished the game with 22 points, a career-high 11 assists and six rebounds in the loss.