Instant Replay: Kings squander lead, fall to Warriors at home

Instant Replay: Kings squander lead, fall to Warriors at home


SACRAMENTO -- The best way to slow the offensive juggernaut that is the Golden State Warriors, is to make shots on the offensive end and set your defense. The Sacramento Kings did exactly that through two quarters, but an NBA basketball game doesn’t end after 24 minutes.

Golden State throttled the Kings in the third quarter, erasing a seven-point halftime lead with a 39-22 explosion coming out of the intermission. Sacramento never recovered, losing by a final of 117-106.

The big three came to play for Golden State.

Sacramento’s guards picked up Steph Curry full court for much of the night, but he got loose in the third quarter to put up 30 points on 5-for-11 shooting from long range.  

Kevin Durant was outplayed early by Gay, but came alive late to post 28 points, seven rebounds, six assists and four blocks in the win. Klay Thompson hit the Kings with back cuts all night, finishing the game with 18 points on 8-for-19 shooting.

Draymond Green added nine points, seven rebounds and a game-high 10 assists, while Zaza Pachulia finished with 10 points and seven rebounds.

Rudy Gay channeled his inner George Gervin, attacking the rim and finishing with the finger-roll. Gay scored 15 of his 23 in the first quarter. Gay looked very good in his second game back after missing four straight and 10-of-11 with a hip flexor injury.

DeMarcus Cousins struggled early with foul trouble and never really got it going. He finished the night with 17 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. He also beat a chair up, which cost him his 10th technical foul.

For the second straight game Dave Joerger mixed up his starting lineup. Garrett Temple started at the shooting guard spot alongside Darren Collison and Anthony Tolliver started up front with Gay and Cousins.

Both moves worked. Tolliver hit 2-for-5 from 3-point land on his way to 16 points and five rebounds. Temple added 14 points and played solid defense on the high-powered Warrior guards.

Ty Lawson came off the Kings bench to give them a huge spark. He led the second unit with 15 points and three assists. Darren Collison put up numbers in the fourth to finish with 14 points as the Kings fell to 15-22 on the season.

Curry did most his damage in the deciding third quarter, scoring 12 of his 30 in the period.

The Kings walked into halftime feeling confident. They came out timid and the Warriors demolished them quickly. Sacramento hung around, but the third quarter decided this game.

For the second straight game, the Kings walked in with 13 healthy bodies and walked out unscathed.

The Kings continue their season-long seven game homestand Tuesday when the Detroit Pistons roll through town. They follow that up with the NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers Friday evening.

Kings notes: De'Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield flash skills in loss to Rockets

Kings notes: De'Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield flash skills in loss to Rockets

It was a track meet from the opening tip Saturday night in Houston. The Rockets looked like an inspired team after a rough start to the season, running over the Kings over for a 132-112 win

Houston rained down 3-pointers at a startling clip, and when it wasn't burying the 3-ball, it was finishing at the rim. James Harden dropped in a game-high 34 points, and Chris Paul added 24 points and nine assists in the Rockets' win.

The Kings had plenty of chances, but their inability to slow the Rockets' offense cost them any chance at a win.

Here are six notes as the Kings fell back to .500 on the season at 8-8.

Buddy scores

After failing to reach the 20-point plateau for four consecutive games, Buddy Hield found the basket against Houston. The third-year guard posted 23 points on 10-of-17 shooting to go with seven rebounds and two assists.

Hield has taken a few games to adjust to Bogdan Bogdanovic's return, but the Kings' second-leading scorer should be just fine.

How good is Fox? 

In his second season, De’Aaron Fox has put the NBA on notice. Not only is he a Most Improved Player candidate, he should be in the discussion for an All-Star bid.

Against a future Hall of Famer in Chris Paul, Fox finished with 19 points and three assists in 25 minutes of play. He can’t control whether his teammates hit open jumpers, but if he’s playing 36 minutes per night, the Kentucky product is putting up nearly 21 points and eight assists.

Bogdan impactful

Bogdanovic completed the second biggest step in his recovery from offseason knee issues. First, he made his way back to the court. On Saturday, he completed his first back-to-back and should be cleared for regular duty ASAP.

The Serbian-born wing finished Saturday's game with 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting and added five assists in the loss. He’s ready for stage three, which is returning to the Kings' starting lineup.

Play me

Marvin Bagley struggled against the Grizzlies and clearly was outplayed by fellow rookie Jaren Jackson. Bagley had a bounce-back game in Houston, finishing with 16 points and eight rebounds in 27 minutes.

[RELATED: Kings deny report that coach Joerger, front office have disconnect]

Bagley is a talent, but he needs time to figure out the defensive end. There will be a point this season when he jumps ahead of Nemanja Bjelica in the Kings' starting rotation, but he first needs to show activity on both ends of the floor.  

The disappearance of Willie Cauley-Stein 

If nothing else, Cauley-Stein has been consistent this season. Often times, he’s been extraordinary. Against Clint Capela, Cauley-Stein was less than serviceable.

Cauley-Stein shot 1 of 9 from the field and finished with three points and five rebounds in 18 minutes. It’s possible he was winded on the second night of a back-to-back, but he can’t have nights like this if he hopes to cash in this summer.

Play some D 

The Kings struggled to contain the Rockets from the early stages of the game. In the end, Sacramento couldn’t stop penetration, struggled with the pick-and-roll and allowed Houston to shoot as many 3-pointers as it could muster.

The Kings gave up 132 points on 56.8 percent shooting, and allowed the Rockets to hit 20 of 47 from long range. It’s hard to stay in a game when your opponent outscores you 60-33 on 3-pointers. Sacramento's defense has to get better, especially against top-tier teams.

Kings coach Dave Joerger sidesteps Yahoo report about his job status


Kings coach Dave Joerger sidesteps Yahoo report about his job status

Dave Joerger wasn't in a mood to talk about his job status moments after his Kings lost to the Rockets on Saturday night.

Asked by reporters about a Yahoo Sports story claiming "substantial disconnect" between him and the Kings' front office, Joerger tried to deflect the question back to basketball.

"Well, usually, I would say, 'I'd be happy to answer all your questions about tonight's game,' but in this case, I'm going to tell you that my focus is with our team," Joerger said. "And coaching our team and getting better every single night. And we've got young guys, and they're mixed with older guys, and go in there and rally them up.

“This is a tough five-game stretch for us, so I want to make sure we stick together, grab onto each other ..."

Pressed on the reported disconnect, Joerger refused to address it.

"I'm not going to get into that stuff," the coach said before exiting the scrum after no other questions were asked.

The Yahoo story came out about 30 minutes before the Kings and Rockets tipped off in Houston. During the game, Kings general manager Vlade Divac issued a statement to NBC Sports California's James Ham and denied there was any issues between Joerger and the front office.

"Dave has our full support and confidence,” Divac said in the statement. “We continue to work together to develop our young core and compete.”