Off-the-court issues proved to be no problem for the Sacramento Kings tonight.
Despite an apparent trade demand from big man DeMarcus Cousins, the Kings defeated the New Orleans Hornets, 96-80 on New Year’s Day in their second game of a back-to-back
“I believed we would pull together and play with energy, and really play hard and play together,” Head Coach Paul Westphal said after the 16-point victory. “That’s exactly what happened. You can never tell if you’re going to win or lose, but I think we gave a big effort.”
After a sluggish first half, the Kings took control of the game midway through the 3rd quarter. Leading 53-48, they went on an 11-0 run and never looked back.
Tyreke Evans had his best performance of the season leading the Kings in scoring with 27 points on 9-of-18 shooting. Fellow backcourt-mate Marcus Thornton also had a standout performance, scoring 25 points and recording five steals in the win.
- The Kings starting backcourt of Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton scored a combined 52 points on 18-for-36 shooting.
- Francisco Garcia saw his first action of the season, scoring six points in nine minutes of action, including two big threes in the fourth quarter. The veteran had received four straight DNP-CDs to begin the season.
- Travis Outlaw ended a three -game drought without a converted field goal. His first basket came at the 9:07 mark in the fourth quarter. He is now shooting 17.6 percent from the field after tonight’s 1-for-4 performance.
- J.J. Hickson struggled with his shot in his first start this season. Hickson scored four points on 1-for-6 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds while starting in place of the missing DeMarcus Cousins.
- The Kings had only ten turnovers on the night.
- After hitting just 81 of 132 free throws (61.4 percent), the Kings shot a stellar 85.7 percent tonight, hitting 18-of-21 shots from the charity stripe.
- The Kings outscored the Hornets 32 to 12 on fast break points.
- The Hornets won the rebounding battle tonight 60 to 41 overall and 22 to 12 on the offensive glass.
- Jimmer Fredette set a new career high in assists tonight with five.
- Stat of the Night: Setting a franchise record for three-point futility, the Hornets shot 0-of-15 from beyond the arc. Their previous low was 0-of-13 in a 91-81 loss to the Denver Nuggets on November 16, 2005.
- The Kings announced after the game that they have designated rookie Tyler Honeycutt and second-year center Hassan Whiteside to their D-League affiliate in Reno.