Lacking the same energy that pushed them to a win over the defending champs, the Sacramento Kings came out flat Sunday, losing 106-99 to the Atlanta Hawks.
“We have to have super energy to start games off, and we were flat, we didn’t have that” said Kings head coach Keith Smart during his postgame remarks. “We still managed to win the (first) quarter, but you could see that the rhythm of the game was not there in our favor.”
DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings in scoring, matching a season-high 28 points. The Kings center also pulled down 12 rebounds to record his 25th double-double this season. Jimmer Fredette and John Salmons combined for 26 points off the Kings’ bench.
Amidst trade chatter and conjecture, Josh Smith put together a phenomenal effort for Atlanta. The Hawks forward scored a team-high 28 points on 13-for-23 shooting.
Sacramento falls to 14-27 overall and 10-7 at home. They host the Golden State Warriors Tuesday in the first of back-to-back home games at Power Balance Pavilion.
Notes and Analysis
- For most of the night, Cousins was the best player on the floor. However, his teammates did a poor job feeding him the ball in the final period. After scoring 26 points in the first three quarters, Cousins attempted only three shots and recorded just two points in the final quarter.
- Zaza Pachulia was tough early, but Cousins ate him alive in the third. He finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out in 30 minutes of action.
- Smith was a beast tonight. The Kings tried defending him with Jason Thompson, Donté Greene and Chuck Hayes. All were no match for the uber-athletic Hawks forward.
- Due to the defensive effort of Tyreke Evans, Joe Johnson scored only five points on 1-for-6 shooting in the first half. But he came alive after intermission, scoring 16 points on 4-for-7 attempts from the field.
- Thompson had a rough night, scoring just four points and grabbing three rebounds in 17 minutes of action. Against an extremely athletic counterpart, this was another tough match-up for JT and he did not respond very well.
- Jimmer Fredette has quietly began to steal Isaiah Thomas’ minutes. The rookie out of BYU finished with 12 points and four assists. Both rookies played 23 minutes tonight.
- John Salmons continues to surge off the Kings bench. The veteran wing scored 14 points and is now averaging 12.5 per game over his last four contests.
- Seemed like Marvin Williams came to Sacramento for a poster shoot. In two separate plays, the former Tar Heel dunked hard over Greene and Cousins in traffic. He seemed inspired by head coach Larry Drew’s late decision to bring him off the bench.
- Stat of the night: The Kings committed zero turnovers in the second quarter. However, they still managed to turn the ball over 16 times in the other three periods.