Late game heroics by Tyreke Evans helped propel the Sacramento Kings to a 107-100 victory over the Toronto Raptors Wednesday night. With less than three minutes remaining and the game tied at 95, the Kings starting two-guard hit back-to-back 3′s to push his team over the hump and seal victory. The win improves the Kings to 5-12 overall and 5-6 at home.
Notes and Analysis
- DeMarcus Cousins was the main attraction tonight for the Kings. He finished with 25 points and 13 rebounds in the win. Cousins appeared relaxed and let the game come to him, instead of forcing things like what we have seen over the last few weeks. He turned the ball over four times, but he shot an impressive 11-for-18 from the field, moved the ball well in the offense and did most of his damage in the post.
- Kyle Lowry killed the Kings guards. He finished with 34 points, 11 assists and five rebounds and he went a stellar 12-for-12 from the free throw line in the loss. When his team needed him, Lowry was a one-man wrecking crew tonight.
- Welcome back Tyreke Evans. After missing the Kings’ previous two games, Evans scored 23 points, including two momentum changing 3-pointers in the game’s final three minutes. He started slow, but in the second half, Evans turned up the aggression and scored 16 points. If the Kings can get Cousins and Evans to play like this every night, they might win a few more games.
- Jason Thompson finished with his fifth double-double of the season. During the first half, Thompson teamed with Cousins to form a powerful frontline. The duo combined to score 25 points and 12 rebounds before the break, which really helped the Kings get off to a fast start.
- Jimmer Fredette got the call tonight as the Kings’ second-unit point guard. The BYU product had an iffy first half, but settled down in the fourth to provide a nice presence off the bench. Jimmer finished with seven points in 12 minutes.
- John Salmons had a quiet, but effective 12-point-seven-assist night for the Kings.
- Stat of the Night: The Kings outscored the Raptors in the paint 56-30. Outside of Lowry, the Kings were the aggressor tonight. From start to finish, they went right at the teeth of the Raptors’ defense.
Three answers to three questions pondered
1. Will we see a competitive game played by the Kings?
The Kings came to play tonight. Strong performances by DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans, their two best players, powered them to victory. When Evans struggled in the first half, Cousins rolled. And when Cousins slowed down after intermission, Evans got his wheels spinning. When those two perform at the level they played at tonight, the Kings can be a tough match-up for anyone.
2. If Tyreke Evans plays, how effective will he be?
Early on in his return, Evans struggled. In the first half, he shot 2-of-8 from the field and scored just seven points. But his shooting woes didn’t stop him from being aggressive. He stayed engaged in the game by attacking the basket and it paid off in the second half. Following intermission, the Kings starting shooting guard scored 16 of his 23 points on 5-of-8 shooting. After the game, Evans says he felt some lingering effects from the knee bruise that sidelined from two games, but it certainly didn’t look like an issue tonight.
3. Can DeMarcus Cousins get himself back on track?
After a disappointing November, Cousins took a step in the right direction Wednesday. He finished with 25 points on 11-of-18 shooting and grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds. The Kings starting center didn’t settle from the perimeter, attempting 13 shots inside the painted area. Of his 20-plus points, Cousins scored 16 of them around the rim. He still needs to post up more, but at least he didn’t force the issue on offense tonight. The Kings big man let his game come to him and it showed in his performance.
- Jonathan Santiago
Quotes of the Game
Keith Smart’s opening remarks:
It was good for these young men, with all that they’ve gone through these last couple of days and weeks, to get a win. It was really team basketball. We had five guys that got into double figures and a lot of guys played really good defense. It was a big positive for our team. In the NBA, it’s hard to get wins, even if you’re a good team. I thought our guys, over the course of our big letdown in L.A. with the Clippers and then having a couple of days to work on it, really showed improvement. We showed everything that we worked on over the course of those two days and we were able to apply it to the game tonight.
Raptors head coach Dwane Casey on DeMarcus Cousins:
He’s a beast. We tried everybody on him. Aaron Gray had the flu. We were going to look at him, but Amir was the best guy behind Valanciunas with him. He’s doing a great job playing under control once he catches in the paint, establishing post position and that’s the ball game – 56 points in the paint.
DeMar Derozan on the the frustration of losing again on the road:
You can’t explain in words how frustrating it is. It sucks. We try and work as hard as we can, but the ball doesn’t bounce our way, the ball doesn’t go in when you need it to go in. Everything you can think of.