After staying close in the first half, the Sacramento Kings fell apart in the third and fourth quarters, allowing the Milwaukee Bucks to come away with a 98-85 victory.
Notes and Analysis
- With DeMarcus Cousins missing yet another game due to suspension and Marcus Thornton leaving the team to tend to his ailing mother, Keith Smart had very little ammunition to work with. Veterans Aaron Brooks, Francisco Garcia, John Salmons, Travis Outlaw and Jason Thompson started, but the group looked like they had never played on the floor together.
- Tyreke Evans returned after sitting out most of the last two weeks. Not to coach from the sidelines, but Evans told Smart to leave Garcia in the starting line-up, which sounds like a noble act. But with Cousins and Thornton out, this might not have been the best idea. Evans finished with 17 points and seven rebounds, but turned the ball over five times in the loss.
- Garcia started his fourth-straight game and finally came back down to earth. The veteran wing scored only three points on 1-for-5 shooting in 22 minutes as the starter. He blocked another two shots, but Garcia on Monta Ellis was not a good match-up for the Kings tonight. Ellis score 17 points, dished out 11 assists and finished two rebounds shy of a triple-double.
- Salmons played a strong 36 minutes, scoring 16 points and blocking two shots. Unfortunately, Luc Mbah a Moute and Ersan Ilyasova manhandled him on the other end. The duo finished with 33 points, 20 rebounds, three steals and two blocks in 50-combined minutes.
- Thompson had a solid game filling in for Cousins at center, but the Kings needed more than solid. Thompson finished with eight points and a game-high 15 rebounds. He also picked up another technical foul and lost a piece of one of his front teeth when he caught an elbow from Tobias Harris.
- Jimmer Fredette wasn’t the first guard off the bench, but he was the most effective. In 15 minutes of play, Jimmer scored nine points on 4-for-8 shooting and didn’t turn over the ball, which was a lot more efficient than Brooks’ 11 points on 3-for-11 shooting and four turnovers.
- Outlaw got a spot start and it was nothing to brag about. Outlaw scored six points on 1-for-6 shooting and grabbed four rebounds in 16 minutes of play. While the missed shots didn’t help, Outlaw was slow to rotate on defense and failed to block out on the defensive glass.
- Stat of the Night: The Kings shot just 37 percent from the field and made just three of their 19 long-range attempts. There are very few nights in the NBA where those shooting numbers will fly.
Three answers to three questions pondered
1. What kind of production do the Kings get out of their bench?
It’s tough to really assess the Kings’ bench tonight, since many of them were in starting lineup. Evans played solid, but the Kings needed more than that with Cousins and Thornton out. Jimmer provided a nice spark, finishing with 9 points, while rookie Thomas Robinson added eight points and eight rebounds.
2. Will the Bucks have a block party tonight against the Kings?
With Larry Sanders missing the game, the Bucks finished with fewer blocks than their season average on the night. With the Kings playing without Cousins, Scott Skiles used a smaller lineup, limiting shot-blocking specialist Samuel Dalembert to just 23 minutes. The Bucks and the Kings tied with six blocks apiece on the night.
3. Will we see another King put together a surprise performance?
The Kings looked horrible in this one. While it wasn’t a 25-point smackdown like Monday’s game against the Mavs, it could have been. Very few people brought their A-Game and the result was a second-straight road loss. Evans, Salmons and Brooks were the only three Kings to score in double-figures and the defense was slow to rotate, sagged off of perimeter shooters and allowed 24 offensive rebounds.