On the heels of new rumors about the team’s future in Sacramento, a raucous crowd watched the Sacramento Kings fall in a heartbreaker. After leading by as many as 17 points in the first quarter, the Kings fell to the Dallas Mavericks by the final score of 117-112 in overtime. The loss drops the Kings to 13-23 overall and 10-9 at home.
Notes and Analysis
- DeMarcus Cousins was a beast tonight in Sacramento, but ran into trouble in the overtime frame. The Kings big man finished with 29 points and nine rebounds, but was ejected with 41.9 seconds remaining when he shoved Vince Carter in the face when switching ends of the court. Carter went down in a heap and Cousins tried to catch him to prevent more damage, but the deed was done. Cousins may hear from the league on this one, but the incident happened directly in front of my courtside media seat and I’m not sure he deserves a suspension. It looked like an emotional reaction that Cousins tried to take back mid-swing and Carter did a solid job of selling it.
- Isaiah Thomas would have been the hero of this game if the Kings could have pulled out the overtime victory. With 9.1 seconds remaining in the fourth, the Kings starting point guard banked in a 3-pointer to tie the game at 101-101. Thomas finished with 18 points on 6-for-11 shooting and tied for the team lead with four assists.
- Welcome back Tyreke Evans. In his second game back from injury, the Kings wing scored 20 points on 8-for-11 shooting in 32 minutes of action. He added seven rebounds and looked like the player that was putting it all together before the injury set-back.
- Francisco Garcia finally found his shot, scoring 11 of his 13 points in the third quarter. He added four rebounds, three assists and a blocked shot in 33 minutes as the Kings starting shooting guard.
- John Salmons went into hero mode tonight and cost the Kings big time in fourth quarter. The veteran wing scored 11 points, but shot 4-for-15 from the field, 3-for-10 from 3-point land and turned the ball over four times.
- Thomas Robinson grabbed nine of his 10 rebounds in the first half, but was part of the bizarre line-up Smart used to start the fourth quarter that really hurt the Kings’ chances. Leading by 10 going into the final frame, Smart went to Robinson, Evans, Jimmer Fredette, Aaron Brooks and Marcus Thornton. I’m not really sure what to call this line-up, but it was small and ineffective. By the time Smart made a move, the Kings’ 10-point lead was down to six and momentum was gone.
- This was Thornton’s first game back after missing the previous five due to a sprained left ankle. He finished 0-for-3 from the field in seven scoreless minutes.
- Stat of Night: The Mavericks improved to 1-7 in overtime games this season. The Kings, meanwhile, are 0-2 in overtime contests this year.
Three answers to three questions pondered
1. With rumors circulating once again about the Kings’ future in Sacramento, what kind of attendance will we see at Sleep Train Arena?
Tonight’s game wasn’t a sellout, but the fans did their part. An announced crowd of 14,011 filled Sleep Train Arena. That number was better than the 13,177 patrons the team has averaged this season. Most of the lower bowl was filled while fans scattered portions of the upper level. The crowd was boisterous and lively, most notably bringing the noise as the game turned in the Mavs’ favor late in fourth quarter. They brought some much needed energy to the building in what was a winnable game for the Kings.
2. Will any of the Maloofs or Mayor Kevin Johnson be seen at tonight’s game?
When times have gotten tough in the past, the Maloofs have been nowhere to be found while Kevin Johnson has graced Kings’ games with his presence. Tonight that scenario was not the case as neither party was at the game tonight.
3. In his second game back in the lineup, what kind of effort will we see out of Tyreke Evans?
Unlike Monday’s game, Evans put together a fluid effort against the Mavs. The 23-year-old guard came off the bench for a second-straight contest and finished with a solid stat line – 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting, seven rebounds and two assists in 32 minutes of action. He displayed the same confidence in his jump shot that Kings fans were growing accustomed to in the handful of games before he injured his left knee. His conditioning didn’t look like it was much of an issue as Keith Smart let him play critical minutes late in the fourth period.
Quotes of the Game
Kings coach Keith Smart opening statement:
These are the painful ones. I thought for the most part that these guys did a great job tonight. They turned the ball over 20 times though for 23 points. There some critical turnovers in the games. The game moved kind of in Dallas’ favor because they have some veteran guys who have some know-how. They know how to close a game and make some plays. We did some great things out there like getting it to that point where Isaiah Thomas made that big shot off the glass. That was a banker. That doesn’t happen often. I can’t fault our team’s effort considering everything. We had a chance to pull it out and it would have been a great win for us.
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle on DeMarcus Cousins:
Cousins is a phenomenal player. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a guy that’s that big that has the diversity that he has to his game. He does things off the dribble with such force and speed. He is really a unique player.
DeMarcus Cousins on tonight’s crowd:
It was nuts in there. That’s probably the most energized I’ve ever seen the crowd. It’s a good feeling and even with all of the rumors going on, our crowd is still there for us, our fans are still there for us – it’s a good feeling.