Once again, the game on the court was secondary to the happenings off it. Despite outscoring the opposition after halftime, the Sacramento Kings dug themselves too deep of a hole to climb out of and lost to the New Orleans Hornets 114-105 in the final contest of a three-game road trip.
This morning, an agreement to sell the Kings to a group of Seattle-based investors was announced by all parties involved. Despite the news, there remains a glimmer of hope for Sacramento. Mayor Kevin Johnson is banking on his opportunity to present a counter-offer and plead the capital city’s case one last time to the NBA’s board of governors. He is expected to announce his team of local investors sometime this week.
Notes and Analysis
- The story of this game was the Kings’ inability to stick with Sacramento-area native Ryan Anderson. The Hornets forward scored 27 points on 7-for-14 shooting from 3-point range. The Kings left him wide open for most of the game and the veteran shooter made them pay.
- Sure, it was a really early morning and the cloud of a potential relocation to Seattle is a distraction, but there was still a game to play. Despite everything, DeMarcus Cousins put together another impressive effort. The Kings’ developing star center finished with 29 points and 13 rebounds in 41 minutes of action.
- Isaiah Thomas did a nice job of scoring the ball, finishing with 20 points, but the Kings point guard finished with just three assists and four turnovers in 40 minutes of play. The Kings finished with just 18 total assists on the day. Thomas has to do a better job of making his teammates better going forward.
- Tyreke Evans had a solid afternoon, scoring 16 points on 5-for-12 shooting. He added four assists and two steals in the loss.
- Travis Outlaw gave Keith Smart a big lift off the bench in the second half, scoring 10 points during a 16-minute stretch of the third and fourth quarters. While he doesn’t play much, Outlaw has actually done a nice job of supplying an offensive spark of late.
- Jason Thompson had a bit of a bounce-back game, finishing with seven points and six rebounds in just 17 minutes. Thompson sat for a long stretch while Smart went to Outlaw for a spark.
- For the second straight game, Jimmer Fredette received a DNP – Coach’s Decision from Smart.
- Stat of the Night: The Kings were out-rebounded 49-36 by the Hornets today. With the Kings’ size and skill in the paint, there is no excuse for that.
- James Ham
Three answers to three questions pondered
Both men put together solid efforts for their respective teams. However, Vasquez played the better all-around game and also came away with the victory. The Hornets starting point guard scored 19 points and dished out 11 assists while shooting a stellar 58.3 percent from the field. With games like today, it’s no wonder why Vasquez is in the conversation and running for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award.
2. Will DeMarcus Cousins prove to be too much for the Hornets’ frontline?
Even in defeat, Cousins was once again dominant against his opposition. The Kings big man scored 29 points and shot 64.7 percent from the field while also grabbing a game-high 13 rebounds. In compiling his 19th double-double of the season, Cousins scored 21 of his 29 points in the second half. As good as Cousins was in the loss, local-product Ryan Anderson was just as phenomenal for the Hornets. The former Oak Ridge High standout scored a team-high 27 points off New Orleans’ bench. He made 7-of-11 attempts from 3-point distance, finishing just one long-range make shy of tying his career-high.
3. Will the news of an agreement between the Maloofs and Seattle investors affect the Kings’ play?
They’ll probably say it didn’t, but their actions on the court today would suggest otherwise. The Kings came out with no energy on both ends of the floor, resorting to careless hero ball on offense and lackadaisical effort on defense. The Hornets held the Kings to just 39 points in the first half and built a lead as large as 27 in the victory. Sacramento tried mounting a comeback in the third period, where they shot 75 percent from the field and outscored the Hornets by 14. But by then, it was too little too late. As pros, they are expected to play hard regardless of distractions. However, expectations don’t always play out in reality. Just like trades and other speculation, news of this magnitude do have an impact on players and coaches’ lives off the court, which probably weighed heavy on their minds’ today.
- Jonathan Santiago