Win or lose, a lone stat is usually written on the white board inside the Sacramento Kings’ locker room after each game at home. Monday’s number? Twenty-nine points off a season-high 22 turnovers.
The Kings’ miscues on offense led to their downfall at home where they fell 113-100 to the visiting New Orleans Pelicans.
“We’re not that good where we can give teams 22 extra possessions,” Kings coach Michael Malone said following the loss. “I’ll tell you that much. I don’t know if we can beat them if we give them zero extra possessions, but when we give the other team 22 for 29 points, that’s what happens.”
Sacramento’s defense crumbled to New Orleans in the final six minutes of the fourth quarter. The Kings allowed the Pelicans to score 21 of their 36 fourth period points after the halfway point of the quarter.
“I can’t get over it,” Malone said. “Giving up 36 points (in the fourth quarter) — do you know how hard that is? That is embarrassing. I don’t know if anybody in that locker room is embarrassed, but I am.”
In his first game since leaving Sacramento last offseason, Tyreke Evans dominated his former team. The 2010 Rookie of the Year had his way with the Kings in the paint, making all seven of his 14 field goal attempts at or around the rim. Evans tallied his third double-double of the season, finishing with a game-high 25 points and a season-high 12 assists.
“We just didn’t do what we wrote on the board,” Kings guard Isaiah Thomas said of the lack of defensive execution against his former teammate. “You want to make a guy like that shoot jumpers, not live in the paint. That’s what he’s great at. We just fed into what he was doing. We definitely didn’t stop him. We’ve got to know, he’s a guy that’s been here for four or five years, he was going to try to come in and have a great game and he did.”
In defeat, the Kings were paced by Thomas, DeMarcus Cousins and Marcus Thornton. They scored 54 of the Kings’ 100 points. Rudy Gay had perhaps his worst game in a Kings’ uniform, finishing with 11 points on an ineffective 2-of-12 from the field.
The Kings fall to 8-19 overall, 5-11 at home. They have the next four days off before returning to action against the Miami Heat, who make their lone visit to Sacramento this season on Friday.
Notes and Analysis
- Tyreke Evans thrashed the Kings tonight, finishing with 25 points, 12 assists and six rebounds in 36 minutes. The Kings knew exactly what was coming and still couldn’t stop their former teammate.
- Cousins was a beast, but the hollow points in a losing effort are wearing on the Kings center. He finished the night with his 15th double-double and 12th 20-point, 10-rebound game of the season. Cousins scored a team-high 24 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the loss.
- Isaiah Thomas had another solid offensive effort, scoring 21 points, dishing out five assists and grabbing five rebounds in 35 minutes. Like Cousins, he turned the ball over four times, but he added three steals in the effort.
- The Kings have found their bench scorer. After a horrendous start to the season, Marcus Thornton appears to have found his mojo while the Kings were on their four-game road trip. Thornton finished with 19 points on 5-for-13 shooting and hit all seven of his free throws on the night. The Kings need his punch off the bench.
- Rudy Gay had a rough game, scoring just 11 points on 2-for-12 shooting and turning the ball over six times. With his shot off, Gay took the ball at the defense and went to the line eight times, hitting all but one. He added five rebounds and two steals in his 39 minutes.
- Thornton wasn’t the only King to come off the bench and supply a scoring punch. Jimmer Fredette took advantage of his 13 minutes, finishing with nine points on 4-for-6 shooting. The former BYU star added two assists, two rebounds and a steal. If Thornton and Jimmer can figure it out, they might be able to provide the scoring the second unit needs.
- The Kings defense was atrocious again in this one. New Orleans shot 49.4 percent from the floor overall and 54.5 percent in the deciding fourth quarter. Without a goalie in the middle, the Pelicans scored 54 points in the paint to just 38 for the Kings.
- Stat of the Night: The Kings set a new season-high in turnovers with 22 and were outscored 36-23 in the fourth quarter.
Quote of the Game
Michael Malone on the Kings’ defense against Evans:
“He got wherever he wanted to go. He got 25 points, 12 assists, and got to the foul line at will. Nobody could keep him in front of them and that’s how he gets to the rim. We can’t defend without fouling. If our guys didn’t think he would try to come into this arena and get off, then I question their IQ. He played here and he’s going to come here and try to show everybody what we’re missing, which he did.”
Video shot and edited by Kimani David.