CK Press Box Report: Hawks 110, Kings 103

By James Ham and Rui Thomas

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The Sacramento Kings (22-44) put up a fight against the Atlanta Hawks (53-14), but it wasn’t enough. Back from a two-week road trip, the Kings lost by a final score of 110-103.

“Even though I thought we scared them, I didn’t think they ever showed that they were going to lose it,” George Karl told the media after the loss.

Facing the high-powered Hawks, who have the East’s best record, the Kings came with their guns loaded. Sacramento shot 46.9 percent on field goals and 7-of-20 on 3’s, picking up 23 assists along the way. The Kings lost 20 turnovers, which was ultimately their downfall.

The Kings’ defense was far from perfect, but it was worlds ahead from a week ago. They held the Hawks to 45.2 percent shooting from the floor and 12-of-31 from behind the arc. Sacramento once again struggled in transition, losing the fast break battle, 23-12.

“We just need to find a defensive formula that gives us a few more stops and a few more points off the defense,” Karl noted.

DeMarcus Cousins stuffed the box score with 20 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, three blocks and two steals. Omri Casspi, starting in place of an injury Rudy Gay, recorded 16 points and five rebounds. Jason Thompson and Andre Miller sparked the Kings off the bench, scoring a combined 34 points on 13-for-14 shooting.

Jeff Teague led the Hawks with 23 points. Paul Millsap scored 19 points and hauled in 10 rebounds, and DeMarre Carroll added 16 points and eight rebounds.

The Kings fall to 4-10 under coach Karl, but tonight’s showing gives reason for optimism. They’ll play the Los Angeles Clippers at Sleep Train Arena on Wednesday.

Notes and Analysis

  • The Kings celebrated Jason Thompson becoming the team’s all-time leader in games played during the Sacramento era tonight.  The seven-year vet responded with 18 points on 7-for-7 and hit all four of his free throws in 24 minutes off the bench.
  • Without Al Horford in the lineup, the Atlanta Hawks had no answer for DeMarcus Cousins.  Coming off back-to-back 30+ point performances, the big fella was a force again tonight.  Cousins finished with 20 points on 7-for-19 shooting and chipped in 13 rebounds, five assists, two steals and three blocks in the loss.  The Kings’ starting center now has 41 double-doubles on the season.
  • Omri Casspi picked up his second straight start for the injured Rudy Gay.  The first game didn’t go so well, but tonight he dropped in 16 points on 6-for-13 shooting and ran the floor like a gazelle.
  • Andre Miller didn’t have a great road trip, but he bounced back tonight on the home floor.  Miller scored 16 points and dished out seven assists as the Kings went small for most of the game.
  • Ray McCallum came out firing, knocking down two early 3-pointers in the first quarter.  The second-year guard scored 10 points and handed out three assists in 22 minutes of action running the Kings offense.
  • Ben McLemore didn’t have a great game, but he fought through his struggles and produced 11 points, six rebounds and three assists.
  • Stat of the Night: Jason Thompson finished the night with a perfect 7-of-7 from the field and 4-for-4 from the line.

Quote of the Game

Jason Thompson on his franchise record for games played

“I don’t think I would have thought something like that would happen seven years ago getting your name called in June, but it’s a blessed situation.  It hasn’t been the easiest journey, but that’s how you can celebrate those things sometimes.  Sometimes it’s not about how the was, but it’s how you finish.”

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