CK Press Box Report: Miami Heat 128, Sacramento Kings 99

by Jonathan Santiago & James Ham

 
The Sacramento Kings had no answers defensively for the Miami Heat.  In their only visit to Sacramento this year, the defending champs scored 51 points from 3-point land en route to a 128-99 victory over the Kings.  The win ends a two-game losing skid for the Heat, but extends the Kings’ defeat streak to four.  The Kings fall to 13-24 overall and 10-10 at home.

Notes and Analysis

  • The Heat walked all over the Kings in front of a loud bi-partisan crowd.  Mario Chalmers scored a career-high 34 points, which included a team record-tying 10 made 3-point baskets.  Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh were just along for the ride tonight.
  • Isaiah Thomas did his best to keep the Kings in the game.  The second-year guard out of Washington set a new career-high with 34 points on 13-for-22 shooting from the field and 6-for-8 shooting from 3-point land.  He also led the team with five assists in 33 minutes of action.
  • DeMarcus Cousins couldn’t get it going offensively, but he still managed to score 11 points, grab eight rebounds and dish out four assists in 33 minutes.  The Kings need more from their leading scorer.
  • James Johnson brought a small spark off the bench, scoring 11 points on 5-for-8 shooting in 16 minutes.
  • Thomas Robinson had another solid game, notching a 10-point, 10-rebound performance in the lopsided loss.  Jason Thompson has had back-to-back subpar games after being the most consistent King this season.  With Robinson improving, he may steal a few more minutes here and there from Thompson if the slump continues.
  • Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton were huge disappointments tonight.  The Kings needed scoring and the duo combined for 13 points on 4-for-17 shooting.  Evans added seven assists, but these two looked out of sorts.
  • The same could be said for the tandem of John Salmons and Francisco Garcia.  In a combined 33 minutes of play, the veterans scored a total of three points and went 1-for-7 from the field.  Smart brought Thornton and Evans in together off the bench to play alongside Thomas, but you have to wonder if they won’t slide into the starting line-up together in the next game or two.
- James Ham

Three answers to three questions pondered

1.  Will DeMarcus Cousins draw his fourth suspension of the year and miss the match-up against the Heat?

Cousins and Smart were hopeful that the Kings big man would not be suspended following practice yesterday.  And their hopes came true.  Smart said he spoke to the league’s front office Friday and they told him they saw nothing more that warranted any further action.  Unfortunately, his presence made no difference for the Kings.  Cousins played an inefficient game to finish with 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting and eight rebounds.

2.  What will the reception be like for Mayor Kevin Johnson if/when he walks into Sleep Train Arena to catch the game?

The mayor didn’t waltz into tonight’s game fashionably late.  Instead, Johnson was already inside the arena almost a half hour before tip-off.  With his wife Michelle Rhee, he sat in his usual courtside seats on the baseline across from the visiting bench.  The bigger surprise was the presence of Mark Mastrov, the founder of 24 Hour Fitness who recently expressed interest in purchasing the Kings.  Mastrov, who sat courtside on the left baseline by the Kings’ bench, spoke briefly with Mayor Johnson during halftime of tonight’s game.  Meanwhile, the Maloofs were again a no show.  At the start of the game, their courtside seats next to Grant Napear and Jerry Reynolds sat empty until three nondescript fans took them midway through the first quarter.

3.  After a solid second game back from injury, does Tyreke Evans regain his starting shooting guard position?

In his third game back from injury, Evans once again did not start for the Kings.  Smart talked to the Kings swingman about his health yesterday and Evans suggested that he needed one more game off the bench.  With the Heat playing stifling defense, Evans was never able to get things going.  In the first half, the 23-year-old guard scored just three points and went 0-of-4 from the field.  Smart continued to go with Francisco Garcia in his starting lineup and he didn’t fair any better.  The veteran guard finished with just three  points on 1-of-4 attempts from the field.

Quotes of the Game

 Thomas Robinson‘s opening remarks:

LeBron, Kobe, Carmelo – you can’t even really get a game plan for those guys.  You just hope that they slow down a little bit or that they don’t score as much as they usually do.  I think we just tried to take something away – we didn’t know what we were going to take, but we had to take something away and unfortunately, it didn’t go the way we’d planned.

Isaiah Thomas on scoring his career high in a loss to the champs:

My teammates were finding me; I just was knocking down shots.  Like you said – it’s irrelevant – career highs and points and all that – when you lose like we did.

LeBron James on Mario Chalmers’ big night:

It was awesome.  We love our teammates.  Anytime we have a guy that can go off like that, it’s great.  He had it going and we just tried to continue to find him and he kept on knocking them down.

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