CK Press Box Report: Milwaukee Bucks 115, Sacramento Kings 113

by Jonathan Santiago & James Ham

 
The Sacramento Kings’ valiant effort to overcome another emotional implosion from DeMarcus Cousins came up short.  They lost 115-113 to the Milwaukee Bucks at Sleep Train Arena on Sunday night.

After Mike Dunleavy connected on a 24-foot 3-pointer that all but sealed the game, the Kings mounted their comeback. Led by Jimmer Fredette, they outscored the Bucks 22-9 in the final four minutes of the contest.  However, that wasn’t enough for the Kings to overcome Milwaukee’s 15-point lead.

The loss sends the Kings to 22-43 overall and 16-15 at home.  They return to action Wednesday when they welcome the visiting Chicago Bulls to town.

- Jonathan Santiago

Notes and Analysis

  • Cousins was the story in this one, scoring 24 points on 10-for-12 shooting and grabbing 10 rebounds before getting booted.  His fourth ejection of the season came after he felt he was wronged after Mike Dunleavy undercut him on a play late in the third quarter.  With just over three minutes remaining in the period and following a timeout and double technical, Cousins sent an elbow to Dunleavy’s head as the two tangled in the post on the ensuing Bucks’ possession.  Cousins was unstoppable until he let his emotions get the best of him.
  • Jason Thompson picked up the slack when Cousins left the game, scoring 14 of his 18 points in the second half.  The Bucks are known for their shot blockers, but they struggled against the Kings’ big man in this one.  Thompson added eight rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block in 37 minutes of action.
  • Jimmer Fredette was incredible late, scoring 11 of his 14 points in the four-minute stretch to close out the game.  With 4.7 seconds remaining, Jimmer intentionally missed a free throw, got the rebound and appeared to be fouled before getting the ball to Evans who missed a 24-footer that would have won the game.  Jimmer was in his element tonight and almost won this contest single-handedly down the stretch.
  • Tyreke Evans had a solid 20-point, five-rebound, three-assist game for the Kings.  He also played well defensively against Monta Ellis.  Don’t let Ellis’ 29-point night fool you.  He shot just 9-for-24 from the field and 0-for-5 from behind the arc.
  • Isaiah Thomas fought a good fight, but shot just 4-for-16 from the field.  Thomas pushed the tempo and went right at the Bucks late in the game. He finished with 14 points, nine assists and five rebounds.
  • James Johnson missed this game due to personal reasons.  The team is not making an official statement on his absence.  But rest assured, it is a completely understandable situation that will remain private until Johnson gives the okay to go public.
  • Stat of the Night: Cousins picked up his 12th technical foul and 3rd flagrant two of the season.  Jason Thompson also picked up his eighth tech of the year.  How big do those two points look now?
- James Ham

Three answers to three questions pondered

1.  Will Toney Douglas continue to cut into Isaiah Thomas and Jimmer Fredette‘s playing time?

Douglas played 12 minutes tonight and during the course of the game, Keith Smart put him on the floor next to Thomas.  Fredette grabbed the short straw and played the fewest minutes of the three guards, but he still had an effective night.  The second-year guard led the Kings’ comeback late in the fourth quarter, scoring 11 points in the game’s final four minutes.

2.  Will the Kings dish out more than 25 assists tonight?

The Kings’ ball movement got off to an effective start.  They recorded nine assists in the first quarter, but their passing stagnated after that.  In the second quarter, they recorded just three assists.  Sacramento finished two shy of 25 with just 23 assists.

3.  Will Brandon Jennings carve up the Kings’ defense with his passing?

Jennings was a playmaker Sunday, just not the best assist man for the Bucks tonight..  Milwaukee’s starting point guard dished out a respectable eight assists to just one turnover.  Monta Ellis bested Jennings by one assist, finishing with nine.  The Bucks’ backcourt combined to record 17 of their 22 dishes.

- Jonathan Santiago

Quotes of the Game

Keith Smart‘s opening remarks:

These guys trained yesterday and did everything that we wanted them to do in the game.  The bench came in and played very well in that second quarter.  The Bucks came in and hurt us with some stops when we needed to get points.  Then, Gustavo Ayon came in and got his opportunity to play because of some other injuries on the team.  That always seems to happen, when a team is short, someone who hasn’t played comes in and plays hard and makes plays.  I thought that these guys rallied and put themselves right there in a position to win or tie the game.  We couldn’t get what everybody knew we should have gotten.  One of these days the situation is going to fall in our favor.  Jimmer Fredette put that last free throw in the right spot to where he could go in and get the rebound.

Marcus Thornton on the Kings not giving up:

Jimmer, Toney, Cole came in and gave us a look in that last two or three minutes.  If we can get that throughout the game by everybody, I think we’ll be in good shape.

Monta Ellis on the Kings’ late rally:

Our bench did a get job today.  The biggest thing for us was to keep playing and get defensive stops.  We did enough to come out with the win today.  It was ugly, but we’ll take it.

Statistical support provided by NBA.com.

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