Road Reaction: Sacramento Kings 97, Charlotte Bobcats 93

Updated at 7:35 pm

After a woeful night offensively in Memphis, the Sacramento Kings bounced back to beat the Charlotte Bobcats 97-93 on Saturday.  With the win, the Kings move to 1-1 on their current three-game trip and earn their fourth road victory of the season.  Sacramento now stands with an overall record of 16-25.

Notes and Analysis

  • Isaiah Thomas put together one of his best performances of the season.  The second-year point guard played almost 30 minutes and chipped in 15 points, five rebounds, seven assists and zero turnovers in the win.  Nearly half of Thomas’ assists came in the third period, where he was able to throw in several successful entry passes into the post to his bigs.
  • Marcus Thornton was the Kings’ best spark off the bench.  The fourth-year guard scored 10 of his 18 points in the second quarter and made 4-of-7 attempts from long range.  His stellar play comes just in time as the Kings head to his home state of Louisiana to take on his former team, the New Orleans Hornets, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
  • DeMarcus Cousins has been playing some of his best basketball of the season in the month of January and tonight was no different.  The Kings starting center recorded his 18th double-double of the year, finishing with 17 points and 10 rebounds in just about 38 minutes of play.  Cousins has seen a surge in playing time in his last five games as he’s averaged right around 36 minutes per contest.
  • When Keith Smart went to his bench in the second quarter, they started off the period in a lull.  But James Johnson managed to get their offense off the snide by playing aggressively and attacking the basket.  Johnson scored six of his nine total points in the second quarter on shots around the rim.
  • Jason Thompson came out of his funk.  He grabbed just four rebounds, but scored 11 points on an effective 5-of-6 shooting in 31 minutes of action.  In his last five games, the Kings starting power forward was shooting 32.4 percent from the field and playing just 23.4 minutes per game.  No surprise that Thompson’s best outing in more than a week came while his dad sat courtside at Time Warner Cable Arena.  He always seems to play better when one or both of his parents are in attendance.
  • The Bobcats shot themselves in the foot with their free-throw shooting.  Charlotte shot just 68.4 percent on 38 attempts from the charity stripe.  Meanwhile, the Kings made 85.7 percent from the line on 18-of-21 attempts in their victory.
  • Stat of the Night: The Kings’ win sent the Bobcats to their 14th straight loss at home.  Charlotte hasn’t won a game at Time Warner Cable Arena since Nov. 21 when they defeated the Toronto Raptors 98-97.

Three answers to three questions pondered

1.  Can the Kings move the ball?

The Kings finished with a season-low nine assists yesterday evening in a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.  But ball movement was not a problem for Sacramento Saturday night in Charlotte.  The Kings finished with 24 total assists and just 11 turnovers.  Their best quarter of  ball movement came in the third period, where they recorded seven assists.  All five Kings starters recorded at least one assist, with Isaiah Thomas leading the way with seven.

2.  Will Keith Smart tighten his rotation?

After using 13 players against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Kings head coach played really only 10 men tonight against the Bobcats.  DeMarcus Cousins, Jason Thompson and Isaiah Thomas all played 29-plus minutes in the win over Charlotte.  The tighter rotation left Jimmer Fredette and Travis Outlaw as the odd men out against the Bobcats.  Fredette earned his first DNP – Coach’s Decision since the Kings’ Dec. 8th meeting in Portland against the Trail Blazers.

3.  Will Thomas Robinson leave the Charlotte Bobcats wondering what if?

The rookie power forward was the first big man off the Kings’ bench.  He checked into the game with a little less than two minutes to go in the first quarter.  But his stint was brief, thanks to taking a forearm to the mouth from Ramon Sessions as the opening period winded down.  X-rays came back negative and he was available to return to the game after halftime.  However, Keith Smart chose to stick with his starters for most of the second half.  Robinson played a grand total of a minute and 10 seconds against one of the four teams that bypassed him in the 2012 NBA Draft.

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About: Jonathan Santiago

Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.