Sacramento Kings coaches have stated countless times that they expect the team to play together and stay focused for 48 minutes. The notion went ignored again as the Kings keeled over, losing to the Miami Heat, 95-83.
“They came out early, they hit us in the mouth and they didn’t look back,” DeMarcus Cousins told the media after the loss.
The Kings’ heads weren’t in this one. Ball movement was stagnant, and defensive rotations were nonexistent. Sacramento recorded 20 assists, but lost 15 turnovers which resulted in 17 points allowed. They shot 42.7 percent from the floor and drew a mere three free throws in the second half. The Kings were also out-rebounded 38-35 to the Heat, who are the NBA’s worst in the category.
“We fell into a trap because of their pressure early on,” head coach Tyrone Corbin explained. “We didn’t follow our plan. We wanted to increase the pace, more than slow it down.”
DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings with 17 points, 11 rebounds and eight turnovers.
“I’m making bad decisions with the ball,” Cousins admitted. “The right intentions, but just bad decisions.”
Ben McLemore scored 15 points and Darren Collison dropped 13 points and six assists. Derrick Williams, starting in place of Rudy Gay (knee), added 10 points and six rebounds.
The Heat, who were playing without Dwayne Wade (hamstring), had no issues on the offensive end. They shot 47.3 percent on field goals, 8-for-17 from behind the arc and spilled the ball 10 times.
Chris Bosh enjoyed a big night with 30 points, including 3-of-3 from deep. Luol Deng notched 25 points and six rebounds, and Shabazz Napier scored 12 points, six rebounds and five assists in relief of Wade.
In his anticipated return to Sacramento, Hassan Whiteside was a non-factor. The center played three minutes in the first half thanks to foul trouble and finished with a four-point, one-rebound performance.
By the crowd reaction alone, tonight was an incredibly disappointing outing by the Kings. They’ll need a short memory, because they host the Los Angeles Clippers tomorrow in the second night of a back-to-back.
Notes and Analysis
- For the second straight game, DeMarcus Cousins was a turnover machine. After handing it over nine times against the Mavericks on Tuesday, Cousins gave it up another eight times tonight in Sacramento. The Kings are hit-and-miss on most nights, but you can’t win when your best player doesn’t value the ball. Of course he turned in another double-double, his 23rd of the season, but that is a footnote in an otherwise disastrous performance.
- Ben McLemore has struggled of late with his long distance shot, but tonight he found his range from the baseline. The sophomore guard finished with 15 points on 6-for-14 shooting from the field and 3-of-7 from behind the arc.
- With Rudy Gay sidelined, Derrick Williams got the start at the three. The 23-year-old wing scored 10 points and grabbed six rebounds, but he failed to slow Luol Deng even a little bit. Deng torched the Kings for 25 points in 37 minutes of action.
- After sitting out the last six games with the dreaded DNP-CD, Reggie Evans was called upon to play heavy minutes tonight. The veteran forward finished the night with four points and seven rebounds in 24 minutes. On a high note, he won a tip against 7-footer Hassan Whiteside in the third.
- Darren Collison put in a solid, but unspectacular 13-point, six-assist performance tonight. With Gay and Landry sitting out, the Kings needed more from their floor general.
- Stat of the Night: The Kings are 10-13 at home and 5-10 in the Tyrone Corbin era.
Quote of the Game
DeMarcus Cousins on finding consistency
“I don’t know. The crazy thing about it is, we know what the problem is. We know we have to be a consistent defensive team, and we just don’t it. So that’s something the guys on the floor have to figure out. They have to come together and figure it out. Either you want to get it right or continue to have nights like this.”