CK Press Box Report: Detroit Pistons 97, Sacramento Kings 90

by Jonathan Santiago & James Ham

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Taking care of the basketball hasn’t been a problem for the Sacramento Kings this season.  Going into their eighth game of the year, the Kings were ranked first in the NBA in fewest turnovers committed.

But going up against the Detroit Pistons Friday night, it was a different story.  The Kings gave up 17 turnovers, one shy of tying a season-high 18, in a 97-90 loss to the Pistons at Sleep Train Arena.

“You can’t win games if you constantly beat yourself,” Kings head coach Michael Malone said of his team’s struggles to maintain possession Friday. “Tonight was one of the few games this year when we were turning the ball over a lot. The worst part about it was that they seemed to score on every turnover.”

From the tip, the Kings had trouble hanging onto the ball.  In the first quarter alone, they coughed up seven turnovers to the Pistons’ swarming defense.  Detroit took advantage of the extra possessions on the night, scoring 22 points off Sacramento’s turnovers.

“We allowed them to get their hands in there on balls and we weren’t strong with the ball,” Kings starting center DeMarcus Cousins said after the loss. “Just careless turnovers.  I had a careless turnover at the end, passing it to Greivis (Vasquez). So making plays like that, we’re going to continue to lose games.

“We’ve got to find a way to correct these mistakes,” Cousins added. “We’re making the same ones every time.”

To make matters worst for the Kings, a key member of their rotation was sidelined during the game due to injury.  Early in the second quarter, forwards Patrick Patterson and Travis Outlaw collided chasing down a rebound, resulting in knee contusions for both players.  Outlaw managed to shake off the injury, but Patterson left the contest and did not return to the Kings’ bench.

“He seems to be okay,” Malone said when asked about the status of the fourth-year forward.  “I’m sure that they’ll give him some tests to see how bad it is.  But I don’t think right now it’s anything real severe at this moment.”

Losing Patterson and the careless night handling the ball put a damper on fans’ efforts in the Kings’ only nationally-televised game this season.  A sellout crowd of 17,317 shattered the Guinness World Record for loudest indoor roar, previously held by Milwaukee Bucks fans, on three different occasions Friday evening.

The loss brings the Kings’ record to 2-6 and 2-4 at home.  They return to action Sunday for a matinee contest against the visiting Memphis Grizzlies.

Notes and Analysis

  • DeMarcus Cousins had another big night for Sacramento, leading the Kings with 26 points and 13 rebounds.  On the defensive end, Cousins moved his feet and played under control, which led to three blocks and just four personal fouls in 36 minutes.
  • Once again, Isaiah Thomas provided a huge spark for the Kings, finishing with 18 points and seven assists in 31 minutes.  The Kings burrowed too deep a hole for Thomas to dig them out of and his three fourth quarter turnovers didn’t help either.
  • After a huge game on Wednesday night, Greivis Vasquez matched a career-high eight turnovers in 29 minutes of action.  Vasquez got hot in the third quarter, dropping in two big 3-pointers, but in the end, the Kings made too many mistakes against an extremely athletic Pistons team.
  • Ben McLemore played better than he did in his first career start on Wednesday, but his performance was still nothing to write home about.  The rookie out of Kansas scored seven points and grabbed six rebounds in 32 minutes.  He was active and almost made a highlight reel dunk early on, but patience is needed for this 20-year-old kid.
  • Marcus Thornton could do no wrong against the Nets on Wednesday.  Friday, he could do no right.  After scoring 24 points last time out, Thornton scored just five against the Pistons on 1-for-6 shooting in 23 minutes.
  • Travis Outlaw and Patrick Patterson collided on a rebound attempt in the second quarter, both leaving the game with left knee contusions.  Patterson never returned to the game and Outlaw played a total of 12 seconds.
  • The injuries to Outlaw and Patterson opened a door for Luc Mbah a Moute, who played well in 29 minutes.  The veteran wing finished with nine points on 4-for-7 shooting and even hit a corner 3-point attempt.
  • Stat of the Night:  The Kings came into Friday’s contest leading the league at just 12 turnovers per game.  They finished with 17 against Detroit, including 12 from their two point guards.

Quote of the Game

Vasquez on his turnover woes.

“Some of them were (because of) sloppiness.  I got an offensive foul, an out of bounds (turnover) and a couple slow passes. It was just horrible, all of us. It was unacceptable. Eight turnovers – that’s not usually me so I take responsibility.  I’ve got to get better at that.”

Video shot and edited by Kimani David.

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