The first half of today’s match-up between the Sacramento Kings and Milwaukee Bucks could be characterized a couple different ways. A walloping, a pounding, a beatdown – just to name a few.
The second half, however, was another story. Fortunately for the Kings, they were able to avert disaster and still come away with a blowout victory, 124-107, against the Bucks at home on Sunday.
“I’m very happy that we won, obviously,” Kings head coach Michael Malone said after the victory. “But as well as we played in that first half, we were equally as bad in the second half.”
The Kings set the tone early in the matinee match-up, never letting the Bucks see the light of day in the first half. In the opening quarter, Sacramento scored 39 points on 66.7-percent shooting while limiting the Bucks to just 16 points on 23.8-percent from the field.
The Kings, however, took their foot off the gas pedal after intermission. They allowed the Bucks to find their offense in the second half, where Milwaukee scored 63 points while shooting better than 60 percent from the field.
“The first half was one of the best halves of the year,” Malone said. “But the second half was one of the worst of the year. I’m happy with the win and some of the things that we did, but we just have to be better.”
Isaiah Thomas found the right balance between playmaker and scorer in victory. Thomas created for his teammates in the first half, recording six of his eight assists before halftime. He turned into a scorer in the second half, tallying 14 of his 30 points in the third quarter.
DeMarcus Cousins ate the Bucks’ depleted frontline alive. The Kings starting center toyed with Milwaukee, scoring 21 of his 32 points in the first half. Cousins also pulled down 12 rebounds and dished out four assists in the victory.
Rudy Gay was the cherry on top of the Kings’ Sunday victory. The veteran small forward finished with 24 points on an efficient 9-of-16 shooting from the field. The Kings are now 8-3 when Gay, Cousins and Thomas each score 20 or more points.
“We came out, I’d say we hit them in the mouth early and kind of put the game away,” Cousins said of today’s win over the Bucks. “But even with that being said, that second half, it was terrible.”
The Kings move to 25-45 overall and 15-20 at home. They host the New York Knicks on Wednesday in the final contest of their current four-game home-stand.
Notes and Analysis
- DeMarcus Cousins completely dominated the Milwaukee Bucks from both the outside and inside tonight, finishing with 32 points on 14-of-19 shooting. He added 12 rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block in 29 minutes of action.
- Rudy Gay couldn’t be stopped either. The smooth shooting wing finished with 24 points on 9-of-16 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds in the blowout win.
- Isaiah Thomas capped things off for the Kings triumvirate, scoring 22 of his 30 points in the second half while handing out eight assists. Thomas turned the ball over just one time and held Brandon Knight to six points on 2-for-12 shooting.
- Ben McLemore tweaked his left shoulder, but not before scoring 15 points. The rookie guard shot 6-of-15 from the field and 3-for-8 from 3-point land in 34 minutes. McLemore was able to re-enter the contest late, but he had his shoulder wrapped in ice following the contest.
- Reggie Evans did the dirty work today, scoring a meager six points, but grabbing 10 rebounds. He took a hard shot to the chin early in this one, but stuck around and provided solid defense in his 27 minutes of play.
- The Kings led by as many as 40 points in this game. But to the chagrin of coach Malone, they let off the throttle in the fourth quarter and he had to turn back to Gay and Thomas to finish this game off. Milwaukee outscored the Kings 37-20 in the final frame, shooting a robust 75 percent from the field, while holding Sacramento to 33.3-percent shooting.
- Stat of the Night: Cousins, Gay and Thomas combined to score 86 of the Kings 124 points. The Kings are now 19-21 on the season with all three players in the lineup and this is the 11th time this year that all three have scored 20 or more points in a game.
Quote of the Night
Rudy Gay on O.J. Mayo:
He’s had a bad season, but he’s still a good player. He’s a little overweight, hasn’t played a lot this season, but he’s still O.J. Mayo in there and I’ve seen him do things like that all the time. So I wasn’t surprised at all. He can hit tough shots. He’s a ball player. He can do it. For whatever reason of how he turned out or whatever, gained a little weight, whatever, he’s still a good ball player.
Follow-up question: was Gay surprised to see a bigger Mayo?
Was I surprised to see it? Little bit. I haven’t seen him, but we talked a little bit. He said he was hurt, and I guess when you’re hurt in Wisconsin, you eat.
WATCH: Rudy Gay on O.J. Mayo
Video shot and edited by Kimani David. Updated at 9:56 am.