When DeMarcus Cousins plays poorly offensively, the Sacramento Kings have very little room to work with. The team is notoriously bad when their best player is off, which makes this win in Indiana that much more impressive.
Cousins shot 6-for-24 from the field, but the Kings still managed a convincing victory.
The matchup with one of the NBA’s best defensive centers in Roy Hibbert was one which would feature mid-range jumpers from Cousins, which Sacramento has become fully confident in as a much improved and essential part of the All-Star’s game.
Cousins was unable to find rhythm for much of the game, struggling from outside and failing to find room to work with in the paint.
The offensive slack was taken up by Darren Collison and Rudy Gay, who combined for 54 of the Kings’ 99 points.
Both players started the game hot, giving the Pacers trouble from long and mid-range. Gay’s usual pull-up jumper worked throughout the entire matchup, regardless of help sent by Indiana as a means of slowing down the hot hand.
Collison, too, had his jumper falling. He went 3-for-6 from beyond the arc, and managed to run Sacramento’s offense to perfection with just one turnover.
For the Kings, offensive production came from more than individual performance. The team got to the free-throw line 29 times throughout the contest and made 26 of the attempts, a main contributor to the big first half lead.
Strong performances from Indiana’s bench players included those of C.J. Miles, George Hill, and Luis Scola, who gave their team a fighting chance into the fourth quarter.
Hill was disruptive defensively, giving Ramon Sessions little room to work with the ball on every inbound.
Scola passed to the perimeter effectively after receiving the ball out of pick-and-rolls, and found open shooters like Hill for shots from the perimeter.
Miles scored 17 points in the contest and gave the Pacers a spark offensively off the bench. He led the team in minutes at 29, contributing largely to the run which would put his team within reach.
The end of the fourth quarter seemed to have signs of a comeback for Indiana, but was quieted by a step-back, baseline jumper delivered by Gay. His offensive flow made up for the complete absence of Cousins’ efficiency, and gave the Kings a 99-94 win which finalizes the four-game road trip.
Gay had 31 points on 22 attempts from the field and was perfect on 11 attempts from the free-throw line. He added five rebounds, three assists, and a block.