Recently, the narrative for the Sacramento Kings has been the same. Not only learning how to co-exist as a team but also win without their All-Star center, DeMarcus Cousins. A process that has left both fans and critics mind numbingly frustrated on a nightly basis.
Sacramento is now facing, for the first time, a pressure to compete and win at the top level. Immediately. The team itself has run out of excuses and time and must create a winning atmosphere.
It hasn’t been easy for the Kings.
Flaws, inefficiencies, and disparities within the Sacramento roster have been completely exposed early, with a gruesome opening schedule. Provided little to no room to make any mistakes, the Kings have been taken advantage on a nightly basis. At worst, displaying no signs of energy or resilience.
Only the worst could have been anticipated as the reigning world champion Golden State Warriors were in town tonight. Looking to remain undefeated in a “free win,” the Dubs started the game sluggish and lackadaisical.
At the end of the end of the first quarter, the Warriors just shot 3o percent from the field and an abysmal 10 percent from behind the three-point line. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson had combined for just two points and the Warriors were still able to start off with a 20-14 lead.
Turnovers once again impacted the Kings opportunities to not only cut down the deficit but also establish and build a lead. The Kings turned the ball over 15 times in the first half which nearly doubled their nine turnovers. Rudy Gay was leading all scorers with 11 and the Kings somehow found a way to shoot just 75 percent from the free-throw line.
It was the second half that created opportunity and experience for the young Kings team. “I thought the second half we turned them over. The second half, we got organized,” provided George Karl after the game.
Specifically, Rajon Rondo. The nine-year guard fearlessly lead the Kings comeback pursuit with a 14 point, 15 assists, and 12 rebounds notching his first triple-double on the season. Alongside him were Marco Belinelli and Rudy Gay each scoring 22.
For two brief quarters, the Sacramento Kings finally looked like a functioning basketball team.
Finding the right pass and limiting turnovers were the keys to their success, as Sacramento took a lead with six minutes left to play. Unable to stop the backcourt of the Warriors, the guards of Golden State were stole the game with a 15 of the team’s final 31 points.
Though this was a loss, there were flashes of a talented and competitive Sacramento team. Willie Cauley-Stein had another great effort off of the bench with an immediate defensive impact and was one of only three players to finish with a positive scoring margin in just 19 minutes of work. Ben McLemore continued to struggle offensively (2 points, 4 turnovers) but shined on the defensive end of the court.
The Kings hope to have DeMarcus Cousins back this Monday as they take on the San Antonio Spurs. An MRI revealed tonight that Darren Collison will miss Monday with a strained hip flexor and will be day-to-day after that. Rudy Gay is getting his conditioning and legs back underneath him as he and his wife had their second child just two weeks ago. The Kings have a lot of returning pieces to the puzzle and have been able to slowly formulate a foundation to build off of.
The Kings look to improve after San Antonio with an eight-game Eastern Conference road trip
10:00 PM ET, November 7, 2015
Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, CA
GS: A. Iguodala 14 Pts, 6 Reb, 4 Ast, 4 Stl
Sac: R. Rondo 14 Pts, 12 Reb, 15 Ast, 4 Stl