Kings blow fourth-quarter lead to Jazz at home

382510.jpg

Kings blow fourth-quarter lead to Jazz at home

Feb. 7, 2011BOXSCORE KINGS VIDEONBAPAGE NBASCOREBOARD

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) For the Utah Jazz, this was a fourth-quarter comeback to savor. Now, they hope it puts an end to their recent struggles.Al Jefferson scored 23 points and Deron Williams had 21 points and nine assists to help Utah rally for a 107-104 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Monday night.The Jazz outscored the Kings 27-17 in the fourth quarter in winning their second road game in a row after dropping the previous six. Utah had lost nine of 12 overall since beating woeful Cleveland on Jan. 14."We've struggled on the road, so this was a very important win for us," said Williams, who has been bothered by a lingering sore wrist. "It's not a pretty win, but at least it's a win. I'm hoping this gets us back on track."Paul Millsap fouled out late in the fourth quarter and finished with 18 points. Raja Bell had 17 points and Kyrylo Fesenko 11.DeMarcus Cousins had 25 points and 14 rebounds for Sacramento, which committed 20 turnovers. Tyreke Evans had 21 points, Jason Thompson scored 14 and Beno Udrih 11. The Kings have lost three straight.It appeared the Jazz might be headed for another loss when Sacramento led by six midway through the fourth quarter. Looking for a way to slow down Evans and Cousins, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan went to a zone defense and it worked well. The Kings scored only seven points in the final 6:36."We went to the zone to give them a little something different," Sloan said. "They are a big and long team with Cousins and (Samuel) Dalembert inside, and Evans can get to the basket really well. They still hurt us with some offensive rebounds, but the zone definitely slowed them down."Still, the Kings had their chances to win or send the game into overtime in the final 20 seconds. Omri Casspi took an awkward 3-pointer in the closing seconds that was an airball and the Jazz secured the rebound and the victory."We ran a play to set up for Tyreke, but I got kind of open," Casspi said. "I just lost the ball on the way up. The ball slipped out of my hands."After both Evans and Dalembert missed potential game-tying shots, Andrei Kirilenko converted a free throw for a 107-104 Jazz lead with 6.8 seconds left.Cousins converted a three-point play to pull the Kings to 105-104 with 1:04 left. But he quickly committed his sixth foul at the other end of the court, and Kirilenko made a free throw for a two-point Jazz lead.Although he played only 30 minutes and had foul problems early, Cousins still finished with his fourth 20-point effort in the past five games."Cousins is amazing. The sky is the limit for him," Jefferson said. "He's going to be something special."Kirilenko made a fast-break layup and fell hard to floor with 1:55 to go. The basket put the Jazz ahead 103-101.Trailing by seven after three quarters, the Jazz pulled even in the first 4 minutes of the fourth. A dunk by Jefferson followed by Earl Watson's fast-break layup tied the game at 81.It was Evans and Cousins scoring regularly in the third to give the Kings an 87-80 lead. Evans frequently penetrated inside and had 13 points in the quarter. Cousins converted a three-point play with 1.7 seconds left and had 11 points and eight rebounds."I thought the turnovers killed us," Kings coach Paul Westphal said. "They killed us in the first half and they killed us in the second. We built a lead in the second half by taking care of the ball, and then turnovers popped up again down the stretch. That's a good team and you can't just give them those possessions like we did."Evans made a twisting, driving, left-handed layup in traffic and added a free throw after being fouled. The three-point play put the Kings ahead 73-66 midway through the third quarter.Casspi scored nine points for the Kings, who led 56-55 after a first half with numerous lead changes. Jefferson scored 14 points for the Jazz and Williams had 11 points and six assists.Notes: Sloan has signed a one-year contact extension for the 2011-12 season, which will be his 24th as Utah's coach. ... Donte Greene had a four-point play in the second quarter, breaking a 43-all tie and igniting an 8-0 run for the Kings. ... Kirilenko was back in the Jazz starting lineup after missing the previous three games with a sprained left ankle.

Kings' Cousins: 'Only goal this season' is to make playoffs

Kings' Cousins: 'Only goal this season' is to make playoffs

With their 109-104 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Monday night, the Sacramento Kings sit 10 games under .500 at 17-27. In almost any other season, that would mean that they were dead in the water in the Western Conference playoff race. But this it the 2016-17 season where anything is possible at the bottom.

Following Sacramento’s win at the Palace at Auburn Hills, DeMarcus Cousins was asked about the playoff picture.

“It’s my only goal this season,” Cousins told reporters following the game. “My only goal.” 

When pushed on the subject, he gave a more complete answer.

“Oh man, it’s eating me alive - every loss or every time another team wins that’s battling for the eighth spot, it’s eating me alive,” Cousins added. “Our only goal is to be in the playoffs this season.”

The Kings snapped a five-game losing streak with the win over the Pistons and they came into the evening just 2-10 over their previous 12 games. 

Once they get through their current eight game road trip, they spend the entire month of February in the Pacific time zone and play 11 over their next 13 games at Golden 1 Center.  

“The one thing I can give credit to this team about is us staying together and being a positive locker room through the ups and downs,” Cousins said. “I’m still confident and I still believe we’re going to make that push for the playoffs.”

Despite the rough patch, the Kings remain just a game and a half out of the eighth spot in the Western Conference standings. No one is running away with that last playoff spot, at least not yet.

 

Lawson, bench unit spark Kings' much-needed win over Pistons

Lawson, bench unit spark Kings' much-needed win over Pistons

Everyone must contribute. With Rudy Gay gone for the season, Sacramento needs a team effort each night out if they are going to have a chance of turning things around. Balancing the roster on the fly is never easy, but it’s the hand that the Kings were dealt when their second leading scorer tore his Achilles last week.

Needing a win in the worst way, the Kings walked into the Palace at Auburn Hills and came away with a huge 109-104 victory. Demarcus Cousins put up numbers, but it was the supporting cast that found a way to rise to the occasion and snap the team’s five-game losing streak.

“We’re going to need everybody on this team,” Cousins told reporters following the game. “At some point, everyone on the bench is going to win a game for us. Tonight, it was Ty (Lawson), it was Willie (Cauley-Stein) and it was Malachi (Richardson).”

Lawson was a magician with the ball. He entered the game with the Kings down just one with 3:36 remaining in the first quarter, but the Pistons caught fire around that time and pushed the lead to 11 with 20 seconds remaining in the quarter.

It looked like Sacramento might fall behind big once again, but then Lawson and the bench unit took over.

“Ty Lawson, Malachi Richardson and Willie Cauley-Stein had a great energy when we were down 11 in the first half,” Joerger told reporters. “Obviously, probably the best Willie’s played all year. Same for Malachi. He got some run, he got a little burn in the second half, felt pretty good.”

Powered by Lawson, the offense instantly opened up in the second quarter as the Kings tracked down the Pistons on their home floor. Sacramento outscored Detroit 37-24 in the frame to take a three point lead into the intermission. Lawson posted nine points and handed out four assists in the quarter.

“When our offense gets sticky, he’s able to create shots for guys by getting kickouts and getting in the lane,” Joerger said.

The 5-foot-11 point guard didn’t let up in the second half, finishing the night with 19 points and six assists in 23 minutes of action.  

“Chico just goes and plays, man, that’s Chico,” Cousins said of Lawson. “If there’s anyone with a green light to just go and play, it’s him. We love what he does with this team. He’s a spark off the bench for us. He gets us going when there’s a slump. We love the little guy.”

Lawson has become a catalyst off the bench for coach Jeorger. The 29-year-old speedster signed a one-year deal with the Kings late in the offseason and he’s quickly found his niche with the team.

“You play with Ty, you can’t help by want to run, because he will pitch it to you and that’s the best motivation - everybody wants to score,” said Joerger.

Cousins and Lawson didn’t do it alone. Cauley-Stein had one of his games of the season, finishing the night with 12 points and five rebounds. Darren Collison added 12 points, Garrett Temple chipped in 11 points and veteran Matt Barnes added 10 points and eight rebounds.  

“It’s a big, bounce back win,” Cousins said. “We were kind of heartbroken about the last lost. We felt we did everything needed to pull a win and it just didn’t go that way for us. We kind of showed our character and showed we could overcome some type of adversity with the win tonight.”

The Kings are back at it on Wednesday in Cleveland when they hit game four of their season-long eight-game road trip. They’ll face LeBron James and the championship Cavs for the second time this month.  

“It’s huge, we had a little stretch where we lost like eight of nine games, something like that,” Lawson told CSN’s Kayte Christensen following the game. “Getting a win going into Cleveland, it makes us feel a little bit better. Now we’ve got to go in and get a tough one.”

A tough one indeed. Cleveland sits at 31-13 on the season, but they are coming off back-to-back losses against the Spurs and Pelicans.