Kings play spoiler, soundly beat surging Rockets


Kings play spoiler, soundly beat surging Rockets

HOUSTON (AP) Rick Adelman's former team hurt the playoff hopes of his current one.Marcus Thornton and Samuel Dalembert scored 21 points apiece, Dalembert and DeMarcus Cousins each grabbed 15 rebounds and the Sacramento Kings hurt Houston's playoff hopes with a 104-101 win over the Rockets on Tuesday night.Tyreke Evans scored 18 points and Cousins scored 15 for the Kings.Kevin Martin scored 30 for the Rockets, who blew an opportunity to gain ground on Memphis in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.Houston was three games behind the Grizzlies and New Orleans entering the game, and Memphis lost to the Los Angeles Clippers.The Rockets play in New Orleans on Wednesday night, a virtual must-win to keep their postseason chances flickering.Kyle Lowry had 15 points and nine assists and Luis Scola had 18 points for the Rockets, who had a seven-game home winning streak snapped.Houston slipped to 15-6 since the All-Star break, and lost for just the third time in 11 games."From the tipoff, we just seemed to not have our energy that we had for the last couple of months," Martin said. "It's a bad time of year to not play like you've been playing for the last couple of months. For whatever reason, we just looked really tired in a lot of spurts."The Kings, meanwhile, have hit their stride too late in the season for it to matter. Long out of the postseason mix, Sacramento has won six of its past eight games."We are playing hard and together as a team," Sacramento coach Paul Westphal said. "We finally have our team together, and we like what we see. I give our players credit for their continued improvement. The players are making a statement that they care about things."The Kings shot well and never trailed in the second half.Thornton's fadeaway jumper with 1:26 remaining put Sacramento up 96-90, and Martin lost the ball on the Rockets' next possession, their 14th turnover.The Kings twice fouled Lowry on 3-point tries in the final minute, and Houston's point guard went 5 of 6 from the free-throw line to give Houston a chance at the end.But Dalembert made a pair of free throws with 11 seconds to go, grabbed a defensive rebound and made another one with five seconds left to put it out of reach."We lost our poise a lot during the stretch, but we didn't dwell on it," Westphal said. "Then, we still found a way to win the game."Sacramento shot 53 percent (44 of 83) and snapped a four-game losing streak to Houston. The Kings scored 58 points in the paint and outrebounded the Rockets 46-43.Sacramento led 52-46 after making 23 of 43 shots in the first half and outscoring Houston 34-20 in the paint. Cousins already had his 24th double-double of the season at the break, with 13 points and 12 rebounds.Dalembert scored three baskets inside early in the third quarter to move the Kings out to a nine-point lead. Lowry made his first 3-pointer and Scola scored from the top of the key to pull Houston back within four, and Scola finished a fast break with a layup to cut the deficit to 64-62.Thornton scored three baskets in a 40-second span as Sacramento pushed the lead to 10. The Rockets rallied again before the end of the quarter, with Lowry capping a 10-2 spurt with a running jump shot.Houston committed four turnovers in the first five minutes of the fourth and the Kings rebuilt a 10-point lead. The Rockets also missed seven of their first nine shots in the final quarter."The last month, we've been playing extremely hard," Lowry said. "When the shots didn't fall, I think the frustration got to us a little bit."Beno Udrih hit a jumper, then drove for a layup to give Sacramento its biggest lead at 92-80 with six minutes left.Courtney Lee and Lowry finished a 10-2 Houston run with 3-pointers, cutting the gap to 94-90 at the 2-minute mark. The Rockets had a chance to get closer, but Scola was called for an offensive foul trailing a fast break.Notes: Cousins has nine double-doubles in his past 19 games. ... The Kings won for only the second time in their past nine trips to Houston. ... Thornton has scored 20 points or more in 10 of his past 14 games. ... Martin has reached 30 points in five of his past 12 games. ... Houston went 14 for 21 from the free-throw line, after missing a total of 13 free throws over the previous five games.

Instant Replay: Kings shock Grizzlies late for second straight win

Instant Replay: Kings shock Grizzlies late for second straight win


SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings aren’t done fighting yet. In front of their home crowd, they pulled off their second consecutive shocker, this time dispatching the Memphis Grizzlies in dramatic fashion by the final of 91-90.

Darren Collison battled Mike Conley Jr. all night long at the point guard position. After scoring 19 against the Clippers on Sunday, Collison hit the Grizzlies for 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting and added a team-high seven assists. His free throw with 5.7 seconds remaining proved to be the game winner.

Rookie Buddy Hield continued his hot shooting, scoring 14 points on 5-for-12 shooting. The 23-year-old shooting guard is quickly establishing himself as a big time scoring option for the Kings moving forward.

Willie Cauley-Stein chipped in 12 points, nine rebounds and three assists. 7-footer Kosta Koufos found success against his former team, finishing with 11 points, five rebounds and three blocks before fouling out late.

Ty Lawson led the second unit with 10 points, while Anthony Tolliver went 4-of-7 from the field for nine points.

Conley Jr. received the biggest contract in NBA history during the offseason and he showed why Monday against the Kings. The veteran point guard dropped in 22 points and dished out nine assists as the Grizzlies fell to 40-34 on the season.

35-year-old big man Zach Randolph went to work in the post. The 16-year NBA vet dropped in 17 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, schooling the Kings frontline with the left-handed flip early in the game.

Brandan Wright came off the bench to score 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting and Troy Daniels added 10 points.  

Collison is heating up. Over his last two games, the veteran guard has scored 42 points on 16-for-24 shooting and kept his team in the ballgame.

Despite leading by eight on multiple occasions in the fourth quarter, Sacramento couldn’t close the door on the Grizzlies. Collison drew a foul with 5.7 remaining and his team trailing by one. He knocked down both freebies and Randolph missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer to help the Kings improve to 29-45 on the season.   

Arron Afflalo missed the game due to a personal matter and Tyreke Evans sat for scheduled rest. Rookie Malachi Richardson is officially out for the season with a right hamstring thickness tear. Rudy Gay is out for the year with a torn left Achilles.

The Kings are back at it Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center when the Utah Jazz roll through Sacramento. Following the matchup with Utah, the Kings travel to New Orleans to face former King DeMarcus Cousins on Friday evening.


Spurs destroy Cavs by 29, back within two of Warriors

Spurs destroy Cavs by 29, back within two of Warriors


SAN ANTONIO -- Kawhi Leonard scored 25 points and the San Antonio Spurs dismantled the ailing Cleveland Cavaliers 103-74 on Monday night in a showdown that turned into a major letdown for the defending NBA champions.

LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol added 14 points apiece for the Spurs, who won their fifth straight.

Cleveland (47-26) dropped its second in a row, set a season low for points and fell a half-game behind Boston (48-26) for the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Cavaliers star LeBron James was injured late in the third quarter after taking an elbow to the base of his neck. He remained on the bench for a while receiving medical attention, then headed toward the locker room and didn't return to the game.

His status was not immediately known.

Cleveland has been out of sync recently, losing three of five, and those struggles only got worse against San Antonio. The Spurs led by as many as 33 points to the delight of the sold-out crowd.

San Antonio (57-16) is two games behind Golden State (59-14) for the league's best record entering a home showdown with the Warriors on Wednesday.

Cleveland opted to play its stars rather than sit them for rest, but the trio of James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love sat out the fourth quarter of its second rout in the past two weeks.

James exited with 25 seconds remaining in the third after taking an elbow to his neck from David Lee on a rebound. James continually rubbed the area before collapsing after he crossed midcourt and remained on the floor for about a minute before walking unassisted to the bench. He left for the locker room early in the fourth quarter during a timeout.

James finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in 29 minutes.

The Spurs held the Cavaliers scoreless for three minutes after San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich was issued a technical foul during a timeout with 6:38 remaining in the first half.

Leonard hit a right-handed runner as the second quarter closed to give the Spurs a 64-40 lead.

Cavaliers: Cleveland completed its schedule against the West, finishing 16-14. In addition to losing to the Spurs by 29 points, the Cavaliers lost by 35 to Golden State and 30 to the Los Angeles Clippers. . Cleveland F Kyle Korver missed his third straight game with a sore left foot, and the team plans to sit him for several games to see if rest and treatment helps. Korver will sit out Thursday in Chicago and Friday at home against Philadelphia before being re-evaluated, a team spokesman said. The shooting specialist missed seven games earlier this month with an inflamed tendon in his foot. . G Iman Shumpert missed his second consecutive game with a sore right knee. . James needs 24 points to pass Shaquille O'Neal for seventh overall in career scoring. O'Neal has 28,596 career points. . The Cavaliers averaged 116.3 points in their previous four games.

Spurs: San Antonio is holding its opponents to an average of less than 100 points for the 22nd straight season. . Danny Green tied his season high with four blocked shots. . Leonard has scored in double figures in 100 straight games.

Cavaliers: At the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night.

Spurs: Host the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night.