Bench leads Kings to 91-82 win over Magic

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Bench leads Kings to 91-82 win over Magic

BOX SCORE

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) DeMarcus Cousins had 17 points and 14 rebounds, and reserve guard Isaiah Thomas also scored 17 to help the Sacramento Kings beat the Orlando Magic 91-82 on Friday night.

After squandering an 11-point lead in the third quarter, the Kings regrouped in the fourth behind the strong play of their backups. Led by Thomas, who scored 11 points in the period, reserves played for much of the final quarter and produced a 15-2 run that propelled Sacramento to consecutive wins for the second time this season.

Jimmer Fredette had nine of his 15 points in the fourth quarter for the Kings, who outscored the Magic 29-18. Jason Thompson added 12 points and Aaron Brooks 11. The Kings are 5-0 at home when leading at halftime.

Glen Davis had 20 points and 11 rebounds for Orlando, but fouled out in the final 36 seconds.

Arron Afflalo had 18 points and Jameer Nelson scored 17 for the Magic, who have lost two straight and five of seven. Andrew Nicholson added 14 points.

The Kings were without starting guard Tyreke Evans, who didn't play for the third time in four games with a sore right knee. Evans was a critical factor in the Kings' victory Wednesday over Toronto, making two 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter and scoring 23 points.

A fast-break layup by Afflalo cut the Sacramento lead to 81-78 with just under 3 minutes left. The Kings' final 10 points were free throws, including a pair by Cousins that stretched their cushion to 87-78 with 28 seconds remaining.

The Kings used a 15-2 run to take a nine-point lead, but Orlando responded on Davis' three-point play and a 3-pointer from Nelson to trim it to 79-76 with 3:40 left.

After losing the lead in the third quarter, the Kings regained it in the fourth behind the play of five reserves. Fredette connected on a corner 3 off a fast break for a 69-68 advantage at the 8:28 mark. A jumper by Fredette a short time later capped seven unanswered points for the Kings, who took a 73-68 lead.

Nelson had 10 points and Afflalo scored nine in the third period when the Magic shook off a poor first half and outscored the Kings 30-16. Nelson made all four third-quarter shots, including a pair of 3s.

Trailing 54-43 in the third, the Magic finally got going offensively, scoring 16 straight points. Afflalo scored the final five, hitting two free throws and a 3 that put Orlando in front 59-54 with 4:28 left in the quarter.

The Kings benefited in the first half from the inside play of Thompson and Cousins. Thompson had 10 points and six rebounds, while Cousins had nine points and eight rebounds in leading the Kings to a 46-34 halftime lead. Brooks also scored nine points for Sacramento.

Davis scored 10 first-half points for the Magic, who shot 35 percent. They were outrebounded 27-18 and committed nine turnovers.

NOTES: Francisco Garcia made his first start of the season in place of Evans. Garcia had played in only seven of the Kings' previous 17 games this season. ... Orlando missed all five of its 3-point attempts in the first half. ... Sacramento shot 32 percent in the third quarter and was outrebounded 13-7. ... Orlando concludes its five-game West Coast trip Sunday in Portland, while the Kings play five of the next six on the road, starting Saturday in Portland.

Kings beat Grizzlies for Joerger: 'He really wanted that one'

Kings beat Grizzlies for Joerger: 'He really wanted that one'

SACRAMENTO -- Sometimes a game means a little bit more than just one of 82. For Dave Joerger, beating his former team is gratifying, whether he wants to admit it or not, especially when that team is in the middle of major playoff push.

“I know he really wanted that one, you could tell before and during the game,” veteran point guard Darren Collison said of his head coach after the Kings’ 91-90 over the Memphis Grizzlies. “Anytime you go against your former team it definitely means a lot.”

Everyone noticed the change in Joerger. Be it in film prep or in walk-through, something was different. Despite the playoff chase being over, Joerger turned to his veterans and they delivered in the clutch.

“Anytime you play against your former team, whether it be a coach or a player, you have a little more energy, you have a little more incentive to win,” Anthony Tolliver said.

Ten Kings players saw court time, but both Skal Labissiere and Langston Galloway played sparingly as Joerger tightened his rotation. All five starters played 30 minutes or more, with Collison seeing a team-high 37 minutes.

The veteran point guard finished with a game-high 23 points and seven assists in the win. His free throws with 5.7 seconds remaining pushed the Kings into the lead and Memphis’ last ditch effort to win the game at the buzzer rimmed out.

“The more games we win, it’s going to be better for these young guys,” Collison said. “It’s very hard to win in this league and winning is contagious.”

This was the second straight victory for Sacramento after dropping four in a row. The team is now 5-12 since the All-Star break and they are 4-4 over their last eight games.

“We’re competing and that’s the biggest thing - we’re not laying down,” Willie Cauley-Stein said. “Even though we’re not in the playoff race, we’re playing like we’re in the playoff race and that’s bigtime.”

Cauley-Stein continued his strong play since the break. The second-year big posted 12 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out three assists in 33 minutes. He played solid defense on veteran Zach Randolph down the stretch.

It was a team effort. Four players scored in double-figures, including rookie Buddy Hield, who scored 14 points and grabbed four rebounds. Big man Kosta Koufos added 11 points, five rebounds and three blocks, while Ty Lawson finished with 10 points in 19 minutes of action.

Following the game, Joerger alluded to this being the final time we will see many of the veterans playing major minutes together. With just eight games remaining in the season, it’s time to give the young core the reigns and let them show what they can do.

“This was maybe our last stand for the year as far as you’re probably not going to see all those veterans play together for the rest of the season,” said Joerger. “It’s at home, it’s a great opportunity. The guys went out there and laid it all on the line.”

The Kings return to their home court on Wednesday when the Utah Jazz roll through Golden 1 Center. Of their remaining eight games on the schedule, Sacramento has four home contests and four on the road. They’ll finish the 2016-17 season on April 12 in Los Angeles against the Clippers.

Instant Replay: Kings shock Grizzlies late for second straight win

Instant Replay: Kings shock Grizzlies late for second straight win

BOX SCORE

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.  

STANDOUT PERFORMER:
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.

TURNING POINT:
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.   

INJURY UPDATE:
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.

WHAT'S NEXT:
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.