Cousins, Kings rally to down Hornets 100-92

664144.jpg

Cousins, Kings rally to down Hornets 100-92

BOX SCORE
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- DeMarcus Cousins had 28 points and 19 rebounds, and the Sacramento Kings erased an 18-point deficit en route to a 100-92 victory over the slumping New Orleans Hornets on Monday night.Tyreke Evans scored 11 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, when Sacramento took its first lead on Marcus Thornton's free throw with 6:24 left. Isaiah Thomas scored 17, including a 31-footer with 2:15 to go that gave the Kings a 94-88 lead. Thornton added 12 points.Greivis Vasquez tied a season high with 20 points and Marco Belinelli scored 18 points for New Orleans, which has lost six straight. Emeka Okafor scored a season-high 19 points and Chris Kaman added 10 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks in his return from a weeklong absence while the Hornets tried to trade him.Cousins scored 12 of his points in the third quarter as the Kings trimmed its deficit from 13 at the half down to five at 72-67.Belinelli responded with a jumper and Vasquez went baseline-to-baseline at the horn to give the Hornets a 78-69 lead heading into the final period, but it was not nearly enough.Cousins' driving reverse layup as he was fouled by Kaman ignited a 12-2 run to open the fourth quarter. Evans followed Cousins three-point play with nine straight points of his own - all on drives to the hoop, once as he was fouled.New Orleans was able to tie it at 86 on Trevor Ariza's fast-break layup, but Thornton, who had struggled most of the game and finished 3 of 12 shooting, came back with a 3 to give Sacramento the lead for good.Sacramento finished shooting 47 percent (37 of 78), while New Orleans shot 42 percent (34 of 81) after making only 26 percent (6 of 23) during the fourth quarter.The Hornets hit 11 of 22 shots in the first quarter and had an early 14-point lead when Belinelli hit his second 3 on a kickout from Kaman to make it 27-13. The play gave Belinelli 10 points as he joined Okafor (11 points) as a double-digit scorer in the opening period.The Kings cut their deficit to six points with a 12-4 run capped by Jimmer Fredette's 3, but the Hornets pulled away again.Reserve guard Xavier Henry, playing in only his fifth game this season, doubled his previous season high in scoring with eight straight points, including a floater in the lane as he was fouled and a fast-break layup that he initiated with a steal. Vasquez finished off an 11-0 run with a turnaround from the baseline as he was fouled, making it 43-27.New Orleans' lead got as large as 52-34 before the Kings trimmed it down to 52-39 on Cousins' layup that narrowly beat the halftime horn.Notes: Cousins, who now has 16 double-doubles this season, was called for a technical foul for arguing with officials after they what whistled him for an offensive foul in the second quarter. ... Hornets G Jarrett Jack missed his third straight game with a sore left knee. New Orleans also was without F Jason Smith (concussion), reserve forward DaJuan Summers (right knee swelling), G Eric Gordon (right knee bruise) and F Carl Landry (left knee sprain). ... Hornets F Gustavo Ayon got his first-career start, making him the 12th different New Orleans player to start a game through only the first 25 games of the regular season. ... Evans has scored 20 or more in four of five games. ... Thornton has made at least one 3 in 16 of 17 games in which he'd played.

NBA Gameday: Kings host a hungry Grizzlies team vying for playoff positioning

NBA Gameday: Kings host a hungry Grizzlies team vying for playoff positioning

The Sacramento Kings return home after a tremendous come from behind win over the Los Angeles Clippers Sunday afternoon at the Staples Center. They’ll face a Memphis Grizzlies team that was handed a 12-point loss in Golden State on Sunday.

Willie Cauley-Stein hit the glass in the win over the Clippers, tying his career-high in rebounds with 14. His final board came on a putback lay-in with 1.8 seconds remaining, which proved to be the game winner. Since the All-Star break, the second-year big is posting 12.8 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 31.9 minutes per game.

Memphis is in a heated playoff race. They currently sit seventh in the Western Conference standings, but they trail the Oklahoma City Thunder by just a game and a half with nine games remaining.   

OPENING LINE

Grizzlies by 6.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Buddy Hield vs. Tony Allen -- Hield put on a show with his late game heroics on Sunday afternoon. The rookie knocked down a huge 3-pointer, stole the inbounds pass and hit a second triple to help Sacramento erase an 18-point deficit in the final five minutes of the Kings’ win over the Clippers. He’ll face a good old fashion brawler in the Grizzlies Tony Allen on Monday night. Despite his advancing age, the 35-year-old Allen brings a defensive intensity that Hield must adjust to.

WHERE THEY STAND

Kings: 28-45, third place in Pacific

Grizzlies: 40-33, third place in Southwest

INJURY REPORT

Kings: PG Ty Lawson (knee) status unknown at this time, SF Tyreke Evans (knee) out, SF Rudy Gay (left Achilles tendon) out for the season, SF Malachi Richardson (hamstring) out for the season.

Grizzlies: C Marc Gasol (foot) questionable, F Chandler Parsons (knee) out.

SERIES HISTORY

The Grizzlies lead the season series 2-1, including victories in the last two meetings between these teams. The Kings hold a 44-38 advantage over the Grizzlies all-time.  

QUOTE

“I thought the whole game, the guys didn’t lose effort and they deserve it. Look at our last couple of weeks, even though the results haven’t been what we want it to be, so many guys that kept fighting, they were able to deserve this win.” -Darren Collison on the Kings’ big win over the Clippers

Fight finally pays off for Kings: 'Like we won Game 1 of the playoffs'

Fight finally pays off for Kings: 'Like we won Game 1 of the playoffs'

The Sacramento Kings are young and lack experience. They have plenty of holes in their roster and they even sat three veterans when they rolled into the Staples Center for a 12:30 start on Sunday afternoon. 

Sacramento also has talent and they play hard. The Clippers just learned the hard way what plenty of other teams already knew - there is no quit in this team.

From start to finish, the Kings played a gritty style of defense. They closed out strong on the Clippers shooters and did their best to quash the alley-oop that Chris Paul is so famous for. Los Angeles coasted through the game assuming that they won before the opening tip. And then Sacramento flipped the table late, shutting the Clippers down in the fourth while riding a 22-3 run to finish the game with a 98-97 come from behind victory.

“I thought the whole game, the guys didn’t lose effort and they deserve it,” veteran point guard Darren Collison told media following the game. “Look at our last couple of weeks, even though the results haven’t been what we want it to be, so many guys that kept fighting, they were able to deserve this win.”

Trailing by 18 at the 5:16 mark of the fourth quarter, this game looked like so many others that we have seen over the last month. Sacramento had fought to stay in the contest, but in the end, the experience of their opponent wins out. But the Kings kept fighting.

“They didn’t lose hope, not one bit,” Collison said. “They kept pulling and pulling and pulling. Eventually they got some big threes, some big shots.”

So many contributed to the victory, but at the 2:19 mark, rookie Buddy Hield knocked down a 3-pointer to draw the Kings within six. Moments later he stole the inbounds pass and dropped in a second straight three in a nine second stretch.

“You just have to stay confident, trust yourself and trust what got you here,” Buddy Hield said.

Through three quarters, Hield had shot just 1-of-7 from the field and looked overwhelmed by the Clippers star players. He came alive in the fourth, hitting 3-of-3 from behind the arc to finish the quarter with 11 points and five rebounds. Hield scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds on the night, showing fans that he is ready to compete in crunch time.

“We kept playing and made some plays and the little things matter,” coach Dave Joerger said. “I’m really proud, it’s like we won Game 1 of the playoffs.”

With their teammates rallying on the court, the Kings bench looked like a cheerleader troup. All they needed was some pom-poms and a lot of eye liner.

Regardless of the record, Sacramento has remained a close knit group. Youth and veterans have meshed well as they forge towards another lottery selection. 

“I’ve been on a lot of teams, some winning teams and the chemistry is not as good as this team,” Collison added. “People don’t understand how hard it is to be in our shoes and come to work every single day with the circumstances that we have dealt with. But to be together still and fun, it shows a lot about this team. I’m real happy to be a part of this team. We’re not winning games, but the way we’re going about our business - we’re losing games together, we’re winning games together.”

Collison went off against his former team, scoring 19 points and handing out four assists in 28 minutes of action. Anthony Tolliver hit 5-of-6 from 3-point range to finish with 15 points and rookie Georgios Papagiannis but up 12 points, four rebounds, four assists and blocked two shots.

With the win, the Kings snapped their four-game losing streak and improve to 28-45 on the season. They play again on Monday when the Memphis Grizzlies drop by the Golden 1 Center on the second night of a road-and-home back-to-back.