Kings stumble in Portland 101-89

650784.jpg

Kings stumble in Portland 101-89

BOX SCORE

PORTLAND (AP) -- Jamal Crawford knew what had been holding him back: too much thinking and not enough shooting. His coach and teammates agreed.

Crawford scored a season-high 26 points and the Portland Trail Blazers returned home from a six-game road trip with a 101-89 win over the Sacramento Kings on Monday night.

"All these guys said, just play'," said Crawford, who joined the Blazers last month as a free agent. "(They said) you've got to be the person you were before you came here. You can't try to fit it in."

Gerald Wallace had 20 points and eight rebounds and LaMarcus Aldridge added 13 points and 16 rebounds for the Blazers, who were coming off a 2-4 trip. Portland improved to 7-1 at the Rose Garden, playing there for the first time since Jan. 11.

"It felt good being home with the fans - we got some home cooking in," said Craig Smith, who had 10 points and seven rebounds for Portland.

A 13-year veteran, the 6-foot-5 Crawford has been tentative and inconsistent at times since joining Portland.

He is shooting 34 percent for the season, well below his career average. While Crawford is most comfortable at shooting guard, the Blazers have played him much of the time at point guard where he has had problems with turnovers. But there had been signs he was finding his range. He had 24 points Jan. 11 against Orlando and 22 against Atlanta on Wednesday.

"Coming into the game I just felt good," he said. "It was a fresh start. I just cleared my head and said this is day one all over again."

DeMarcus Cousins had 18 points and 13 rebounds, his 12th double-double of the season, for the Kings. Jimmer Fredette scored 13 points and Francisco Garcia added 12. Sacramento dropped to 2-9 on the road.

The Blazers beat the Kings 101-79 on Dec. 27 and have taken 11 of the last 12 in the series.

The last time the two teams met, the Kings were coached by Paul Westphal. He was fired after seven games and replaced with assistant Keith Smart, who is 4-7 since taking over.

Sacramento was missing second-leading scorer Marcus Thornton with a thigh bruise. The Kings had won two in a row but fell 128-95 to the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday, despite Fredette's career-high 20 points.

Against the Blazers, Sacramento led early in the game but couldn't sustain it. Returning from missing a game with a hand injury, Wallace had 15 points and eight rebounds in the first half for the Blazers. Portland went on a 20-7 run at the end of the second quarter, briefly opening a 20-point lead and took a 53-38 advantage into the break.

"The second quarter got away from us toward the end," Smart said. "It only takes a couple moments in a game, or a quarter, for it to separate."

Portland went up 76-56 and the Kings didn't get any closer than 13 down until Isaiah Thomas and Fredette made 3-pointers in the last minute.

Notes: Portland was beginning its first back-to-back-to-back stretch of the season. The Blazers play Memphis Tuesday and Golden State Wednesday. ... Kings G John Salmons played after being hospitalized over the weekend in Memphis with food poisoning. He played 18 minutes and didn't score. ... Blazers C Marcus Camby played just 12 minutes. He sat much of the first half with three fouls and then left the game in the third quarter with a mild groin strain. He had just returned from missing three games with a sprained ankle.

Trading Cousins is the ultimate Kingstastic move

Trading Cousins is the ultimate Kingstastic move

There was a lot of complaining about the lack of defense in this year’s All-Star Game, as though last year’s All-Star Game didn’t happen.

But the Most Valuable Player, which was putatively Anthony Davis for scoring a record 52 points in front of his home crowd, was actually the man with the fewest minutes of all.

Yes, the man, the god, The DeMarcus Cousins. The Very Definition Of A Sacramento King, By Becoming An Ex-Sacramento King.

Cousins, now the second-best player on the New Orleans Pelicans, played only two minutes Sunday, the lowest total by any All-Star since Connie Hawkins in 1971, ostensibly because he told head coach Steve Kerr he was a little ouchy, but more likely because the Kings were frantically trying to trade him and didn’t want him hurting himself in a game with even no contact whatsoever.

Not during the All-Star Break, mind you. DURING THE ALL-STAR GAME ITSELF! Adam Silver must have been vomiting hedgehogs into a bucket at the very thought.

As it turns out, the Kings, who have sworn up and down that they would never consider trading Cousins, did that very thing, closing a deal to send Cousins and forward Omri Casspi to the New Orleans Pelicans for a first and second-round pick in the upcoming draft, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway (who is likely to be waived in true Kings fashion) and 2016 first-rounder Buddy Hield.

You remember Buddy Hield. He’s the guy who clocked Cousins in the joy division going around a Cousins pick during the last Pelicans-Kings game, and got tossed for doing so.

In other words, the Kings prefer the guy who punched their best player in the goolies to their best player. This is so Kingsy.

But on the back end, Cousins’ agent, Jarinn Akana, said Cousins is disinclined to sign a long-term contract with his next team, making him a rental who could some day return to Sacramento in a Groundhog's Day remake that would cause the Oroville Dam to get up and walk off the job.

This too is so Kingsy.

This is the greatness of the Kings. They blew up the All-Star weekend during the game itself. They blew it up trying to get rid of their best player when they are within fighting distance of their first playoff spot in 11 years. They blew it up after saying they weren’t considering trading the dynamite at all.

Kingsy, Kingsy, Kingsy. It’s Kingstastic!

And the best part of it all is that the trade leaves everyone deflated and confused and ultimately angry, while the Kings undervalued their only marketable player to invest in a future they have mocked for decades.

You know what we;’re talking about. Gimme a K! Gimme an I! Gimme an N-G-S, throw an extraneous Y on the end of it what does it spell?

Yeah. Right.

It’s remarkable thing, being a King. While we have all amused ourselves with the machinations of the thick-as-two-short-planks New York Knicks and Carmelo Anthony, the Kings have been Kinging this way for most of the last 35 years.

And now, they have decided to feed their obsession with the Golden State Warriors by running even further away from them, by tossing their only bargaining chip for a future player or players that they typically ruin, and Buddy Hield, who just found out that even at these prices life can still be cruel.

Give them their due, though. The Kings could win the NBA title and hock the trophy. They could be invited to the White House when the President is off playing golf. They could increase their Forbes valuation to $5 billion and declare bankruptcy.

Because they are the Kings, and that sentence has rarely meant more than it does now.

Not because they traded Cousins. Trades happen all the time. Wilt Chamberlain got traded twice.

But the Kings handled this with all the skill of a pickpocket with feet where his hands should be. They lied unconvincingly. They talked hard business and ended up with a nebulous deal that guarantees nothing except more speculation come summer. And they have nothing else to trade between now and . . . well, whenever they stopped being so damned Kingsy.

For New Orleans, it is a roll of the dice, an attempt to make the playoffs with a two-headed monster in Cousins and Davis. It may be too much to giver, but without knowing how the Kings will screw up those picks, it remains speculative at best.

Indeed, this is subtraction by subtraction, the standard Kings deal. And whatever the Kings have gained in this trade (hey, you never know), we remain safe in saying that they did it in such a Kingsy way that they may never top this.

Until the next time they do anything at all. Never doubt the power of Kingsiness.

Source: Kings trade Cousins to New Orleans Pelicans

Source: Kings trade Cousins to New Orleans Pelicans

50/50 turned into 100 percent in the blink of an eye. CSN California has confirmed that pending league approval, the Sacramento Kings have dealt three-time All-Star DeMarcus Cousins, as well as forward Omri Casspi to the New Orleans Pelicans for Tyreke Evans, Buddy Hield, Langston Galloway and a protected (1-3) 2017 first round pick and 2017 second round pick.

Vlade Divac chose the path of least resistance. Cousins, a larger than life personality, was not only ready to sign a $219 million extension in early July, but he was willing to stay in Sacramento for the long haul.

Be it financial constraints from owner Vivek Ranadivé or a complete break with reality, the second-year GM decided to break up the Kings’ core and start fresh with a below market value deal with the Pelicans.

Sacramento attempted to move up in the 2016 draft to take Hield, but the 23-year-rookie went with the sixth overall pick. He is averaging just 8.6 points per game on 39.2 percent shooting for New Orleans. He was tossed from his only game in Sacramento this season after grabbing Cousins below the waist during the team’s last homestand.

Kings fans know Evans very well from his four seasons in Sacramento. Who can forget the 20-5-5 season that led to Evans’ 2010 Rookie of the Year Trophy? But the talented wing has played in a combined 51 games over the last two season for New Orleans, slowed by a myriad of lower leg issues.

Evans is averaging just 9.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.3 rebounds in 18.2 minutes per game for the Pelicans. At 27, he might have quality years ahead, but his history of injuries make him a giant question mark and his status as an unrestricted free agent might tell a broader story.

Galloway is a throw in on the deal. The three-year NBA veteran has struggled to find a niche with the Pelicans after two seasons with the Knicks, averaging 8.6 points in 20.4 minutes a night.

The real value in this deal lies in the potential first and second round picks that Sacramento received in the deal.

According to published reports, the first round pick is top three protected, although the Pelicans are likely to improve from their current 23-34 record. New Orleans currently sits tied for the eighth spot in the 2017 NBA Draft order if the season ended today.

Cousins was leading the Kings in almost every offensive category, including points (27.8), rebounds (10.7) and assists (4.9). His loss will likely prove catastrophic for the Kings’ playoff chances this season, despite trailing the Denver Nuggets by just 1.5 games in the standings with 25 games remaining.

Casspi has struggled throughout the season with injury and illness. He will get a fresh start in New Orleans after playing just 22 games for the Kings this year.

In order to make the proposed deal, the Kings will have to waive a player to make room for Hield, Evans and Galloway.

---

UPDATE: Was this the moment DeMarcus Cousins was told of the trade?

And this tweet from Cousins' camp has them in limbo: