SACRAMENTO, Calif. – It was a trench war, and the Sacramento Kings succumbed to their wounds.
The Kings fell to the visiting Atlanta Hawks 105-100 on November 5 in a game that was physical from the get-go. DeMarcus Cousins was allegedly cheap-shotted by rookie Dennis Schroeder, and the Hawks attacked the paint with abandon, steered by their starting frontline.
Horford and Millsap combined shot 58.8 percent from the floor for a total of 52 points, 21 rebounds, seven steals, three blocks and four turnovers. The pair used putbacks, hookshots, layups and short jumpers to do their damage, and in good fun Millsap even drained two threes and Horford hit his own from long distance.
Meanwhile, the duo stifled Sacramento’s bigs, who were led by Cousins with 11 points and six rebounds. The Kings star had no room to operate on offense, and his frustrations with Schroeder and Horford may have distracted the fourth-year center.
The Kings started off hot with a 37-25 lead early in the second quarter, but steady play by Jeff Teague (18 points, 10 assists) helped the Hawks take a 54-45 score at halftime. Atlanta was ahead by 19 to start the fourth quarter, but an offensive barrage by Isaiah Thomas and Ben McLemore, who finished with 26 and 15 points off the bench respectively, trimmed the deficit to one with 2:46 to go before giving out in the end.
While the comeback was praiseworthy, coach Malone recognized that his team should have never been in a hole to begin. Consistent focus and effort was also lacking November 3 at Golden State, a 98-87 loss. It will be demanded going forward, starting with a back-to-back facing the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday and Saturday.
“Good teams play 48 minutes,” noted Malone. “Right now we’re a team that plays maybe 24, 28 minutes. That’s why we’re 1-3 right now, and we have a lot of work to do.”
Photo Credit: Hector Amezcua / Sacbee.com