SACRAMENTO – The Sacramento Kings formed a tolerance to tragedy, but pain remains the same.
The Kings (15-27) were on course to stun the visiting Indiana Pacers (34-8) with a 10-point lead at halftime and a 7-point gap in the fourth when the Pacers starting five dug its heels. Paul George completed a 4-point play at 0:15 to force overtime, where Sacramento and its thin depth couldn’t spar any longer.
“Our guys came out and played their hearts out, and put ourselves in position to win the game…a game we should’ve won,” head coach Michael Malone stated after the match. “So I couldn’t be more proud of everybody who played tonight, and it shows you a lot about this team.”
DeMarcus Cousins (ankle) and Rudy Gay (Achilles) sat out with injuries, so Aaron Gray and Derrick Williams made intros and logged 36 and 34 minutes respectively. The Kings were carried on offense by Thomas (38 points) and Marcus Thornton (42 points), who both tied career-highs in scoring. Thornton more importantly broke a streak of nine games without reaching double-digits.
“We had 43 points (per game) sitting on the sidelines between Rudy and Cousins. Somebody had to step up, and I took it upon myself to be that guy,” Thornton remarked.
Unfortunately for the Kings, no one elevated their defense as every Pacers starter scored at least 10 points. George led the way with 36 while Lance Stephenson dropped 24 and David West 22. Sacramento failed to pressure the rock as Indiana recorded 25 assists to 12 turnovers whereas the home club had 14 assists to 18 turnovers. The Kings finished the night shooting 38.6 percent from the floor after making 47.8 percent at half.
The Kings received a boost from Carl Landry who made his first appearance in Sacramento as a King since the 2010-11 season. In his third game back from a torn hip flexor, the big played 26 minutes and hauled in nine rebounds. Landry admitted there’s still rust.
“I just got back. I’m not going to be 100 percent,” Landry said. “I think the last 10, 15 percent is just me going out there, getting my legs, getting my wind.”
The status of Landry’s frontcourt mates Cousins and Gay remain in the air as the Kings prepare to host the Denver Nuggets (20-21) on Sunday. The contest will tip off at 3 PM Pacific Time.
Photo Credit: Sacbee.com