SACRAMENTO – As push came to shove, the Sacramento Kings snapped.
The Kings (21-39) entered Monday on a three-game losing streak, but the physicality of the New Orleans Pelicans (23-37) who were on their own losing streak set the home team off. In a match that featured 60 personal fouls, Sacramento didn’t budge an inch of room to a club best at attacking and guarding the rim.
Despite hitting only one 3-pointer, the Kings regularly lead behind their dominance on the boards (47 total, 16 offensive to the Pelicans’ 30 and 7), points in the paint (44 to 32) and free throw attempts (41 to 28). In addition, Jason Thompson had his best defensive effort of the season holding Anthony Davis to 0-of-9 shooting to start the game. The caveman-style basketball offset a horrendous Sacramento line of 11 assists to 18 turnovers, which didn’t go unnoticed by head coach Michael Malone.
“We make it hard on ourselves. We make it interesting. We make it entertaining,” Malone joked after the contest. “But at some point hopefully we’ll get back to being a team that values the basketball.”
Tyreke Evans in his second visit back to Sacramento finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists, but the real star of the game was Reggie Evans (no relation). The humble role player produced 10 points and 13 rebounds, making his most noticeable impact while DeMarcus Cousins (23 points, 12 rebounds) sat with foul trouble.
“(Reggie) comes in and he tries to grab every rebound,” Cousins noted. “He’s been nothing but helpful since he’s been here and I’m glad to have him on this team.”
The 33-year-old Evans was quick to give praise to others, but he saved his most flattering comments for last.
“I know one thing.” Evans affirmed. “This crowd is amazing…they’re real loyal. The support system is great. I love it. It don’t get no better than that.”
The Kings will be without their sixth man as the team begins a season-long seven-game Eastern Conference trip on Wednesday. But perhaps being backed into a corner is what Sacramento needs to unleash its ferocity.
Photo Credit: Paul Kitagaki Jr. / Sacbee.com