Sacramento, CA – You have to wonder the possibilities of the potential on this team. The Sacramento Kings did another spectacular job in playing team ball with six players in double figures. Not a typical night from a team that still holds the worst record in the West. But what better way to welcome TNT to Arco Arena!
The Kings handed an embarrassing loss to the Denver Nuggets 122-102. The swirling rumors of a Carmelo Anthony trade has taken a toll on a team that was once a fierce competitor in the West. Now, harbored by injuries this season the Nuggets struggle to find the bond that once kept them together.
“Speechless! I’m blown away by our performance,” said coach George Karl. “As long as I’ve been in Denver we’ve come back from behind, we missed wide open three’s and never had control of the ball.”
The last time these two teams met on January 1st, Denver delivered a dominating performance that left Sacramento questioning many things about the 104-86 loss. Tonight was a very different ball game, the Nuggets had no steals and 23 turnovers that the Kings turned into 27 points.
They trailed by 14 points at the half and regrouped in the third quarter behind a 24-0 run to tie the game 79-79 with 2:44 remaining. But it wasn’t enough to stop Sacramento’s 11-0 run to start the fourth quarter. Anthony led all scores with 26 points, Nene added 17 points and Chauncey Billups finished with 16 points.
“We’re frustrated right now,” Anthony said. “I know I am after these past two loses against teams we should’ve beaten.” “Tonight was an embarrassing loss and I don’t know why we are struggling on the road?”
The Kings scored a season-high 122 points surpassing the 117 scored on opening night against the Minnesota Timberwolves. They also scored a season-best 69 points in the first half. Francisco Garcia got hot early hitting four three’s in the first quarter. Tyreke Evans played one of his best games with 27 points, five rebounds and a season-high 12 assists falling one assist shy of matching his career high.
Much of the season Evans has been struggling with plantar fasciitis in his left foot yet again he flashed back to his rookie year for the second consecutive game being unstoppable in all areas. He showed how easy it was to get through traffic as well as to the basket. With his quickness and speed Evans showed no sign of any foot problems.
“It was one of my best games,” Evans said. “I came out aggressive attacking the basket and putting defense on their heels.” I really tried to to come off the pick and rolls getting into the paint to create shots for other players.”
Creating plays was an understatement, DeMarcus Cousins scored 20 points, Beno Udrih had 17, both Carl Landry and Garcia had 14, and Omri Casspi added 13. A team effort from everyone proves the ability to compete at a high level where many have doubted this team based on their record. While some things are still work in progress, the Kings continue to get better.
“It certainly shows what type of team we’re trying to be,” coach Paul Westphal said. “To move the ball like we did all night, to play through Evans and Cousins, space the floor and hit shots-its the way we want to play.”