The Sacramento Kings have a tough schedule remaining, and Wednesday night’s game against the New Orleans Hornets may have been their last great shot at victory. The Kings did what they should have done — took it to New Orleans early and often. Sacramento has proven to be one of the league’s best offensive teams in the second half of the season, and the Kings showed why. With a blistering shooting percentage that hovered around 70 percent for most of the first half, the Kings built up a lead that eventually approached 30 points. A late Hornets run in garbage time (the 4th quarter) made it respectable, but the Kings 121-110 win pushed them to 28 wins with four games left.
PERIMETER SETS TONE – Isaiah Thomas, Tyreke Evans and John Salmons found a great rhythm together, and their selfless play spread across the whole team. Sharing the ball was a key to success, as Sacramento dished out 26 assists. Each perimeter player took turns attacking the Hornets defense, yet all worked the ball around and waited for the best opportunity. Thomas was undeterred by the bigger Greivis Vasquez, Evans picked his spots wisely and Salmons was scoring inside and out. In the second half, New Orleans tried a three-guard lineup. Sacramento recognized Salmons had a mismatch and fed him the ball, and John came up with one of his better games in weeks. The Kings uptempo style was too much for the Hornets to handle, and when you make 55.3 percent of your shots, that’s a wrap.
THORNTON BURNS FORMER CLUB – The Bayou Bomber, Marcus Thornton, came off the bench and immediately let it rain buckets. The former Hornets guard seemed hellbent on burning his former squad, and he definitely got the point across. As Kings fans know, Thornton has shown that with playing time he will light it up. After his first few shots dropped Wednesday, it was trouble for New Orleans. Thornton was Sacramento’s second quarter source of offense.
JT OPENS AND CLOSES – Very impressive offensively display from Jason Thompson, who continues to show marked improvement in his offensive skills. JT opened the game showing a deft touch around the basket, backing down the rookie Anthony Davis and scoring well with both hands at the rim. After the Hornets started closing the gap late, Keith Smart turned to Thompson to stem the tide and seal the win. JT did just that, dropping a beautiful turnaround shot and throwing in a couple midrange jumpers for good measure. Thompson saw the most floor time of any Kings player, and it was well deserved.
OTHER OBSERVATIONS – Jimmer Fredette got some run with the game out of hand, and he brought the crowd to its feet with back to back triples … Travis Outlaw was a surprise contributor. Outlaw had his jumper working in both the second and fourth quarters, and he also swatted away two shots … Local product Ryan Anderson received a nice ovation from the Sacramento crowd. He torched the Kings in New Orleans earlier this year, but on Wednesday, Anderson made just 1-of-6 from downtown … Credit to reserves Toney Douglas and Chuck Hayes, who brought great energy and kept the Kings momentum rolling … DeMarcus Cousins fouled out and had trouble defending Robin Lopez, but offensively, he played within the system. His five assists show just how well the ball was moving on Sacramento’s side.