An already tough road game against the Golden State Warriors becomes much more difficult when you can’t make shots. A night after taking the Los Angeles Clippers to the wire, the Sacramento Kings fell flat against their Northern California rivals. The Kings failed to establish any flow on offense, primarily due to the fact that nobody could be relied upon to score. That, combined with poor team defense and hot Warriors shooting, led to a 98-87 thrashing at the hands of Golden State.
FRIGID NIGHT IN THE BAY – Give credit where it’s due. The Warriors played tremendous defense Saturday night, contesting nearly every shot and forcing Sacramento into countless tough looks. For a team like the Kings that has already been struggling to find offense, this was a death sentence. Sacramento shot an awful 34.5 percent from the field. The two hot hands that Sacramento has relied on for offense — DeMarcus Cousins and Isaiah Thomas — combined to shoot 5-of-18.
DON’T GIVE ‘EM AN INCH – Everybody knows the Warriors have one of the most explosive backcourts in the NBA. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are a load to handle, but the Kings did nothing to help themselves by giving the pair too much room to operate. At the end of the day, you can only tip your hat to the better shooters. But Sacramento needed better effort on the defensive end.
MCLEMORE FINDS A GROOVE – The lone bright spot in this one for the Kings was the play of rookie Ben McLemore. McLemore (30 MIN, 19 PTS, 8-17 FG, 3-9 3FG, 4 REB, 1 STL, 2 TO) has struggled to find a rhythm thus far this season, but some early makes and extended playing time late in the game allowed him to get going Saturday. McLemore stroked some early shots from outside, including a first-quarter buzzer beater from beyond halfcourt. And with the game out of hand, McLemore seized the chance to find his own offense, leading the team with 17 field goal attempts (seven more than the nearest teammate). The kid is too talented to struggle for long, and the Kings can only hope this carries over going forward.
OTHER OBSERVATIONS – Jimmer Fredette (3 MIN, 2 PTS, 1-2 FG, 1 REB, 1 AST) saw his first action of the season, entering in the final three minutes. This was a game where Jimmer could have played earlier. With nobody scoring and nobody playing defense, Fredette would have been worth a spin in an effort to spur the offense … The frontcourt starters continue to provide close to nothing. John Salmons and Patrick Patterson each shot 1-for-6, combining for five points. That can’t go on much longer … Travis Outlaw (27 MIN, 15 PTS, 4-7 FG, 6-6 FT, 12 REB, 2 STL, 1 BLK) used the blowout to pad his stats, joining Jason Thompson (22 MIN, 12 PTS, 5-8 FG, 10 REB, 5 TO) in the double-double club. Empty stats though … The Kings starters combined for 22 points. Klay Thompson (27) and Curry (22) each matched that total on their own.