Kings Start Road Trip With A Thud In Charlotte


Dec 17, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Sacramento Kings guard Isaiah Thomas (22) holds back forward Quincy Acy (5) from getting into an altercation with Charlotte Bobcats forward Bismack Biyombo (0) and forward Cody Zeller (40) (not pictured) during the second half of the game at Time Warner Cable Arena. Bobcats win 95-87. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

The Sacramento Kings have enjoyed a travel-friendly schedule to this point, and it appears the long flight to Charlotte sapped their energy. In the first of four road games in five nights, the Kings dropped an absolute dud against a beatable Bobcats squad. Sacramento came out with low energy and poor execution, allowing Charlotte to drop 35 first-quarter points. From then on, it was a losing, uphill battle, and the Kings never recovered, falling 95-87.

Dec 17, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Bobcats center Al Jefferson (25) shoots as he is defended by Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) during the second half of the game at Time Warner Cable Arena. Bobcats win 95-87. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

COUSINS GOES ALONE — The Kings may not have brought their best effort into Charlotte, but DeMarcus Cousins (36 MIN, 30 PTS, 9-13 FG, 12-15 FT, 17 REB, 6 AST, 6 TO, 3 STL) did everything he could to win the game single-handedly. Cousins was an unmanageable load for the Bobcats all night, as he consistently beat Al Jefferson, Bismack Biyombo and any other defender Charlotte threw his way. With the Kings making a run at the Bobcats lead, the game really swung back in Charlotte’s favor when it started doubling Cousins in the post. DeMarcus had some struggles with the added pressure — his baskets became much tougher and passing out of the double team was treacherous. Nonetheless, Cousins was the only reliable scorer for the Kings.

DEFENDING CHARLOTTE GUARDS — Sacramento’s defensive effort was lacking, and that was no more apparent than in the ease in which the Bobcats guards scored the ball. Starters Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson combined for 44 points, both showing feathery shooting touch from the outside but also benefiting from some defensive lapses by Sacramento. Off the bench, Ramon Sessions had his way with Jimmer Fredette (13 MIN, 4 PTS, 1-7 FG, 2 AST). Sessions frequently beat Fredette to the basket, scoring a number of easy layups.

GAY STRUGGLES, EXITS EARLY — His third game with the Kings was a forgettable one for Rudy Gay. Gay (24 MIN, 4 PTS, 1-6 FG, 3 REB, 2 TO) never found the space he needed to operate, and any time he tried to create his own shot, Charlotte converged and pressured him into a mistake. With Cousins desperately seeking a sidekick, Gay fell well short in a game that should have been there for the taking. To make matters worse, Gay left in the third quarter and did not return with a stiff knee. The seriousness of the injury is unknown, as is Gay’s status for Wednesday’s game in Atlanta.

OTHER OBSERVATIONS — Ben McLemore (30 MIN, 7 PTS, 2-10 FG, 3 REB, 3 AST) hit more than one field goal for the first time in five games. Unfortunately, the rookie continues to struggle mightily with his shot. To his credit, he doesn’t lose confidence. This is all part of the learning process, but his inability to make shots right now is hurting the team … Isaiah Thomas (36 MIN, 21 PTS, 8-23 FG, 4 AST, 2 REB, 2 TO) played a poor game. He missed a lot of shots that he normally makes. In the second half, he took some bad shots and tried to make up for it with more forces. Still, it’s nice when his bad game results in 21 points … Quincy Acy (20 MIN, 5 PTS, 2-2 FG, 3 REB, 2 BLK, 1 STL) was a factor. His energy on both ends was refreshing — fighting for loose balls, blocking shots, finishing hard at the rim. Lots to like about Acy’s first two games with Sacramento.