The Sacramento Kings just snapped a seven-game losing streak with blowout win against the Chicago Bulls, however, there is no guarantee it will not happen again. Now that the whole team is healthy it will be interesting to see how the Kings play together for the second half of the season. There are a couple of things to watch out for over the next two to three months. First is the development of Ben McLemore; he is the key to the Kings’ long-term success. With the loaded draft class in this year’s draft, the Kings have to know if McLemore can be the starting 2 guard for the future. The other thing to keep your eyes on is the play of the bench. The Kings need to be able to develop a bench if they want to try to make a playoff run next season, because it will not happen unless the Kings find some bench contributors that can be consistent. Now let’s take a look back at the week that was for the Kings.
The Week That Was
Wednesday, Jan. 29 vs. Memphis Grizzlies
Even with Rudy Gay back after missing the three previous games with the Achilles strain, the Kings were not able to get a win. The Kings played a tough first half and only trailed by two points heading into the third quarter. However, that is when the Grizzlies’ defense kicked in and held the Kings to just 17 points in the quarter. In the end the Kings just could not generate enough offense without DeMarcus Cousins, who was missing his fourth straight game, and the Grizzlies won 99-89 in Sacramento. Now Gay was able to get back to his efficient scoring by hitting 10-of-16 for 23 points; however, besides Isaiah Thomas, they were the only two Kings in double-digit scoring. Looking at the overall stats the Kings should have been closer than 10 points as they won the rebounding edge 34-31. Furthermore, they had more points in the paint, and shot 48 percent from the field. However, they allowed the Grizzlies to shoot 55 percent from the field, when they normally shoot 46 percent. In addition, Thomas allowed Mike Conley to shoot 8-for-13 from the field for 27 points; the defensive end is where Thomas needs to find a way to make a difference to help his team win.
Friday, Jan. 31 at Dallas Mavericks
The Kings were looking to avoid their second six-game losing streak of the season as they visited the Mavericks. With a six-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, it looked like the Kings might be able to steal a road win in Dallas. However, a 34-point game by Dirk Nowitzki and a 32-22 quarter for the Mavericks squashed any chances of an upset. Again Rudy Gay had a spectacular game with 35 points on 10-of-16 shooting, and 15-of-17 from the free throw line. However, just like the Grizzlies game, only Gay and Thomas scored in double digits with Cousins still out. Again like the previous game, most of the stats were in the Kings’ favor, as they won the rebounding difference 39-37, they shot 51 percent from the field and had 16-5 edge in fast-break points. But all this was for naught, as the Kings lost 107-103, their sixth straight loss.
Saturday, Feb. 1 at San Antonio Spurs
Sacramento was on its second step of the Texas two-step road trip and after leading in the fourth quarter against the Mavs, but losing a close game, the same thing happened against the Spurs, when the Kings took a seven-point lead into the fourth quarter. However, they only scored 15 points in the quarter and a took 95-93 loss. Cousins missed six straight games; all of them have ended in losses for the Kings. Like the two previous games both Thomas and Gay had more than 20 points, finally the Kings had others with double digits. Derrick Williams and Jason Thompson both hit double digits, but the Kings as a team only shot 41 percent from the field. This loss pushed the losing streak to seven games, a season high and their longest streak since April 2012. There have been many down points this season, but right now this is the lowest point of this season.