Kings Grab Win After Turbulent Week

By Rob Small, SacMidtown.com

The Sacramento Kings’ recent troubles have been on the court. After winning three out of four games against playoff bound teams, the Kings dropped five games in a row against teams of equal or higher caliber, all at home.

With the exception of the game against San Antonio, the Kings had the opportunity to win in each game.

After their fifth loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder, rookie DeMarcus Cousins and forward Donté Greene were involved in an altercation inside the locker room, first reported by NBA FanHouse.

Cousins wanted the ball in the post in the final seconds of the game, but Greene opted to give Tyreke Evans the inbounds pass. Evans missed what could have been the game-winning three-pointer and the Kings lost 99-97.

Cousins was visibly frustrated after the buzzer sounded.

As a result of the situation, Cousins was removed from the team’s plane by the request of Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie. The rest of the team, including Greene, flew to Phoenix to play the Suns as Cousins missed the game.

In Phoenix, the Kings started Samuel Dalembert in place of their second-best player in a game that could have easily gotten out of hand.

The Suns led by as many as 10 points near the end of the first half, but Carl Landry led the Kings’ charge, notching 20 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. Thanks to the fourth quarter production of Greene and Dalembert, the Kings held off the Suns 113-108.

Dalembert scored 12 of his 18 points in that quarter to go with 15 rebounds and 3 blocks and Greene scored 12 of his 19 points in that same period. Evans finished with 21 points and seven assists and the Suns’ Steve Nash had an incredible game with 22 points and 18 assists.

“We need it in the worst way,” coach Paul Westphal said about the win. “We’ve been coming so close against good teams night after night and getting turned away in the fourth quarter.

“Tonight, we beat a good team and pushed through on the road, especially with all the turmoil, or whatever you want to call it, with DeMarcus. This was quite a pulling together of our team.”

The Kings had not won in Phoenix since Nov. 2005.

Player of the Week

Evans has continued to play well and the early season injuries that lingered seem to be a thing of the past. In the past week, he’s averaged 22 points, 6.25 rebounds and six assists.

He scored 30 points against the Thunder and was one assist shy of a triple-double against the Mavs. As every game passes, he looks more and more like the player he was last season.

Rookie Performance

Cousins has shown immaturity, been kicked out of practice and was even ejected from a game on Wednesday, although the ejection was undeserving. Despite of Cousins’ troubled rookie season there’s no doubt that he has great potential.

In the past week, Cousins averaged 19.3 points, 13.6 rebounds and one steal per game. In six of his last seven games, Cousins has had double-digit rebounding games, the best stint of his rookie season.

In a press release from the Kings, Cousins was fined for the incident and he returned to the team in Oklahoma City.

Play of the Week

Tyreke Evans spins Utah Jazz defense and makes the left-handed shot after getting fouled.

What’s Next?

The Kings will finish their road trip playing the Dallas Mavericks tomorrow and Oklahoma City the next day. On Friday, Evans and Cousins will compete against each other in this year’s Rookie Challenge, part of the 2011 All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles.

Evans is also in the running to compete in the Skills Challenge.

Don’t expect Petrie and the Kings to go quietly through the Feb. 24 trade deadline. In recent seasons, the Kings have made big trades during or after All-Star Break.

In a recent SacBee article, Petrie said he would want “a quality player with some proven history.” He also said that the team needs “another playmaker, another shooter to start with.”

The team traded Kevin Martin for Carl Landry last season after the break. They also made headlines trading Brad Miller and John Salmons together and Mike Bibby.

If the Kings see the right trade, they’ll make it.

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Posted by on Feb 15 2011. Filed under Kings/NBA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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