Sacramento Kings Win Streak Reach 4, Defeat Philadelphia 76ers 102-100
Sacramento Kings foward Rudy Gay looks to pass against 76ers' defenders Dario Sari, No. 9, and Sergio Rodriguez, No. 14, at Golden 1 Center. Photo art by T. Ray Harvey. Dec. 26, 2016.
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Sacramento, Calif. — There’s no need for the Sacramento Kings to start talking about the NBA playoffs. The team knows, head coach Dave Joerger knows it, and the fans definitely are much aware of not discussing it too.
But while the Kings sit in the eighth spot of the Western Conference, five game behind the Utah Jazz, it’s sure a hard subject to not notice. The 10-year drought is still in effect, though the Kings could hype up postseason aspirations if they keep winning. Until then, hush-hush. Zip it.
The talk now is how well Sacramento has been playing as a unit. The Kings (14-17) notched their fourth-straight win on Monday by taking down the Philadelphia 76ers 102-100 in front of holiday-festive crowd at Golden 1 Center.
DeMarcus Cousins had 30 points, seven rebounds, five assists, three steals, and two blocked shots for the Kings. Cousins also made a 3-point shot with 20.9 seconds left to put the Kings up 99-97 and blocked Joel Embiid’s attempt beyond the arc with 3.8 seconds to play.
The Kings have been making magic in the fourth quarter, which seems to be their strongest asset at the moment. Sacramento, down 77-70 after three quarters, outscored the 76ers 32-23 in the final quarter.
“It feels good. We won ugly but we’ll take it,” said reserve Ty Lawson, who finished with 12 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals for the Kings. “We’ll win any way we need to win right now.”
Rudy Gay returned to the starting lineup after a six-game absence due to a right-hip injury. Gay had 17 points, nine rebounds, and two assists, in just over 35 minutes. He scored nine important points in that magical fourth quarter for the Kings.
“I thought he had a good stretch,” Joerger said of Gay. “He was aggressive and put us on his shoulders there for a couple of minutes and DeMarcus did the same thing, which was terrific. Just terrific.”
Embiid had 25 points, eight rebounds, two blocked shots, and eight turnovers for the 76ers (7-23). Sergio Rodriguez added 18 points, five assists, and three steals while Ersan Ilyasova had 17 points and four rebounds off the bench. Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said Cousins was a major problem.
“He’s such a bull and he forces himself into so many physical traffic situations that exposes you,” Brown said of Cousins. “His 3-point shot at the end was obviously one of the back-breakers along with Garry Temple's three.”
Philadephia did have their chances to win the ballgame, but a few defensive lapse doomed them in the end, one being the Cousin’s trey and the 3-point basket Garry Temple made at the 58.7 mark of the fourth quarter.
Temple was left all by his lonesome to set the shot up.
“I felt obligated to knock that one down,” said Temple, who was wearing tee-shirt with the image of Muhammad Ali standing over Sonny Liston. “I think I had just got back in the game 30 to 45 seconds before that. So it did feel good to see it go down.”
The Kings led by 11 points in first quarter before the 76ers came back to tie the game 34-34 on a 3-pointer by Embiid in the second quarter. The Kings held on for a 51-47 halftime margin at the break. Sacramento scored 34 points in the paint in the first half to the 76ers’ 26 points.
After several attempts, the 76ers finally took the lead on a basket by Gerald Henderson to make the score 62-61 at the 6:14 mark of the third quarter. The game was tied three more times with two lead exchanges in the third quarter until the 76ers ended up with a 77-70 lead to start the fourth quarter.
The Kings were outscored 30-19 in the third quarter.
By T. Ray Harvey | PA Public Information Officer and Photographic Artist
DeMarcus Cousins is steady climbing up the ladder for the most steals in the history of the Kings’ franchise. He currently has (624). Mitch Richmond is in second with 670 and Doug Christie is the leader with 717.
The Sacramento Kings are (7-6) thus far in Golden 1 Center.
The Kings will play their rescheduled game against the 76ers on Jan. 30 during a eight-game road stretch. The game was postponed Nov. 30 in Philadelphia due to condensation on the basketball court.
What looked like friction between Brett Brown and Gerald Henderson in the fourth quarter was not said the Philadelphia coach. It looked like Henderson was going back into the game and Brown was against it. “He pulled himself out. He did. He couldn’t go in. He has a problem that we will deal with, his hip, but he's been gutsing through a lot. If there is anything he is he’s a competitive pro,” Brown said. Henderson has had two hip surgeries.
Portland Trail Blazers center Meyers Leonard will see Cousins Dec. 28 at the Moda Center. It will be the first time the teams will meet since Cousins dropped 55 points in the Kings 126-121 victory at Golden 1 Center on Dec. 20.
Former Sacramento Kings draft selection Nik Stauskas is averaging 9.5 points per game for the 76ers coming off the bench. Stauskas is well above his 6.4 points per-game average.
THIS DATE IN 76ERS HISTORY, on Dec. 26, 1989, Charles Barkley totaled 32 points (15-for-26 shooting from the field), 16 rebounds, and five assists against Denver.
The DeMarcus Cousins campaign for the All-Star Game in New Orleans kicked into gear. It would be his third-straight trip if he makes the Western Conference squad. Participants should look for #NBAVOTE hashtag on Twitter or facebook.
T. Ray (Antonio) Harvey is a Public Information Officer and Photo Artist for Publicity Agents. Harvey is also the author of The HOMICIDAL HANDYMAN OF OAK PARK: MORRIS SOLOMON JR.