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NBA -- Kings in familar road struggle, lose to Pistons, 103-97


PhilBoxing.com




Sacramento - Riding on their back-to-back wins against the Eastern Conference pace-setter, New York Knicks, and the 2008 NBA Champs Boston Celtics, the Sacramento Kings came off a good start only to bow down to the Detroit Pistons 97-103 in The Palace in Auburn Hills, Michigan.

The Kings who has been superb at 10-7 at home, were seeking to improve on their lowly 1-12 record on the road. However, they seem to play up only to the level of their opponents as they were not impressive at all agains the Pistons who, just like the Kings, are in the bottom 4 teams of their respective conferences.

Waxing hot early, making all but one of their 6 attempts from downtown while forcing key stops and defensive rebounds in the first quarter, the Kings led 20-12 and were apparently en route to cruise to another victory. However, the Pistons held their own, forcing the visitors to turnover the ball 7 times resulting in easy baskets on their end to force a 28-27 first period lead.

Austin Daye, who made 13 points off the bench for the Pistons, made a triple and then another three point play on the next ball possession on a foul from Aaron Brooks, opening up a 35-29 Pistons advantage, 2:01 into the second quarter. Then 6'11" Charlie Villanueva took over the scoring duties, sniping three shots from three-point distance before getting ejected towards the end of the half, following his flagrant foul on the driving Isaiah Thomas with the hosts up 58-48.

Sacramento, who badly missed the scoring services of Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton, the latter after spraining his right ankle during the third quarter of their game against the Celtics, couldn't just match the firepower of the Pistons going into the second half of the game, who had Brandon Knight combining with Greg Monroe and veteran Tayshaun Prince to create an 80-65 bubble with 1:01 remaining in the penultimate period.

Unable to get things going from his starters, other than center DeMarcus Cousins, Kings Coach Keith Smart dug deep and brought in his second crew. His gamble nearly paid off as sweet-shooting Jimmer Fredette, Aaron Brooks, and seldom used Travis Outlaw took over the game to put the Kings within a point at 93-94 before eventually succumbing to the Pistons for the final count.

Knight top-scored for the Pistons with 20 points. Monroe added 18.

Cousins led the Kings with 21 markers and 14 rebounds, but his single-handed efforts early on came evidently short. Meanwhile, the Kings will continue trying to break their losing spell on the road against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors, and then the Brooklyn Nets. (AMJR)


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Alberto G. Montefalcon, Jr..


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