SACRAMENTO -- Three games ago, the Sacramento Kings were a win away from snatching the eight spot in the Western Conference standings. After Wednesday’s home 110-105 loss to the worst team in the NBA, the Kings have now dropped three straight and are spiraling into the abyss.
Six 76ers scored in double-figures, led by 20 points from big man Nerlens Noel. Speedy point guard Ish Smith continued his strong play since coming over from the Pelicans, finishing the night with 18 points and nine assists. Jerami Grant flew all over the court, finishing the night with 16 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks.
The Kings couldn’t help themselves against a team that improved to just 3-31 on the season. Sacramento shot 25-of-41 from the free throw line and turned the ball over 22 times in the loss.
Marco Belinelli carried the team early, knocking down 7-of-10 from the field for 16 first-half points. The sharpshooter hit a barrage of off-balance jumpers on his way to a 28-point night. After getting tossed on Monday night, DeMarcus Cousins bounced back to score 21 points and grab 11 rebounds. The All-Star center struggled with foul trouble, leaving the game with just under two minutes remaining on a questionable call.
Rajon Rondo dropped in a game-high 14 assists, but turned the ball over seven times. Darren Collison sparked the Kings bench, finishing the night with 13 points and five assists. Fresh off his career-high 36-point outing against the Warriors, Omri Casspi chipped in 10 points and 11 rebounds in defeat.
Belinelli has struggled in his first season in Sacramento, but he gave George Karl everything he had tonight on the loss over the 76ers. The veteran finished with a season-high 28, surpassing his previous best of 23.
With just under two minutes remaining Cousins was thrown to the ground by Noel trying to receive an entry pass from Rondo. The officials saw it another way, whistling Cousins for his sixth and final foul. The 76ers picked up a foul on the other end and stretched their lead to six on the night and the Kings never recovered.
Willie Cauley-Stein missed his 12th straight game with a right index finger injury, but he is getting closer to a return. The rookie worked with assistant coaches at shootaround and appears to be about a week away from a return. Eric Moreland (foot) and Duje Dukan (knee) are both out.
The Kings return to their home court on Saturday to face off with the Phoenix Suns before hitting the road for a back-to-back Monday in Oklahoma City and Tuesday in Dallas.