Programming note: Blazers-Kings coverage starts Friday night at 6:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California with Kings Pregame Live (territorial restrictions apply)
SACRAMENTO -- Kings coach Michael Malone issued the following warning after practice on Monday
"I can only hope we don’t throw the ball all over the place on Wednesday night and hit the popcorn lady in the third row in her face," Malone said.
Although popcorn vendors appeared unscathed, his words proved prophetic.
That’s exactly what the Kings did committing 27 turnovers leading to 26 Golden State points in the Warriors 95-77 win on opening night for both squads in Sacramento.
A quick glance at the numbers and you’d think maybe the Kings pulled the upset:
- Sacramento held the Warriors to less than 100 points.
- Sacramento’s defense stifled Golden State to the tune of 22.2 percent from downtown.
- The Kings were plus six in rebound margin.
However, the Kings were doomed by turnovers and a surprisingly poor performance from the floor shooting 30.8 percent overall and 16.7 percent from three-point range.
Surprising, because in the preseason Sacramento was tenth in scoring, third in three-point shooting percentage and second in overall field goal percentage in the NBA.
One number that unfortunately held true for the Kings was the exhibition average of 19.86 turnovers, which the squad exceeded by seven.
Defensively, Sacramento held the Warriors to under 100 points, 44 percent shooting from the floor and 22.2 percent from three-point range.
The Kings almost met their fourth quarter defensive goal of allowing 20 points or less limiting the Warriors to 22 points.
DeMarcus Cousins struggled from the field going four of fourteen but made twelve of eighteen from the line, scoring twenty points.
A small victory was Cousins’ conduct. He contained his frustration in a sign of maturation that Sacramento desperately needs to turn the tide on back-to-back 28 win seasons.
This was the type of game that in the past the Kentucky product would have likely lost his cool and secured a technical foul.
The turnovers have to be cleaned up. Malone has said it many times: “You cannot beat yourself and your opponent on the same night.”
Starters Ben McLemore and Jason Thompson struggled going scoreless and scoring two points, respectively.
Bench production was weak as Derrick Williams scored just two points, Ramon Sessions three points and Omri Casspi with four points.
The Kings squandered a decent defensive effort and an opportunity to sneak a win against one of the most talented teams in the NBA.
Things need to be cleaned up in a hurry. Portland comes into Sacramento on Friday as the Kings brutal early schedule continues - seven of their first ten opponents were playoff participants last season.