Down one with :12 seconds left in the game, the Sacramento Kings put the ball in the hands of Rudy Gay on the wing and got out of his way. Gay worked the isolation against Solomon Hill (who did a nice job) and ended up taking a contested 15-foot jumper that he missed.
Then veteran Carl Landry got the board, came down, went back up and won the game for the Kings.
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This is a game the Kings had led by 13 after one and by 17 in the third quarter, but the Pacers fought back in the fourth behind a combined 13 points in the frame from Rodney Stuckey and David West. That got them to overtime where all five Pacers’ points were scored by C.J. Watson.
But it wasn’t enough thanks to Landry.
This was the Kings’ first win this season (and in 14 tries) without DeMarcus Cousins out of the lineup (he is battling a viral infection). They got the win thanks to 27 points (on 50 percent shooting) from Gay and 20 points (on 19 shots) from Darren Collison. Landry finished with 14 points, but it’s the least two that people will remember.
Minnesota lost this game. Sacramento is much better team, one with a beast inside with DeMarcus Cousins, plus role players who can step up such as Ben McLemore and Darren Collison.
Still, it was great to see Andrew Wiggins have arguably his best game as a pro Sunday night.
Wiggins had 29 points on 22 shots. He did most of his damage using his athleticism to the rim (5-of-5) and he knocked down a couple of threes, however he struggled from the midrange (2-of-13 from beyond three feet out to the arc). There’s work that needs to be done on his shot.
But you can see the potential.
Every night the NBA can be a cold hard reality — there are winners, there are losers. It’s the nature of the game. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to bring you the best and worst of the NBA each week night. Here’s what you missed while keeping your girlfriend away from soft plastics….
The Memphis Grizzlies’ guards. So far this season the Grizzlies have largely won in spite of their guards, not because of them. Not tonight, they keyed a come-from-behind win where they started out down 26. Mike Conley had 11 fourth quarter, points, Vince Carter finally showed up hit three from beyond the arc in the quarter,and then Courtney Lee made the play of the game.
Sacramento Kings. Tough loss. They didn’t lose this one on a last second tip play (although the Kings’ defense did break down on it) nor because of the officials on a close play. No, they lost this one when they led by 26 in the second quarter and 15 at the start of the fourth quarter and couldn’t hold the lead. Sacramento shot 38.9 percent in the fourth quarter, with Rudy Gay going 0-of-3 and Darren Collison going 1-of-4. This is a young team still learning how to win, and there are going to be rough patches. This is one of those.
Pau Gasol. He is playing the best basketball we have seen from him since the “I’m an All-Star and the Lakers are contenders” years. We saw it again on Thursday night as he put up 27 points on 19 shots plus pulled down 11 boards against the Raptors in a game where the Bulls looked like the best team in the East. Gasol was 9-of-13 inside 8 feet of the rim — Tom Thibodeau is using him like a post player, not trying to force him to be a stretch four like Mike D’Antoni too often did. Gasol also defended — the Raptors were 3-of-12 shooting at the rim when he was protecting it. He is a great fit for this team and after spending the summer with his friends on the Spanish national team you can see his passion for the game is rekindled.
Philadelphia 76ers. Hey Michael Carter-Williams, welcome back to the NBA. I think we all understand the strategy Sam Hinkie is employing. And maybe — maybe — we’ll look back on this in five years as worth it because the Sixers will have a team stockpiled with talent. But good lord are they atrocious now. They are the Medusa of the NBA, watch just part of their game and you’ll turn to stone. I feel for Sixers fans. Their team trailed Dallas 73-29 at the half — if Dallas had not scored the entire second half they still would have won the game by three (the final was 123-70). The Sixers shot 51.5 percent for the game — from the free throw line. From the field it was 29.9 percent. Ugly. Again, I get the strategy, but being this bad is just not good for the league and it’s got to just wear down the fan base.