by Matt George
After the worst loss of the season for the Sacramento Kings, blowing a 21 point lead in Phoenix to the short-handed Suns, the Kings returned home Thursday and took it to the Detroit Pistons for all 48 minutes. Coming off a loss Wednesday to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Pistons elected to rest leading scorer Blake Griffin, and Sacramento took full advantage. Seven different players scored double figures, a full team effort, leading to the Kings’ 112-102 win.
“Good win. We came in with the idea of putting together a 48 minute game. We were locked in and did a good job defensively jamming the paint,” said Kings head coach Dave Joerger.
The Pistons, with one of the league’s best rebounders in Andre Drummond, were expected to end the night with a huge advantage on the glass. Instead, the Kings out-rebounded Detroit 48-37, and Sacramento center Willie Cauley-Stein outperformed Drummond with a 14 point, 14 rebound double-double.
“He looked like himself,” said Joerger, “I thought he was stronger to the rim tonight and had a lot more pop…(he) did a terrific job”.
“We have a lot of stuff to fix defensively…” said Cauley-Stein, “…that’s the next step for us – pulling it all together and playing a full 48 minutes. We just gotta secure the games we are supposed to win and steal the ones we shouldn’t win”.
Harry Giles continued his tremendous growth over the last few weeks, scoring 14 points along with four rebounds, three assists, and four blocks in 23 minutes.
“I grabbed him after the game and told him ‘I feel like you are getting better’. He caught a couple passes that might have ended up in the second row. He has some great hands” said Joerger.
Giles added after the game, “I feel like I am at the point where I can just be free and have some fun out there and compete at a level I feel like I’m comfortable (with) out there. I’m in it now, so I’m playing and just having fun and competing and doing what I do”.
Fellow rookie Marvin Bagley had another strong showing in just his second game back after his knee injury, providing 10 points, seven rebounds and two steals in 20 minutes.
The Kings, now 21-21, will once again host a team in the second night of a back-to-back on Saturday as the Charlotte Hornets come into town. It will be the first meeting between the two teams this season.