By: Malaika Bobino
Sacramento, CA – Coming off a shooting slump, no one expected him to have a night like this. He was in a zone unlike no other and the Kings could not figure out a way to stop him. David West recorded a season-best performance in leading the Indiana Pacers to a 97-92 victory over Sacramento.
“This is a tough building to come and play in,” West said. “I just tried to be aggressive and take my shots when they were there. I felt a good rhythm and guys did a good job of finding me early to mixing things up.”
Without their top guy, Danny Granger who is sideline with a left knee injury, the Pacers have won four of their last five games. David went 13 for 20 from the field and recorded his fifth double-double with a game-high and season high 31 points and 11 rebounds.
DeMarcus Cousins also recorded his fourth double-double with a team-high 19 points and 16 rebounds. Unfortunately, mistakes proved costly in the end for the Kings who were without their starting guard, Tyreke Evans for the first time this season.
Marcus Thornton who started in place of Evans missed a 3-pointer that would’ve tied the game with 5 seconds left in the fourth. But that wasn’t the only reason Sacramento lost their eleventh game. They got off to a slow start, forced shots and didn’t rebound when they needed to.
“It felt good going up, but I just missed the shot,” said Thornton. “My teammates and coaches had confidence to get the ball in my hands. I wish I could have it back.”
“We wanted to play a low scoring game,” Kings coach Keith Smart said. “But we didn’t get out of the gate they way we wanted. And that game winning shot is still missing.”
The bench was the key to keeping Sacramento in the game in the first half. Both Francisco Garcia and Jimmer Fredette scored 12 points off the bench. They sparked the offense and got the crowd back into the game. Fredette hit a three to beat the buzzer in the first quarter and cut the lead from eight to three points.
Garcia hadn’t played since the November 11th game at the Los Angeles Lakers and did not expect to go in tonight. It’s the first time he’s scored in double figures since April 11, 2011 when Sacramento faced off against Oklahoma City Thunder.
“It felt good to be out there with my teammates, we play this hard everyday,” said Francisco. “My team always look for me in a lot of screens so I was just out there being aggressive. You know it’s tough to lose so we just try to stay focused everyday and keep getting better.”
Winning only four games can be extremely frustrating but luckily for the Kings, it’s still early in the season. They can turn things around but before they do the chemistry needs to be there. Losing their leading scorer in Tyreke was a hugh loss especially since he’s lead all scores over the last five games.
Jason Thompson got into foul trouble guarding West and finished with 3 points and 3 fouls in 22 minutes. Cousins was 5 for 7 from the field and struggled against Roy Hibbert. Passing up countless perimeter shots that were available was a concern, as well as driving to the basket only to be blocked.
“He forced too many shots,” Smart said. “He needs to start taking those shots that are available. That’s what David West does. West takes the open shots.”