The Sacramento Kings almost came away with one of their most thrilling comebacks of the season.
Jimmer Fredette and Cole Aldrich entered the game with under four minutes to go and the Kings down by 15 points after Mike Dunleavy hit his fourth three of the night. This was supposed to be garbage time, but nobody told the Kings, particularly Fredette and Aldrich. Aldrich hit the glass hard and Fredette started lighting it up from outside. A couple minutes later and the Kings had cut the Buck's lead to three after a layup by Tyreke Evans.
Milwaukee called a timeout and got the ball to Monta Ellis, who missed a pull-up jumper. Sacramento secured the rebound and Tyreke hit another layup to make it a one-point game. Sacramento wasted a bit of time before fouling Brandon Jennings, who nailed both of his free throws. Sacramento called a timeout to try to run a play for three. The ball came to Marcus Thornton, who didn't have a good look and gave it to Tyreke. Evans had a look at three, but decided to take the open lane for a layup. It looked like he had Jimmer and Thornton open for three, but as Grant and Jerry said, it's easy for us to criticize with the advantage of instant replay and none of the pressure. It wasn't disastrous either, as there was still plenty of time left.
The Kings fouled Monta Ellis, who made both with 6.6 seconds left. Sacramento was out of timeouts and had to get the ball up the court. Jimmer Fredette got the ball and escaped the double team but despite all appearances that he wasn't fouled, the referees whistled Jennings for a reach in the backcourt. This sent Jimmer to the line, and the Kings opted to make the first and intentionally miss the second for the chance. Jimmer executed the play to perfection, and even got his own rebound. To my eyes, it looked like Fredette was mugged (Coach Keith Smart thought so as well), but no whistle was blown. Jimmer managed to get the ball out to Tyreke Evans anyway but Evans' three point attempt at the buzzer fell short. Fredette finished with 14 points on 5-6 shooting in just 9 minutes.
Sacramento wouldn't have needed a comeback attempt if not for a terrible second quarter in which they were outscored by 14 points. Milwaukee's bench, led by Gustavo Ayon and Mike Dunleavy, completely outclassed Sacramento's. Ayon finished with 12 points and 7 rebounds, and Dunleavy added 16 with four triples.
The Kings also might have done better if they had the services of DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins was dominant for much of the game, scoring 24 points on 10-12 shooting in 28 minutes. However, Cousins was upset with the physicality and officiating. He threw an elbow at Mike Dunleavy and was promptly ejected. It's very possible (more like probable) that he will also get suspended. It's another case of Cousins letting his emotions get the best of him, and it hurts the team. Milwaukee was without three key rotation players in Larry Sanders, Ersan Ilyasova and J.J. Redick, and getting himself tossed from a winnable game is unacceptable.
Sacramento now has a two day break before getting back into action on Wednesday when Chicago comes into town.
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