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Kings Sting Hornets 102-96, Win in Pun-tastic Fashion

Ziller's chart can suck it.  The Kings have started off this brutal 12 game stretch in impressive fashion, first taking out the defending champs in their own building and now following it up by beating a Hornets team that had been on a 10 game winning streak.  

DeMarcus Cousins was again awesome, scoring 19 first half points on his way to 25 points, 12 rebounds, and a career-high 7 assists in the victory.  He tired a bit in the 2nd half and became more erratic, but he still came up huge down the stretch.  The charge he drew on Marcus Thornton near the end of the game was huge, and it was an especially brave play considering that DeMarcus was playing with 5 fouls.

The Kings got good contributions from everyone who played tonight.  The team defense as a whole was great, as for the 4th straight game Sacramento held their opponent to under 100 points.  Samuel Dalembert anchored the defense, but everyone played their role, perhaps none better than Omri Casspi, who did a great job at forcing his man into some bad, well-contested shots during crunch time.  Omri had three steals as well.

More after the jump, including Kingsflix videos.

The ball movement, especially early in the game was great.  Players were moving off the ball well, and running the offense through DeMarcus Cousins from the high post was working great as he was finding cutters right at the basket all night.  The Kings ended up with 23 assists to only 12 turnovers, and nobody had more than 3.  Meanwhile New Orleans was held to only 15 assists and 14 turnovers, amazing considering Chris Paul himself averages almost 10 a game.  He only had 7.

Sacramento was also able to overcome some one-sided officiating as well, with New Orleans getting numerous calls in their favor that the Kings themselves weren't getting on the other end.  At least two of the three continuations that New Orleans were awarded clearly shouldn't have counted.  But they did, and nothing can change that, and the Kings played through it to their credit.  Tyreke Evans was a casualty though, picking up his 5th foul with 9 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter.  Luther Head came in for his first meaningful minutes in a long time, and although he got off to a slow start, he ended up playing some quality minutes on both ends of the floor.

For the Kings these past few wins have shown a newfound ability to close games, something that has been killing them all year.  These haven't been flukes either, as they've beaten some really, really good teams.  All we can hope for is continued improvement and enjoy the ride while it lasts.

Kingsflix videos:

Postgame Interview with DeMarcus Cousins (via kingsflix)

Postgame: Paul Westphal 1/29/2011 (via kingsflix)

DeMarcus Cousins Rainbow Fall Away Shot (via kingsflix)

Big Carl Landry Dunk (via kingsflix)

Monster Put-back Dunk By Donte Greene (via kingsflix)