In what was a winnable game in Miami, even without suspended star DeMarcus Cousins, the Sacramento Kings hung close but couldn't make up for their own mistakes, losing 116 to 109 in Miami. Marco Belinelli scored 23 points to lead the Kings in scoring and Rajon Rondo tied the Sacramento-era record for assists with 18 (and was just 1 rebound away from another triple-double). But it was a combination of bad defense, costly turnovers and a terrible time at the free throw line that cost the Kings the game.
Yes, the officiating was a bit one-side. The Kings were called for 27 fouls to just 15 for Miami and the Heat had 33 Free Throw Attempts as a result. Even still, the Kings hurt themselves with 18 turnovers, many unforced, which led to 26 points for Miami. In comparison the Kings got just 6 points off of only 7 Miami turnovers.
Sacramento also allowed the Heat to get hot for short stretches of time which extended the lead for Miami and left Sacramento playing catchup. In the first half it was second year guard Tyler Johnson who got hot, on his way to 19 points on 6 of 8 shooting off of Miami's bench. Most of Johnson's shots were unguarded. The Kings did a pretty good defensive job on Dwyane Wade, but he still managed to score 24 shots on some tough looks. Chris Bosh came alive in the second half to finish with 23 points and 11 rebounds including a couple of huge threes late in the game.
The Kings used their 10th different starting lineup this season in Cousins' absence, with Omri Casspi getting his first start. Casspi finished with 16 points and 6 rebounds but also had 4 turnovers, including some very baffling ones in crunch time. He also missed all four of his free throw attempts and the team as a whole miss 9 of their 20 attempts.
In yet more unfortunate injury news, Rudy Gay left the game in the third quarter with a left shoulder strain, after he got his arm pulled on a drive by rookie Justise Winslow. Gay did not return and probably will end up missing some time because of it. That shoulder is the same one that Gay had surgery on back in 2011, so the Kings will probably be cautious. Hopefully the injury isn't more serious than it appears.
Sacramento falls to 4-9 and will get a day off before heading to Orlando. Cousins will be back and hopefully the Kings can find a way to win. The effort tonight was much better than it was yesterday against Atlanta, but the Kings can't win many games if they continue to beat themselves.
For the opponent's perspective, visit Hot Hot Hoops.