DeMarcus Cousins
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Recap: Kings Fall to Warriors in Home Opener

Although Sacramento held a two-point lead at halftime, the Warriors responded with a dominant second-half to earn a 95-77 win.
by Steven Wilson
Writer, Digital

Box Score | Highlights

Despite a strong debut from rookie Nik Stauskas (9 first-half points), a smothering three-point defense that held Golden State to 22-percent from long range, and a double-double from DeMarcus Cousins (21pts, 11rebs), the Sacramento Kings couldn’t manage a win in their 30th-season home opener.

The Warriors used a 48-28 second-half to earn the victory and snap Sacramento’s ten-game winning streak in home openers.

Following an inspirational pregame ceremony and an eye-popping on court display showcasing legends and current superstars, the 2014-15 season began for the purple and black.

On a night that the organization honored the original 1985 team, the current squad came out strong. The Kings jumped out to an early 6-2 lead, but the Warriors stormed back with a 10-3 run. As the starters subbed out, Head Coach Michael Malone called upon his reserves to carry the load.

Playing against his former team, Carl Landry provided a key spark in the first half with six points off the bench and six rebounds, five of which were offensive boards.

Ramon Sessions then helped the Kings retake the lead early in the second quarter as he sped past the defense in transition, drew contact from Warriors center Andrew Bogut and converted a layup. The ensuing free throw gave his team a 29-27 lead with 9:23 to play before halftime.

Although the Kings hit just 26-percent of their attempts in the second frame, they outscored the Warriors 26-22 thanks to strong defense and a stellar free throw percentge. The purple and black made 15-of-17 free throws in the quarter including eight from DMC.

A normally high-powered offense, the Warriors were off from beyond the arc as they hit just 10-percent (1-of-10) of their attempts through the first two periods of play. Klay Thompson ended up as the only player on Golden State to drain a three in the first half. Meanwhile, Stephen Curry kept the visitors in reach scoring 12 of his game-high 24 points by hitting 3-of-5 field goals and 6-of-7 from the charity stripe.

Understanding the threat the Warriors pose in transition, the Kings defense was on point in the first half, which helped the home team earn an 11-7 advantage in fast-break points to take a two-point lead at intermission, 49-47. The Kings also outrebounded the Warriors, 30-21 and 11-3 in offensive rebounding in the first stanza.

Although both offenses were sluggish early on, Golden State’s backcourt came alive in the second half and Sacramento’s faded. Curry added 12 more points to his stat line, while Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green both tallied 8 leading the blue and yellow to a 47-percent clip in the final half.

On the other end, Cousins was productive with eight points of his own, but the rest of the team combined for just 20 points in the final two periods. The Kings were held to 30-percent from the floor and just 9-percent from beyond the arc as the Warriors closed out the win on Sacramento’s home court.

Stauskas’ Debut

Stepping on the floor for the first time with less than five minutes left in the first quarter, Nik Stauskas earned a standing ovation from his home crowd. As the opening period wound down, the rookie shooting guard connected on a trey from the far corner – his first basket in his NBA career – and the crowd went wild.

Stauskas shined in the first half tallying nine points on 3-of-5 shooting and adding two threes in just under 12 minutes of action.

Giant-Sized Reaction

Midway through the second quarter, fans turned their attention to the World Series.

The anticipation was palpable. As the final pop-up of the World Series hung in the air so too did the reactions from Kings fans. Turning to see the TVs inside the luxury suites inside Sleep Train Arena, fans saw exactly what they wanted – A game-7 win for the San Francisco Giants.

The crowd erupted, fans high-fiving each other and suddenly the sea of purple had a tint of orange to it. Fans –whether Golden State or Sacramento – united as one in unison to cheer for Northern California’s most recent sports accomplishment.

Touching Tribute

Just before the game, the organization honored a fallen member of the Kings family and all impacted by the recent Sacramento tragedy.

The crowd fell silent and the only light visible inside Sleep Train Arena illuminated Seat 5, Row A in Section 106 in honor of the life, service and commitment of long-time Kings fan & Season Ticket Member Deputy Danny Oliver, and Placer County Detective Michael Davis.

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