Photo by Rocky Widner
Sacramento, CA - DeMarcus Cousins returned to the lineup after missing ten games with viral meningitis. With seconds left on the clock Cousins made a three-point shot at the buzzer and missed. The Kings lost 108-107 to the Milwaukee Bucks who used small ball to outwit a team of bigs.
"O.J. [Mayo] started off making a lot of shots and Brandon Knight, he basically finished it," said Rudy Gay. "They moved the ball around, everybody hit shots and it's just tough to play a team like that."
Mayo scored 17 of his 19 points in the first quarter. He single handedly kept the Bucks in the game. Sacramento took an early 14-4 lead in the first before Mayo went 6-for-7 closing the gap 29-25 to end the quarter.
The Kings attempted to play a more up-tempo game but failed. Gay who is one of the key shooters didn't get hot until the end when it was too late. They played no defense and committed 21 turnovers that led to 17 Milwaukee points. Mayo was wide open making shots all over the floor.
"They got some offensive rebounds when we went small," said Sacramento's head coach Tyrone Corbin. "They hurt us on the boards a little bit. So, give them credit, they shot it well, and made shots when they needed to."
The Bucks went 10 of 14 from three-point range in the first half and made 13 overall from the arc. Without their star rookie, Jabari Parker who tore his ACL and will miss the rest of the season. Center, Larry Sanders who was suspended by the NBA for pushing Nicolas Batum in the back, Ersan Ilyasova (nasal fracture) and John Henson (sprained left foot).
Milwaukee had five players in double figures. Jerry Bayless has 10 of 17 in the fourth quarter, Jared Dudley added 19 and Knight finished with 20 points. The Kings tied the game 107-107 with 6.8 seconds left on the clock. Zaza Pachulia was fouled and missed his second free throw giving Sacramento a chance to win the game.
"I kind of got pushed out a little further," Cousins said. "Zaza kind of played me to my right, I tried to go left, but Knight helped. So I crossed over and tried to take the best shot available with time running out. I think I got a good look, but it just didn't fall."
Cousins was the go-to guy and missed a buzzer-beater shot giving the Kings their fifth straight loss. Despite not feeling completely 100 percent, Cousins finished with a game-high 27 points, game-high 11 rebounds and five assists. Gay had 20 points, nine rebounds and a game-high-tying six assists.
"We had to score the ball from outside if we were going to have a chance to win tonight," said Bucks head coach Jason Kidd. "Everyone had something to do with it tonight, offensively and defensively."
Kidd in his first year with the Bucks has completely turned this franchise around. Despite the adversity Milwaukee has faced with injuries Kidd has implemented a system in which his players believe that they're a winning team. With only 10 players dressed, the Bucks improved to 14-13 overall and moved over the .500 mark.
"No one thought we would have this record but us," Mayo said. "We're a young, confident team that plays aggressive and with a lot of energy."