With all the pageantry expected for opening night at Sleep Train Arena and a couple of key players for the Denver Nuggets out (Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler), one would think that an easy victory would be in the forecast for your Sacramento Kings. Not so fast there kiddo! In an up-and-down contest that saw seven lead changes and 10 ties, the Kings eked out a 90-88 win on Wednesday evening at the ole (but newly refurbished) barn. The star statistically of the game was DeMarcus Cousins, who finished with 30 points, 14 boards, two steals and two blocks. Make no mistake about it, the Kings’ big man is ready to deliver a big season at center this year and last night was a great start. Unlike seasons in the past, Cousins really worked well inside the paint, instead of settling for outside jumpers. He was a force inside the entire game. “I think you’re letting the defense off the hook if you don’t post him up,” said Kings’ head coach Michael Malone. “He’s a capable and willing passer, he can score, he can make plays for his teammates, he can get us into the bonus early so we can go to the foul line and get easy baskets and that is something we will continue to do. Put him in the post and establish that paint for us and give us an advantage down there.” But it was the longest tenured Kings player Jason Thompson, who’s now coming off the bench, had what most consider the game-changing play. With 41.5 seconds left in a game tied 88-88, Thompson snatched a Cousins miss and hammered it back through the net in what would prove to be the winning basket. “Jason Thompson had the play of the game with that tip dunk to give us the win,” Malone said.
Kings beat Nuggets in season opener in front festive crowd
Sacramento Bee | Oct 31