Sluggish start dooms Kings in loss to Hornets

jejones@sacbee.comJanuary 22, 2013 

2S22KINGS

Stacy Revere Associated Press Tyreke Evans (13) has a shot blocked by Hornets rookie Anthony Davis. The Kings' rally from a 27-point third-quarter deficit fell short.

NEW ORLEANS – A noon start at New Orleans Arena meant a 10 a.m. Pacific start for the Kings.

Perhaps that explains why the Kings started so poorly in a 114-105 loss to the New Orleans Hornets on Monday.

By the time the Kings began to play with energy, the game was more than halfway over and they had fallen behind by 27 points.

"That happens," Kings coach Keith Smart said. "(But) we have to play the game. They finally got it, but it was just a little too late."

The Kings trailed 76-49 with 6:34 left in the third quarter. But they went on a 23-4 run to trail 80-72 with 1:16 to go in the quarter.

In the fourth quarter, the Kings closed within 104-97 with 3:14 to play, but the Hornets responded with five unanswered points to put the game out of reach.

DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings (16-26) with 29 points and 13 rebounds. Isaiah Thomas had 20 points, and Tyreke Evans scored 16.

"We started off sluggish," Cousins said. "They got up with a big lead, which had us playing catch-up the rest of the game. We just couldn't continue to cut the deficit."

Former Oak Ridge High School and Cal star Ryan Anderson led the Hornets (14-27) with 27 points. He scored 17 points in the second quarter, making 5 of 8 three-point attempts. Anderson tied the record shared by J.R. Smith, Stephen Jackson and Antoine Walker for most three-pointers in a quarter against the Kings.

"(Anderson) changed the game," Cousins said.

The Kings did a better job tracking Anderson in the second half, but New Orleans had four other players in double figures, including Greivis Vasquez (19 points and 11 assists) and Eric Gordon (16 points).

For the first time in 17 games this season, New Orleans won when allowing 100 or more points.

Rebounding woes – The Kings were outrebounded 49-36. The Hornets had 20 offensive rebounds that helped them gain a 25-10 advantage in second-chance points.

"To be able to close that gap, you would have had to have another big on the floor," Smart said. "But because they played with two spacing fours (power forwards), Anderson and Jason Smith, a lot tonight, you couldn't put those (big) guys in."

Starting power forward Jason Thompson played the first 8:18 of the second half, but Travis Outlaw finished the game at power forward.

The Kings were outrebounded 24-13 in the second half. They shot 62.2 percent in the second half but gave up 13 second-chance points.

The Kings are 6-21 when outrebounded.

Davis injured – Hornets rookie forward Anthony Davis left just before halftime because of a sprained ankle and did not return.

Davis, the No. 1 overall pick, had 11 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots.

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