Kings

Clippers stymie Kings' bid for three-game streak

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Clippers stymie Kings' bid for three-game streak

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SACRAMENTO -- Chris Paul had 22 points and nine assists, Blake Griffin added 14 points and nine rebounds and the Los Angeles Clippers cruised past the Sacramento Kings 108-100 on Thursday night.Mo Williams made all four of his 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to finish with 18 points, helping the Clippers build a 19-point lead and begin a stretch of four games in five nights with a victory. Los Angeles plays at Phoenix on Friday night.DeMarcus Cousins had 23 points and 10 rebounds and Tyreke Evans scored 18 points for the Kings, who had won two straight. Sacramento still had some good news Thursday: The city and team announced a financing plan for a new 391 million arena that would keep the franchise in California's capital for at least another 30 years.

Sacramento's other rebuilding project remains a work in progress.Griffin had two dunks - including a soaring, uncontested tomahawk slam that had the home fans buzzing - and Paul taunted the Kings bench after a pull-up jumper as the Clippers scored 11 straight points to go ahead 83-72 late in the third quarter.The offense steamrolled Sacramento the rest of the way. Williams made four 3-pointers to open the fourth quarter, Los Angeles built a 19-point lead and never looked back.Two teams that love to play aggressive clashed often.Griffin had a trio of dunks in the first half to lift Los Angeles to a 10-point lead behind the team's usual high-flying theatrics. After the Clippers started to pull away, the muscling and tussling under the rim escalated.As players headed to opposite benches during a timeout, Clippers big man Reggie Evans walked by Francisco Garcia with an elbow near the Sacramento forward's head. Garcia slapped his hand toward Evans' head and Los Angeles' Kenyon Martin joined in the scrum, getting whistled for a technical foul.If only for a moment, the emotions fueled Sacramento's surge.Rookie Jimmer Fredette made back-to-back 3-pointers - the second coming well behind the line with Paul pressuring - to give the Kings a 52-44 lead in the second quarter, bringing fans roaring to their feet, including co-owner Gavin Maloof leaping off the ground from his courtside seat next to his brother, Joe. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, who has led the charge for a new arena, also applauded from about 10 seats over.The two sides are nearing the final step in an arena deal that seemed improbable a year ago. Sacramento and the Kings released the 391 million financing plan earlier Thursday night.
NEWS: Deal to keep Kings in SacramentoThe City Council will vote on the project Tuesday night.Notes: Kings F J.J. Hickson left in the third quarter with a lower back bruise. He is day to day. ... Kings G Isaiah Thomas was named NBA Western Conference rookie of the month for February. Thomas, the 60th and final pick of last year's NBA draft, led conference rookies in February in scoring (12.2 points per game) and was second in assists (4.4 per game).

Kings' second unit steals show from Fox-Ball, fuels victory over Lakers

Kings' second unit steals show from Fox-Ball, fuels victory over Lakers

SACRAMENTO -- The fans came to watch De’Aaron Fox and Lonzo Ball square off for the first times as professionals Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center. They ended up being treated to a breakout performance by Sacramento’s second team.

“It’s not all about Fox and Ball, it’s about Kings and Lakers,” Frank Mason said after another solid performance. “I’m just happy we got the win as a team.”

Coming into Wednesday night, the Sacramento Kings ranked first in the league in bench scoring at 48.1 points per game. The Los Angeles Lakers weren’t far behind, posting 40.6 a contest, good enough for fourth in the NBA.

Sacramento received solid contributions from almost every player that stepped on the floor, including 22 points, seven rebounds and seven assists from starter Zach Randolph. But the group that came off the bench put on a show, outscoring Los Angeles 67-38.

In his fourth game in a reserve role, Willie Cauley-Stein scored a game-high 26 points in 28 minutes, including 13 in the fourth quarter as the Kings pulled away. He drew a crowd around his locker during post game, but he was the direct beneficiary of some stellar play by others.

Mason and fellow rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic broke down the Lakers defense countless times and found Cauley-Stein for the poster dunk. According to the official scoresheet, nine of Cauley-Stein’s 10 made baskets were assisted, including five alley-oops from Bogdanovic.

“We talked about it yesterday when we were icing,” Cauley-Stein said of his Serbian guard. “We were both sitting in the cold tub and exactly what happened is what we were talking about.”

Cauley-Stein is gifted athletically and he’s extremely long. He was a star receiver in high school and he knows how to go up and get a ball.

“I think he realizes, (he’s) just got to get it up there and I’m going to go get it,” Cauley-Stein said of Bogdanovic.

Bogdanovic hit his first two 3-point attempts and it seemed to open the floor up for Sacramento. With defenders going over screens to defend the long ball, Bogdanovic used his dribble to get free.

When the Laker’s bigs stepped in to stop his dribble, Bogdanovic tossed the ball near the rim and Cauley-Stein finished with authority.

“It’s easy to play with Willie, because he can catch,” Bogdanovic said. “I didn’t pass perfectly those alley-oops, but he likes to be a little higher than usual.”

Both Bogdanovic and Mason set new career-highs in assists, finishing with seven dimes apiece off Dave Joerger’s bench. Bogdanovic dropped in 14 points and picked up two steals. Mason added 11 points and five rebounds.

The smallest player to step on the floor, Mason brings a physicality the Kings have lacked early in the season. Since earning rotational minutes four games ago, the 23-year-old is posting 9.8 points and 4.3 assists in 22 minutes a game.

“That’s who I am, that’s who I’ve always been,” Mason said when asked about his toughness. “I take a lot of pride in someone scoring on me and I play every possession like it’s game point.”

With the win, the Kings improved to 4-4 on their home floor and 5-13 overall this season. They’ll take Thanksgiving off, but return to practice Friday in preparation for the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday evening. They’ll need another big evening from the bench unit if they hope to build momentum going forward.

Gameday: Bring on Lonzo Ball vs De'Aaron Fox in the NBA

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Gameday: Bring on Lonzo Ball vs De'Aaron Fox in the NBA

SACRAMENTO -- The Kings were treated rudely by the Denver Nuggets to open their three-game homestand on Monday. They’ll get another shot to pick up a win Wednesday when the upstart Los Angeles Lakers swing into Golden 1 Center.

Sacramento has struggled to find consistency this season on the road, but they’ve been able to ride their home crowd to impressive wins over Oklahoma City, Philadelphia and Portland. If they can knock off the Lakers, they improve to .500 at home on the season. 

The Lakers are coming off a come-from-behind win over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday and have to play Sacramento on the second night of a back-to-back. They are a young and exciting team, that present plenty of matchup issues for the Kings.

BETTING LINE 

Lakers by 1

MATCHUP TO WATCH

De’Aaron Fox vs. Lonzo Ball -- Let the games begin! The drama surrounding these two dates back to college. Fox ran over Ball at the NCAA level, outscoring the former UCLA Bruin in both games last season, including a 39-point outburst during a tournament game. Ball missed the summer league matchup between the two, causing a bit of a stir on social media. Wednesday night is nothing more that a pair of 19-year-olds playing hoops against one another while hundreds of thousands of people watch intently. No pressure, kids.

WHERE THEY STAND 

Kings: 4-13, fifth place in Pacific

Lakers: 8-10, second place in Pacific

INJURY REPORT 

Kings: SG Buddy Hield (sprained ankle) probable, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out until January.

Lakers: PF Larry Nance Jr. (hand) out.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

BRIGHT LIGHTS -- The world is watching. Sacramento doesn’t draw the attention of the national media all that often, but plenty of eyes will be on the Kings/Lakers matchup on Wednesday. Will the Kings bring the defensive intensity that helped them knock off the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday or will they fade like they did against Denver last time out?   

REBOUND -- The Kings are one of the worst rebounding teams in the NBA and they’ll face a team that knows how to hit the glass. Dave Joerger needs his guards to get involved if they hope to avoid another lopsided rebounding deficit. 

CONTAIN KUZMA -- Ball gets all the pub, but it’s the late first rounder out of Utah that is turning heads. Fresh off a 22-point performance Tuesday against the Bulls, Kyle Kuzma is posting nearly 17 points per game while starting at power forward for the Lakers. He’s a player that plenty of teams are now regretting passing on in the 2017 NBA Draft. 

SERIES HISTORY 

These two teams split the season series 2-2 last season, with each team winning one at home and one on the road. Los Angeles owns a huge 270-153 lead in the all-time series and a 92-44 advantage during the Sacramento-era 88-47. 

QUOTE

“It’s fun. Sometimes there’s too many haters out there. It is what it is. Smile and enjoy it. I think it will be a great opportunity for those two guys to begin their careers.” Dave Joerger on the Fox/Ball matchup