Kings

Cousins, Kings rally to down Hornets 100-92

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Cousins, Kings rally to down Hornets 100-92

BOX SCORE
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- DeMarcus Cousins had 28 points and 19 rebounds, and the Sacramento Kings erased an 18-point deficit en route to a 100-92 victory over the slumping New Orleans Hornets on Monday night.Tyreke Evans scored 11 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, when Sacramento took its first lead on Marcus Thornton's free throw with 6:24 left. Isaiah Thomas scored 17, including a 31-footer with 2:15 to go that gave the Kings a 94-88 lead. Thornton added 12 points.Greivis Vasquez tied a season high with 20 points and Marco Belinelli scored 18 points for New Orleans, which has lost six straight. Emeka Okafor scored a season-high 19 points and Chris Kaman added 10 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks in his return from a weeklong absence while the Hornets tried to trade him.Cousins scored 12 of his points in the third quarter as the Kings trimmed its deficit from 13 at the half down to five at 72-67.Belinelli responded with a jumper and Vasquez went baseline-to-baseline at the horn to give the Hornets a 78-69 lead heading into the final period, but it was not nearly enough.Cousins' driving reverse layup as he was fouled by Kaman ignited a 12-2 run to open the fourth quarter. Evans followed Cousins three-point play with nine straight points of his own - all on drives to the hoop, once as he was fouled.New Orleans was able to tie it at 86 on Trevor Ariza's fast-break layup, but Thornton, who had struggled most of the game and finished 3 of 12 shooting, came back with a 3 to give Sacramento the lead for good.Sacramento finished shooting 47 percent (37 of 78), while New Orleans shot 42 percent (34 of 81) after making only 26 percent (6 of 23) during the fourth quarter.The Hornets hit 11 of 22 shots in the first quarter and had an early 14-point lead when Belinelli hit his second 3 on a kickout from Kaman to make it 27-13. The play gave Belinelli 10 points as he joined Okafor (11 points) as a double-digit scorer in the opening period.The Kings cut their deficit to six points with a 12-4 run capped by Jimmer Fredette's 3, but the Hornets pulled away again.Reserve guard Xavier Henry, playing in only his fifth game this season, doubled his previous season high in scoring with eight straight points, including a floater in the lane as he was fouled and a fast-break layup that he initiated with a steal. Vasquez finished off an 11-0 run with a turnaround from the baseline as he was fouled, making it 43-27.New Orleans' lead got as large as 52-34 before the Kings trimmed it down to 52-39 on Cousins' layup that narrowly beat the halftime horn.Notes: Cousins, who now has 16 double-doubles this season, was called for a technical foul for arguing with officials after they what whistled him for an offensive foul in the second quarter. ... Hornets G Jarrett Jack missed his third straight game with a sore left knee. New Orleans also was without F Jason Smith (concussion), reserve forward DaJuan Summers (right knee swelling), G Eric Gordon (right knee bruise) and F Carl Landry (left knee sprain). ... Hornets F Gustavo Ayon got his first-career start, making him the 12th different New Orleans player to start a game through only the first 25 games of the regular season. ... Evans has scored 20 or more in four of five games. ... Thornton has made at least one 3 in 16 of 17 games in which he'd played.

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