Kings

Five takeaways from the Kings' 20-point preseason loss to the Spurs

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Five takeaways from the Kings' 20-point preseason loss to the Spurs

BOX SCORE

After dispatching the San Antonio Spurs in the preseason opener on Monday night at Golden 1 Center, the Sacramento Kings traveled to Texas for a rematch on Friday. With half the team sitting out to rest, the Kings came up short, falling 113-93 for their first lost of the preseason.

1- De’Aaron Fox went to work. With George Hill sitting (along with the rest of the veterans), Fox picked up his first start and didn’t disappoint. The rookie scored 12 points and dished out six assists in 24 minutes of action. He’s an elite talent, but for him to take the next step as a point guard, he has to learn how to run a team. You’ll take a 6-to-2 assists-to-turnover ratio in a player’s second game as a pro. 

2- Buddy Hield joins the competition. After watching Temple start on Monday in Sacramento, Hield took full advantage of his opportunity on Friday. The second-year guard went off for 12 points on 3-for-6 shooting and hit a perfect 5-of-5 from the line. He was aggressive going to the rack, but he needs to find a way to involve others outside of the occasional ally-oop. 

3- Bogdan Bogdanovic knows how to play. With ball and player movement slowing to a crawl, the 25-year-old Serb came into the game and instantly started setting up his teammates. He started with a hook pass to Frank Mason for an open jumper and then sent a low post entry pass to a well established Papagiannis for a baby hook. Bogdanovic has an advanced feel and could easily steal minutes as a primary ball handler and distributor. He finished the night with four points, three assists and two rebounds in 16 minutes. Expect the Kings to take it easy on Bogdanovic in the preseason after a long summer of basketball in Europe. 

4- Willie Cauley-Stein wants to score. After finishing last season as the starter at the center position, Cauley-Stein is brimming with confidence. Against the Spurs, he pulled up for jumpers, ran the floor like a gazelle and even finished around the rim. The Kings would love to see the third year pro post 14 points on 7-of-12 shooting and chip in nine rebounds on a nightly basis.

5- A Georgios Papagiannis sighting. The Kings spent the 13th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft on the 7-footer out of Greece. He’s had a few moments here and there, but overall has struggled with the speed of the game. Against the Spurs, he looked confident, finishing the night with 10 points, three rebounds and two assists in 29 minutes. It’s only preseason, but it's nice to see improvement from young players. 

Fox bangs knees with Towns, ruled out with quad contusion

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Fox bangs knees with Towns, ruled out with quad contusion

Rookie down. De’Aaron Fox banged knees with Minnesota Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns in the first quarter Thursday evening at the Target Center. The Kings’ 19-year-old point guard was diagnosed with a right quadricep contusion and was ruled out.

Fox has played in all 28 games for Sacramento this season, posting 10 points and 3.9 assists in 26.3 minutes per game coming into Thursday evening. He left the game after just seven minutes of action, finishing with two points, two assists and two turnovers.

The fifth overall selection in the 2017 NBA Draft will likely be listed as day-to-day moving forward.

Gameday: Kings start four-game road trip against T'Wolves

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Gameday: Kings start four-game road trip against T'Wolves

The Sacramento Kings hit the road for another trip across the country beginning Thursday in Minnesota. They’ll face a Timberwolves team that is finally living up to their talent level after a couple of disappointing seasons. 

Sacramento is coming off a home win against the Suns on Tuesday, but the road has been unkind this season. Veteran George Hill stepped up big against Phoenix after missing the previous game due to personal reasons. The Kings need more from their big free agent signing. 

Minnesota is coming off an overtime loss to the 76ers on Tuesday, but they have a formidable starting lineup and a chance to snap their 13-season playoff drought this year. The offseason additions of Jimmy Butler and Jeff Teague have made a huge impact for the T-Wolves, who currently sit in fourth place in the Western Conference standings.

LINE 

Timberwolves by 10

WHERE THEY STAND 

Kings: 9-18 fourth in the Pacific

T-Wolves: 16-12 first in the Northwest

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Willie Cauley-Stein vs. Karl-Anthony Towns -- These two know each other well from their season together at Kentucky. Towns has developed into a perennial 20 and 10 guy for Minnesota. Cauley-Stein is finding another gear with the Kings. They’ll see plenty of time against one another Thursday at the Target Center.

INJURY REPORT 

Kings:  PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) is out until January at the earliest.

T-Wolves:  PF Nemanja Bjelica (foot) out, C Justin Patton (toe) out. 

SERIES HISTORY 

Sacramento won the season-series 3-1 last season, including an April 1 victory over the Timberwolves at the Target Center. Minnesota holds a slight lead in the all-time series 54-53.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

More George -- George Hill has struggled both on and off the court early in the 2017-18 campaign, but he came alive against the Suns. Sacramento needs the 31-year-old point guard to find some consistency and start leading the starting unit. 

Bench Dominance -- Sacramento leads the NBA in bench scoring at 49.7 points per game and they’ll need the second unit to come up big if they hope to knock off the Wolves. Minnesota’s reserves score just 25.7 points per game which ranks 28th in the league. If the Kings starters can keep it close, the bench might be enough to put them over the top.

Make the T-Wolves Work -- Minnesota has improved on the defensive end, but they still allow 106.7 points per game. If the Kings can push the tempo and make the Wolves work on the defensive end, they can make life difficult.