Kings

Five takeaways as Kings' comeback effort falls short in loss to Lakers

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USATSI

Five takeaways as Kings' comeback effort falls short in loss to Lakers

BOX SCORE

The build up to De’Aaron Fox vs. Lonzo Ball fell flat Sunday when the Lakers rookie sat out game three of the Kings’ preseason schedule with an ankle issue. Despite the rookie’s absence, the game tipped off as scheduled. Los Angeles jumped all over Sacramento early, as the Kings missed one shot after another. The Kings found a way to slow the Lakers attack, but couldn’t get over the hump down the stretch, falling 75-69 to drop to 1-2 on the preseason.

1- Dave Joerger shook up his starting lineup, inserting Bogdan Bogdanovic and Willie Cauley-Stein to go with veterans George Hill, Garrett Temple and Zach Randolph. The group looked like they had never met, going over four minutes before hitting their first bucket. The spacing was bad, the movement was bad and most of their shots came as the 24 second shot clock was sounding. It’s going to be a process as the Kings try to mix and match rotations. 

2- Zach Randolph is the Kings offense. Okay, maybe not, but he thinks he is. The 36-year-old is fending off father time, one half-hook at a time. He can also shoot the 3-ball, kill you from the mid-range and rebound. You’ll take 16 points on 7-of-15 shooting and six rebounds from a player entering his 17th NBA season. 

3- Have we seen the 10-man rotation? Joerger turned to a tight group in the third game of preseason. Hill and Fox shared the minutes at the point. Bogdanovic and Hield saw the majority of the time at the two. Garrett Temple started at the three and Vince Carter came off the bench. Z-Bo and Skal Labissiere ate up the minutes and the four and Willie Cauley-Stein and Kosta Koufos played the five. No Justin Jackson, Malachi Richardson or Frank Mason III. 

4- Vince Carter still has it. Vincanity isn’t the athlete he used to be, but he knows how to play the game and he knows when his team needs a hoop. The veteran wing dropped nine points on 3-of-4 shooting from 3-point range in 20 minutes of action. It doesn’t sound like much, but his presence might result in four or five additional wins on the season. 

5- De’Aaron Fox is going to be fun. The rookie played just nine minutes before being shut down with a bruised back, but he still managed to make the highlight reel. Fox used his crazy speed late in the second quarter to slice right through the Lakers defense and finish over two players, including one trying to block the shot through the rim.

Gameday: Kings will be without two starters as they play north of the border

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AP

Gameday: Kings will be without two starters as they play north of the border

For the second time in seven days, the Sacramento Kings face the Toronto Raptors for an early Sunday matinee. This time around, they’ll have to go to battle without their leading scorer and their starting point guard.

Zach Randolph has carried a tremendous load for the Kings over the last few weeks. The 36-year-old big has logged 30 or more minutes for the Kings seven times over the past 11 games. He’s posted huge numbers over that stretch, including a 35-point, 13-rebound performance in a win over the Pelicans.

In his 17th NBA season, Randolph is leading the Kings in scoring at 15.2 points and rebounding with 7.0. With a short break in the schedule, the team is giving Z-Bo an opportunity to catch his breath with a day off to rest. He’ll return to action when Sacramento travels to Philly and Brooklyn for back-to-back games on Tuesday and Wednesday.

In addition to Z-Bo sitting, rookie De’Aaron Fox will sit on Sunday with a quad contusion. He is listed as day-to-day moving forward and the injury is not considered serious.

BETTING LINE:
Raptors by 12.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH:
George Hill vs. Kyle Lowry -- With De’Aaron Fox out, the Kings need Hill to continue his recent surge. He’ll draw a three-time All-Star in Lowry that has the Raptors machine running smoothly. If Sacramento has any chance of upsetting Toronto, they’ll need their veteran point guard to come up big.

WHERE THEY STAND:
Kings: 9-19, fourth place in Pacific

Raptors: 19-8, second place in Atlantic

INJURY REPORT:
Kings: C/PF Zach Randolph (rest) out, PG De’Aaron Fox (right quad contusion) out, SG/SF Malachi Richardson (sprained ankle) probable, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out until January at the earliest.

Raptors: C Lucas Nogueira (calf) out.

SERIES HISTORY:
After four straight losses to the Kings, the Raptors picked up a win at Golden 1 Center last Sunday, giving them a 1-0 advantage in the season series. Sacramento holds a 26-16 lead in the all-time series between these two clubs.  

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

Replacing Z-Bo -- Randolph has been spectacular for Sacramento in the early season, but he’s played more minutes than expected. The team last played Thursday in Minnesota. By giving Randolph Sunday off, the Kings are effectively giving the veteran a four day break from basketball activities.  Someone has to step up and fill the void or it’s going to be a long day for the Kings.  

Second Team Magic -- With the team shorthanded, Dave Joerger is going to need the second unit to continue their strong play. Two reserves will slide into the starting lineup, opening up an opportunity for the end of the bench to get some run.

Air Canada -- After 20 seasons of NBA action, this might be Vince Carter’s last trip to the city where it all began. The 40-year-old wing has played sparingly this season for Sacramento, but with the roster depleted, he’ll likely see action. Carter helped put Toronto on the map as an NBA city. It’s hard to imagine the fans not reacting to him in a positive way.

Fox bangs knees with Towns, ruled out with quad contusion

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USATSI

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.