Gameday: Speed on speed in the backcourt as Kings welcome Wizards


Gameday: Speed on speed in the backcourt as Kings welcome Wizards

SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings look to get back in the win column Sunday at Golden 1 Center. They’ll face a Washington Wizards team that is fresh off a tough loss in Golden State that included a big time scuffle on the court.

With veterans George Hill and Zach Randolph taking the afternoon off, Dave Joerger will turn to his core of young players against the Wizards. Prized rookie De’Aaron Fox is primed to make his first NBA start at the point guard position and the door is open for plenty of other to get an opportunity.

Washington is still waiting for the league to decide who will and will not be available for Sunday’s game. It appeared that punches were thrown against the Warriors and that usually costs a game check or two.


No line


De’Aaron Fox vs. John Wall -- Speed on speed. With George Hill sitting, the NBA will get watch two of the fastest guards in the NBA go at each other from the opening tip. Fox has put on a show in his first week in the league, posting 14.8 points, 5.0 assists and 4.4 rebounds in 26.8 minutes per game. Wall is a four-time All-Star and one of the best point guards in the game. Wall’s a tough test for any player, let alone a rookie.


Kings: 1-4, fifth place in Pacific

Wizards: 3-2, second place in Southeast


Kings: PG George Hill (rest) out, PF Zach Randolph (rest) out, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out.

Wizards: PF Markieff Morris (groin) out, G Sheldon Mac (leg) out.


WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN -- The Kings were interested in small forward Otto Porter during free agency, but they backed off when the price tag reached astronomical heights. Porter signed a four-year, $106 million offer sheet with the Brooklyn Nets, before returning to Wizards. He would have made a nice fit at the small forward spot for Sacramento, but it wasn’t to be.

YOUTH ON DISPLAY -- With Hill and Randolph sitting one out, Kings fans will get a longer look at Fox, Labissiere and possibly even Frank Mason III. The Wizards are a tough opponent at full strength and the Kings will need career nights from a few of their young players if they hope to pull this one out.

CAN KINGS CONTINUE THEIR HOT SHOOTING? -- Sacramento comes into Sunday’s game fourth in the league in 3-point percentage, knocking down 37.8 percent from long range. Almost every King is hitting from the outside, except for the two guys playing the shooting guard position. Maybe Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic can jump in the action.


Washington swept the season series between the two teams last year. The Kings still hold a 104-90 advantage all-time over the Wizards, but the series is all tied up at 31-31 during the Sacramento-era.

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


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.


Lakers by 1


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.


Kings: 4-13, fifth place in Pacific

Lakers: 8-10, second place in Pacific


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

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


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. 


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. 


“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