Kings

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Kings' loss to Mavericks

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Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Kings' loss to Mavericks

BOX SCORE

Summer League has not been kind to the Sacramento Kings. Thursday night’s game against the Dallas Mavericks took on a similar theme to the team’s first four games -- inconsistent play, injury and a late rally. In the end, the Mavericks were the better team, coming away with the 83-76 win and dropping Sacramento to 1-4 for the tournament.

-- Justin Jackson is amazing...every other game. The UNC product has been all over the board through five summer league games. Against the Mavs, the good Jackson showed up. In 35 minutes of action, the 22-year-old wing dropped in 25 points on 9-of-19 shooting and added four assists, four rebounds and two steals. He’s going to earn minutes early in his career.

-- DeAaron Fox vs. Dennis Smith Jr. is going to be a fun matchup for years to come. Fox was limited due to ankle stiffness, playing just seven minutes for the Kings before coach Jason March pulled the plug. He had a front row view to Smith’s 25-point, seven-rebound, two-assist, three-steal performance. Smith’s talent has never been in question, but an ACL tear in high school and questions about his maturity caused him to fall to the ninth pick. He’ll make more than one team regret passing on him.  

-- Like Jackson, Skal Labissiere has had a Jekyll and Hyde week in Vegas. In the grand scheme of things, Summer League means very little. No one will remember a 1-for-7 shooting performance once the regular season begins. Labissiere had to be hoping for more than 9.6 points and 5.0 rebounds in 26.6 minutes per game, though. He'll learn from the experience.

-- Luis Montero, Jack Cooley and JaKarr Sampson have done enough to earn a training camp invite somewhere. Montero filled in for Hield and chipped in 13 points and nine rebounds. Cooley scored 10 points in 11 minutes and Sampson brought energy, along with eight points, seven rebounds and four blocks in 20 minutes off the bench.

-- Georgios Papagiannis just turned 20 years old. It’s a fact that escapes plenty of basketball talking heads. The 7-foot-1 big has worked tirelessly on his body, but he is still at least a year or more away from stepping in and playing rotational minutes at the NBA level. He needs to get stronger and the speed of the game is still an issue. He has skills, but making any judgments on who he’ll be as a player after 22 regular season games and a handful of Summer League contests is probably too early.

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.