Kings

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Kings' preseason loss to Clippers

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AP

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Kings' preseason loss to Clippers

BOX SCORE

Five down, one to go. The Sacramento Kings limped through their fifth preseason game Thursday night in Los Angeles. With De’Aaron Fox out and George Hill going down early, the team’s depth was tested. In the end, the experience of the Clippers won out as they came away with the 104-87 victory to push the Kings to 1-4 in the exhibition season.

1- Bogdan Bogdanovic breaks out. The Kings’ coaching staff has been waiting for the Serbian sharpshooter to get a little more selfish. He attacked the Clippers Thursday evening, scoring a preseason-high 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting from the field and 2-for-3 from behind the arc. Be it as a starter or off the bench, Bogdanovic is going to have a big time role on the Kings this season. Unfortunately, the 25-year-old went down with a sprained right ankle at the end of the third quarter and didn’t return.

2- Temple run. Garrett Temple is the Kings’ jack of all trades. He can play both wing positions and defend the one, two or three. Against the Clippers, he was the hot hand, hitting 3-of-4 from downtown on his way to 13 points. If Temple can give Sacramento another reliable 3-point shooter, he becomes one of the team’s most valuable assets.

3- Frank Mason is plan B. With both Fox and Hill on the shelf, the rookie point guard out of Kansas dropped in 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting. He added four assists and three rebounds in 24 minutes of action. Hill has a history of missing games, so being a third point guard on this Kings team might not be a bad thing.

4- Buddy Hield looked comfortable with the starters. He hasn’t exactly shot the lights out during the preseason, but the second-year guard had a solid night for Sacramento. The former sixth overall pick dropped in 12 points on 3-of-5 shooting from deep and added three rebounds and three assists. He can score in bunches, but Hield needs to continue to improve his all-around game if he hopes to hold onto the starting shooting guard spot.

5- Mixing the young with the old. For the second time in preseason, Dave Joerger turned to a starting frontcourt of Zach Randolph and Willie Cauley-Stein. Z-Bo attacked the Clippers early, finishing with 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting in 23 minutes at the power forward spot. Cauley-Stein got it going late, chipping in 10 points and seven rebounds. This might be the opening night pairing in the post.

NBA fines Pelicans C DeMarcus Cousins for incident with fan

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USATSI

NBA fines Pelicans C DeMarcus Cousins for incident with fan

Former Kings center DeMarcus Cousins is in trouble with the league office again.

The NBA fined the Pelicans big man $25,000 for "directing inappropriate language towards a fan" during the final minutes of the team's season opener on Wednesday night against the Grizzlies.

The referee's heard the exchange between Cousins and the fan, and assessed a technical foul to Cousins. That technical foul was rescinded as part of the league's announcement Saturday.

After Wednesday's game, Cousins offered this explanation of the incident:

"That was pretty bogus, man. The ref, he sat there and heard (the fan) speaking to me in a very nasty way. I shouldn't have responded to it, but I'm a human being and I'm also a grown man. I'm not going to let another person just disrespect me. I felt (the ref) should have handled it, he decided not to, but he handled my end of it. I look forward to speaking to the league," Cousins told reporters, according to USA Today.

Cousins makes his first trip back to Sacramento since being traded by the Kings on Thursday, Oct. 26.

Gameday: Big underdogs, Kings face Nuggets looking for second straight win

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USATSI

Gameday: Big underdogs, Kings face Nuggets looking for second straight win

With a win over the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night, the Sacramento Kings are feeling good heading into their first back-to-back on Saturday. They’ll face a Denver Nuggets team that lost their season opener to the Utah Jazz and is looking for their first victory of the season.

The combination of George Hill and De’Aaron Fox at the point guard position was too much for Dallas to handle on Friday. Hill poured in 21 points, including two huge shots down the stretch and Fox came away with his first 10-assist game of his career.

Denver added veteran Paul Millsap in the offseason to match with rising star Nikola Jokic. Jokic struggled in the opener, but still managed to post seven points, eight assists and 12 rebounds. The Kings will have their hands full trying to slow the 7-footer.  

OPENING LINE:
Nuggets by 11

MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Willie Cauley-Stein vs. Nikola Jokic -- Cauley-Stein has posted back-to-back double-doubles to start the season and comes in averaging 15.5 points, 10.5 rebound and two blocks in 29 minutes per game. Jokic is one of the more versatile bigs in the game. He picks and chooses his spots to score, but his passing ability makes him a dangerous player.

WHERE THEY STAND:
Kings: 1-1

Nuggets: 0-1

INJURY REPORT:
Kings: SG Bogdan Bogdanovic (right ankle sprain) out, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out

Nuggets: No injuries to report

SERIES HISTORY:
These two teams split the season series last year and hold an identical 86-86 record against each other all-time. The Kings lead the Nuggets 65-63 during the Sacramento-era.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH:
MORE TIME FOR FOX - The Kings speedy young guard is showing that he’s ready to carry more of the load. In his first game, he posted 14 points and five assists. In Game Two, he set up his teammates for a team-high 10 assists while adding nine points and six rebounds. He’s averaged 25 minutes a game in the first two, but his play is already commanding more.

GIVING BUDDY SOME LOVE - Lost in the shuffle of the team’s first win was an nice all-around performance from Buddy Hield. The second-year guard was one of eight Kings to grab five rebounds or more against the Mavs, but Hield’s late board in traffic was probably the play of the night. If he can post more 13 point, six rebound, three assist games early in the season, he’ll find himself on the court more often than not.

MORE FROM SKAL NEEDED - Skal Labissiere has all the potential in the world, but he’s off to a quiet start through two contests. He needs to be more aggressive calling for the ball and continue to hit the glass hard. He’s averaging 10 points and 7.5 rebounds in 23 minutes per game, but one of those came with Zach Randolph on the shelf. He’ll need to earn minutes like everyone else on this team.

QUOTE:
“My coach has that much confidence in me, a 19-year-old kid to stay on the floor in crunch time, and when he has that confidence in me, my confidence goes up that much more.” -De’Aaron Fox on coach Dave Joerger sticking with him down the stretch in the Kings’ first win.