Instant Replay: Kings beat Magic, make losing streak disappear

Instant Replay: Kings beat Magic, make losing streak disappear


SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings sat four veterans Monday night at Golden 1 Center, suiting up just nine players against the Orlando Magic. It didn’t matter. Behind a ruckus crowd, seven Kings scored in double-figures as the home team snapped their eight-game losing streak by a final of 120-115.

The Thin Towers put on a show. Starting together on the frontline for the first time, Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere gave fans a glimpse of the future in Sacramento.

Cauley-Stein went to work in the post, scoring 18 points and grabbing seven rebounds. Labissiere produced on both ends of the floor, coming away with 11 points, seven rebounds and four blocks in 20 minutes of action.

Veteran point guard Darren Collison orchestrated the offense, hitting the Magic for 19 points and 13 assists. His work with Cauley-Stein in the pick-and-roll opened up the perimeter shot for Sacramento’s shooters.

Anthony Tolliver made it rain from downtown, dropping in 5-of-7 from behind the arc on his way to 19 points and six assists.

Buddy Hield let it fly. The rookie shooting guard isn’t shy about hoisting up shots. Against the Magic, he finished with 17 points on 6-for-13 shooting from the field and added six rebounds.

Veterans Garrett Temple scored 14 points and grabbed two steals and Ben McLemore scored 14 on 3-for-6 shooting from long distance.

During the 2014 NBA Draft, the Kings chose Nik Stauskas over Elfrid Payton. Payton went two picks later to the Magic and in his third season in the league, he’s growing into a solid pro for Orlando. Monday against Sacramento, he pushed the tempo, finishing the night with a 13-point, 13-assist, 10-rebound triple-double.

Nikola Vucevic hurt the Kings in the post. The veteran big dropped in 23 points and added nine rebounds as the Magic fell to 24-44 on the season.

Evan Fournier got hot from the perimeter, scoring 21 points on 4-of-11 from deep. Aaron Gordon finished with 17 points and three rebounds and Mario Hezonja added nine off the Magic bench.

Sacramento dropped in 16-of-30 on the night, including makes from six different players. The ball movement was good and so was the spacing.

The short-handed Kings put on a gritty performance, using all 48 minutes to come away with the win and snap their eight-game losing streak.

Tyreke Evans missed the game with a sore left ankle. Kosta Koufos, Ty Lawson and Arron Afflalo all sat for “planned rest.” Rookie Malachi Richardson is out another week or two with a right hamstring thickness tear. Rudy Gay is out for the year with a torn left Achilles.

The Kings travel to Phoenix following the game where they’ll take on the Suns Wednesday in the first of three on the road.

Kings adamantly disagree with perplexing foul call at end of loss to Rockets

Kings adamantly disagree with perplexing foul call at end of loss to Rockets

SACRAMENTO -- Every time the Houston Rockets tried to pull away, the Sacramento Kings answered Wednesday night in the team’s home opener. It was a heavyweight contender throwing body blows at a 100-to-1 underdog riding a huge home crowd advantage.

And then the ref called the fight.

With the Kings trailing 98-95 with 26 seconds remaining, the Rockets attempted to inbounds the ball and George Hill made a play. From the video replay, it appeared that the ball tipped off the fingertips of Houston's Eric Gordon and the nearest official called Kings ball.

Hill and teammate Garrett Temple celebrated the turnover and the sold out crowd went crazy.

The play went under review and not only was the call overturned, but Hill was assessed a personal foul. Gordon went to the line and hit two freebies to give the Rockets a 100-95 lead and effectively ended Sacramento’s chances.

In the confusion of the moment, it turns out that an official on the opposite side of the court called a personal foul and the replay wasn’t to check on possession, but to determine which Kings player would be assessed a personal foul.  

The Kings can’t call shenanigans on the officials, the league has stiff penalties for that. But they seemed just as confused as everyone else in the building when asked about the call during postgame interviews.

“I could have swore that the refs pointed out of bounds, our ball, but they said they called a foul, so it is, what it is,” Hill said following the game.

Hill avoided digging himself a hole with the league and a potential fine as reporters tried to dig deeper. 

Head coach Dave Joerger gave an account of what the officials said following the call, but he too seemed perplexed by the play.

“That was a foul,” Joerger said of what the officials told him on the sidelines. “I adamantly disagreed. They said they called it at the time, which I didn’t see. So that was more my argument than whether it was a foul or not.”

Sacramento continued to compete in the final seconds, but they were forced to foul intentionally down the stretch and the Rockets were able to hold them at bay to come away with the 105-100 victory.

Gameday: Can Kings slow down Rockets from beyond the arc?


Gameday: Can Kings slow down Rockets from beyond the arc?

Sacramento rebooted the franchise at the trade deadline last season and begin anew this season with veteran additions Vince Carter, George Hill and Zach Randolph to compliment a bevy of young players. 

Houston reloaded in the offseason, adding nine-time All-Star Chris Paul and a veteran defenders P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute. They put on a show against the Warriors and look like one of the best the Western Conference has to offer once again. 


Rockets by 8


Kings defense vs. The 3-pointer -- Houston launched an incredible 180 3-point attempts versus Sacramento last season, hitting a robust 75 (41.7 percent) of those shots. It’s a new-look roster for the Kings, but they’ve had very little time to develop defensive chemistry. Dave Joerger and his staff will game plan to slow the Rockets perimeter game, but Mike D’Antoni has a deep group that comes at you in waves.


Kings: 0-0

Rockets: 1-0


Kings: SG Bogdan Bogdanovic (right ankle sprain) out, PF Zach Randolph (tooth) out

Rockets: PG Chris Paul (bruised right knee) questionable


The Rockets swept the Kings last season 4-0, including a 135-128 victory in the final week of the season. Houston leads the all-time series 124-88 and they hold an 83-42 advantage during the Sacramento-era. 


THE ROOKIES - The Kings walk into the 2017-18 campaign with five rookies on the roster, four of which should see time early in the season. De’Aaron Fox is the headliner, but don’t be shocked if Justin Jackson, Frank Mason and Bogdan Bogdanovic play important roles on this team.

ROTATIONS - With 10 new faces on the roster, Joerger needed more than an abbreviated training camp and six preseason contests. Expect the coaching staff to try different looks throughout the first 20 games of the season as they search for answers.

BALANCING THE ROSTER - Joerger has five veterans and 10 players with two years of experience or less. If he goes with the vets, fans will call for the rookies. If he plays the rookies and the losses stack up, fans will call for his head. It’s an unenviable position that will require patience and a little faith.


“I’m expecting a high-paced game. I feel like our fans are going to come out, they’re going to give us a lot of energy, playing a team as good as Houston is.” -De’Aaron Fox