Kings

Instant Replay: Kings' late surge not enough, drop home stand opener to Heat

Instant Replay: Kings' late surge not enough, drop home stand opener to Heat

BOX SCORE

SACRAMENTO -- Consistently inconsistent. After a huge win against the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night, the Sacramento Kings overlooked a beat up 10-26 Miami Heat team Wednesday night on their home floor. The Kings rallied to erase a huge deficit late, but faltered down the stretch, losing to the Heat by a final of 107-102.

Tyler Johnson shook off a migraine that kept him out of Miami’s loss to the Suns on Tuesday and hit the Kings for 23 points on 7-for-11 shooting.  

Goran Dragic, the lone healthy starter for Miami, ran circles around the Kings. The veteran point guard dropped in 19 points and added seven assists in the win.

Former King James Johnson added 14 points, six rebounds and six assists before fouling out. Reserve Wayne Ellington hit 4-for-5 from deep on his way to 13 points and Luke Babbitt scored nine on a perfect 3-of-3 from 3-point land.

Welcome back Ty Lawson. Despite struggling with a facial fracture, the pint-sized point guard attacked Miami’s defense, energizing the Sacramento crowd with 15 points and six assists.

Garrett Temple has a knack for knowing what his team needs. Some nights it’s just defensive help. Against Miami, they needed him to spark the offense. The versatile, wing scored 15 points off the Kings bench on 7-of-11 shooting.

For the second straight night, Arron Afflalo looked like the Arron Afflalo of old. The veteran shooting guard has had his struggles this season, but he couldn’t miss against the Heat early, scoring all 15 of his points in the first half.

Anthony Tolliver gave the Kings a nice lift off the bench, scoring 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Sacramento’s second unit dropped in a season-high 61 points in the loss.

Both DeMarcus Cousins and Darren Collison struggled to find their games. Cousins finished the night with 13 points and six rebounds, but shot just 4-of-15 from the field. Collison chipped in 10 points and three assists.

Matt Barnes struggled early as well, but woke up in the final minutes to give the Kings quality minutes. The 36-year-old forward scored 12 points, grabbed seven rebounds and handed out five assists.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

In an NBA world where players miss games due to the smallest of ailments, Lawson shook off a broken face to lead the charge for Sacramento. He may not yet be the same player he was a few years ago in Denver, but he’s getting closer and he’s leading a very good Kings second unit.

TURNING POINT

Tyler Johnson’s circus shot basket and foul with 27.8 seconds remaining gave the Heat a three point lead and the Kings never scored again.

INJURY UPDATE

Rudy Gay missed his fourth straight and has now sat in 10 of the Kings previous 11 games with a right hip flexor strain. Despite suffering a maxillary sinus fracture on Saturday and then struggling with blurry vision on Tuesday night, Lawson returned to action off Dave Joerger’s bench.

WHAT'S NEXT

The Kings continue their season-long seven game homestand Friday night against the Los Angeles Clippers.

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.