Kings

Instant Replay: Labissiere's career-high 32 leads Kings past Suns

Instant Replay: Labissiere's career-high 32 leads Kings past Suns

BOX SCORE

Sacramento Kings head coach Dave Joerger turned the ball over to his young core Wednesday in Phoenix and they delivered in shocking fashion. Led by rookie Skal Labissiere’s career night, the Kings outlasted the Suns to come away with the 107-101 win.

Labissiere showed off his entire arsenal against Phoenix. The 6-foot-11 power forward scored a career-high 32 points on 11-for-15 shooting, including 20 in the fourth quarter and added 11 rebounds in 30 minutes of action.

The starting frontline of Willie Cauley-Stein and Kosta Koufos produced numbers for coach Dave Joerger. Cauley-Stein stuffed the stat sheet, finishing the night with 14 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, four steals and four blocks, while Koufos chipped in 13 points and six rebounds.

Starting for Darren Collison, Ty Lawson attacked rookie Tyler Ulis, coming away with 11 points and six assists. Arron Afflalo scored 14 points and Langston Galloway provided a spark off the bench, knocking a pair of 3-pointers for eight points.

Devin Booker burned the Kings with a game-winner at the buzzer the last time these two teams met. He was back at it Wednesday night at Talking Stick Resort Arena, scoring 19 points on just 6-for-26 shooting.

Ulis has a future in the league. The pint-sized point started for Eric Bledsoe and scored 13 points and handed out a game-high 13 assists.

T.J. Warren dropped in 24 points on 12-for-16 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds and Alan Williams scored 14 points and picked up 10 rebounds.

Sacramento native, Marquese Chriss scored 17 points, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked five shots.  

STANDOUT PERFORMER:
Labissiere wasn’t just the best rookie on the court, he was the best player. The 20-year-old forward is showing there is more to his game everytime he steps on the court.

TURNING POINT:
The Suns stayed with the Kings all the way down the stretch, but in the end, Bookers shooting woes were too much to overcome, as was the strong play of Labissiere.

INJURY UPDATE:
Darren Collison and Anthony Tolliver missed the game due to “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.

WHAT'S NEXT:
The Kings travel have two days off before playing Saturday in a 12 pm start on the road against the Oklahoma City Thunder.  Following the game in OKC, the Kings fly to San Antonio where they face the Spurs on Sunday evening.

 

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?

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AP

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. 

BETTING LINE 

Rockets by 8

MATCHUP TO WATCH

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.

WHERE THEY STAND 

Kings: 0-0

Rockets: 1-0

INJURY REPORT 

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

Rockets: PG Chris Paul (bruised right knee) questionable

SERIES HISTORY 

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. 

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

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.

QUOTE

“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