Kings

Kings fall to the Blazers 109-91

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Kings fall to the Blazers 109-91

BOX SCORE

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) The Portland Trail Blazers wanted to put Sunday's loss to Sacramento behind them as quickly as possible.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 28 points and 12 rebounds, and the Blazers beat the Kings 109-91 Wednesday night to earn their revenge.

"The way we played (three) days ago wasn't us," said Nicolas Batum, who had 18 points for Portland. "We wanted to get back on track against this team. It was so good to beat them in a big way."

J.J. Hickson added 17 points and 14 rebounds for the Blazers, who built a double-digit lead in the second quarter and then ran away from the Kings, leading by as many as 26 points. Rookie point guard Damian Lillard had 17 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds.

John Salmons led the Kings with 19 points. Reserve Isaiah Thomas had 12 points and Jason Thompson added 11. The Kings are 1-12 on the road this season - the only win coming Dec. 8 against the Blazers.

Portland has won nine of its last 10 games at home. The Blazers tied up the season series with the Kings after losing to them 108-96 on Sunday in Sacramento, which snapped the Blazers' five-game winning streak. Sacramento shot 56 percent from the field in that game, but after a good start Wednesday, went cold and shot just 40 percent for the game.

"We knew we got away from it in Sacramento," Lillard said. "We focused more on defense. The last game, we just lost it. They took us to the rim and got what they wanted on offense. We just had to make a point to play better defense."

Sacramento took a pounding in the post without leading scorer and rebounder DeMarcus Cousins, who did not make the trip despite being reinstated from an indefinite suspension.

Cousins had been suspended after an argument with coach Keith Smart during halftime of a game Friday. Cousins missed Sunday's game, but practiced Monday after the suspension was lifted. Still, Smart chose to keep him home Wednesday. Without him, the Kings were outrebounded 53-35.

"Obviously, everyone played well at home and we didn't have that tonight," Smart said. "They rebounded the ball well and got out on the fast break."

The Blazers took a 62-44 lead into halftime after an electrifying first half in which they shot 57 percent. The game was tied at 37 in the second quarter but Sacramento's turnovers and defensive breakdowns allowed Portland to go on a 25-7 run into halftime, punctuated by rim-shaking dunks by Hickson, Lillard and rookie center Meyers Leonard.

"They just got going and it's hard to stop a team that gets it going at home," Thomas said. "Especially when they have shooters and guys that can go to the hole and dunk."

Notes: The Kings have lost seven of their last nine in Portland. . . . Sacramento G Tyreke Evans sat out for the fifth straight game with a sore left knee that has kept him out of 10 games this season. . . . Portland was playing without G Wesley Matthews, who has missed two straight with a hip injury. . . . Hickson has nine straight double-doubles, the most for a Blazer since Kermit Washington in 1980.

Kings hit new low, issue apology to fans: 'We’re out there playing like crap'

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USATSI

Kings hit new low, issue apology to fans: 'We’re out there playing like crap'

No excuses, from top to bottom, the Sacramento Kings have to be better. After a three-game eastern swing that included blowout losses in New York, Washington and Atlanta by a combined 91 points, the Kings have hit a new low.

“We owe Sacramento, our fans, better than what we’re showing them, like tonight,” veteran point guard George Hill said following the team’s 46 point loss to the Hawks on Wednesday evening.

The Kings couldn’t buy a basket against Atlanta, shooting just 35.2 percent from the field. Poor offense led to even worse defense. Atlanta destroyed Sacramento in the pick-and-roll, turning journeyman Dewayne Dedmon into an All-NBA first teamer for one evening.

Dedmon is no Kristaps Porzingis. But for one night, the 28-year-old center who averages 4.7 points for his career, went off for 20 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, two blocks and two steals in just 23 minutes of action.  

“Losing is one thing, but we’ve got to do a better job of competing,” a clearly frustrated Dave Joerger told reporters following the loss. “You don’t have to be an a-hole to play a competitive, get in it, get after, aggressive basketball.”

Luke Babbitt doubled his season scoring average in the first half, hitting flat-footed wide open jumpers. It was reminiscent of what Courtney Lee did to the Kings during New York’s 27-point win Saturday.

Once Dedmon and Babbitt got it going, Dennis Schroder took over and the game quickly slipped out of control

“You can’t back down from it, we got our butt kicked and we have to take it on the chin ourself,” Hill said.

“Coach can only coach,” Hill added. “We’re out there on the court. As players, we have to take full responsibility of ourself. We’re out there playing like crap so that loss is on us as individuals and as players.”

So far this season, Joerger has allocated minutes evenly throughout his roster. Rookie De’Aaron Fox leads the team in minutes per game at 26.1, but 10 players average 18.7 minutes a night or more. It sounds like that is about to change.

“We’ve got a lot of nice guys,” Joerger said. “I love em, I love em, but we’ve got to find - I never said that I would split the minutes between 10 guys or 11 guys. I’m looking for guys who jump up and say, ‘You know what, I play so hard you should be playing me. I’m playing so well, you should be playing me.’ And we’re not getting that collectively right now.”

Slow starts have plagued this team throughout the season. The Hawks scored the first nine points of the game and by halftime, it was already a 29 point blowout.

The New York game started in similar fashion with the Knicks scoring the game’s first 10 points. Despite changes to the opening unit, the slow starts have almost become the norm.

The 46-point loss was the sixth worst in franchise history. Sacramento came into the night with a 10-game losing streak at Philips Arena, dating back to 2006, but Atlanta was just 2-11 on the season and hadn’t secured a home win before the Kings rolled through town.

Who is to blame? There is plenty to go around in a drubbing of this magnitude, but the woes so far this season will take more than a 14-game sample size to find a culprit or two. There are contributing factors coming into the season, but eventually, you have to look past a shortened training camp and 10 players with three seasons of NBA experience or less.

This is the squad the Kings will take into battle every game and they have to play better. Be it the Atlanta Hawks or the Portland Trail Blazers who roll into Sacramento on Friday evening, the effort and intensity has to increase or this is going to be a very long season of Kings basketball.

Gameday: Kings look to snap 10-game losing streak at Philips Arena

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AP

Gameday: Kings look to snap 10-game losing streak at Philips Arena

The Sacramento Kings’ search for answers takes them to Atlanta, where they’ll look to snap a two-game losing streak. Philips Arena has never been kind to Sacramento. The Kings have lost 10 straight at the home of the Hawks.
 
Through the early part of their schedule, the Kings have struggled with slow starts. They looked good coming out of the gate against the Wizards, but they fell apart in the third quarter. George Hill played well for one of the few times this season, but Sacramento needs more from their $19 million-a-year free agent acquisition.
 
Injuries have hurt Atlanta early, but so has a mass exodus of All-Star talent. Two seasons ago the Hawks won 48 games. They’ll be lucky to win 30 this year as they rebuild from the ground up.
 
BETTING LINE 

Hawks by 3.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH
 
George Hill vs. Dennis Schroder -- Hill is coming off one of his best games in a Kings jersey, scoring 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting against the Wizards on Monday. He’ll face a speedy Dennis Schroder, who is having a career year so far this season, posting a career-high 19.8 points and 6.7 assists. If Hill can get his offense going and stick with Schroder, the Kings have a shot to pick up a win on the road.
 
WHERE THEY STAND 

Kings: 3-10, fifth place in Pacific

Hawks: 2-12, fifth place in Southeast

INJURY REPORT 

Kings: F Vince Carter (kidney stones) is out, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out.

Hawks: F Ersan Ilyasova (knee) probable, PF Mike Muscala (ankle) questionable, F/C Miles Plumlee (quad) out, F DeAndre Bembry (wrist) out.
 
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
 
COMPETE -- The Kings have had their fair share of drubbings so far this season. They struggle from one quarter to the next and they sit at just 3-10 on the season. Atlanta isn’t a good team and if the Kings come out and compete, they have a strong opportunity to pick up their fourth win of the season and head home on a high note.
 
MORE HILL -- After averaging 2.3 points per game over his previous three, Hill broke out against the Wizards for 13 points in the first quarter and 16 points overall. If Hill could have matched his first half numbers after the intermission, the Kings might have had an opportunity to stay in the game a little longer. 
 
FIND A FEATURED PLAYER -- Someone needs to step forward and become a go-to guy. Zach Randolph has had moments, but the Kings don’t have a single player that requires a double-team, making offensive sets more difficult than they need to be. De’Aaron Fox has potential to be that guy, but he’s coming off the bench. Young or old, the Kings need a player to establish himself as a consistent threat.

SERIES HISTORY 
 
These two teams split the season series 1-1 last year, which each club protecting their home courts. The Hawks hold a 158-154 advantage all-time over the the Kings and lead the series 42-18 during the Sacramento-era.