Kings

Kings look to bounce back in Toronto

638918.jpg

Kings look to bounce back in Toronto

KINGS (3-7) vs.
TORONTO (4-6)

The Sacramento Kings are still seeking their first road win of the season.Toronto may not be the easiest place for them to get it.The Kings attempt to bounce back from one of their worst performances of the season and beat the Raptors on the road for the first time in nearly eight years Wednesday night.Sacramento (3-7) has lost all four of its road games, averaging 85.8 points while surrendering 109.0 per game. It was more of the same for the Kings in the opener of their five-game trip Tuesday at Philadelphia, as they shot 39.5 percent from the floor en route to a 112-85 rout.
REWIND: Kings routed by 76ers 112-85
A visit to Toronto (4-6) wouldn't appear to be the ideal way to end the road skid since Sacramento hasn't won there since Feb. 22, 2004. The Kings have dropped seven straight at Air Canada Centre since, giving up a whopping average of 111.9 points.They lost 118-112 in their last visit to Canada on Jan. 9, 2011.Making the task tougher for Sacramento, leading scorer Marcus Thornton (18.7 ppg) may miss a second consecutive game due to a thigh injury. Former BYU star Jimmer Fredette got his first career start Tuesday in Thornton's place, finishing with seven points, three assists and three turnovers."We didn't have our regular rotation so the other guys had to make adjustments," coach Keith Smart said.Sacramento may have at least some reason for optimism after the Raptors fell 93-78 at Washington on Tuesday, losing to what had been the last remaining winless team in the NBA.They missed 16 of 20 3-point attempts against the Wizards and committed a season-high 23 turnovers - nine more than their previous average."Our disposition wasn't good coming out of the locker room to begin the game," said Toronto coach Dwane Casey, whose team must now play its third game in as many days. "You start turning the ball over and you can't recover from that and you can't get set up in your defense."
Andrea Bargnani led the Raptors with 22 points and continues to be one of the few bright spots for Toronto, averaging a team-high 23.5 points - nearly nine more than DeMar DeRozan - the team's second-highest scorer.
Bargnani has come up big in the Raptors; two home victories, scoring 31 points each time while totaling 16 boards.He's averaging 25.3 points and 7.7 rebounds in Toronto's last three home meetings with the Kings, including 30 points while shooting 12 of 19 in last season's victory.DeRozan had 28 points in that contest. He's totaled just 31 in his last four games after scoring 11 and missing 12 of 16 shots Tuesday.

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

harden-ap.jpg
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

Kings look to get healthy with opener just days away

kings-rockets.jpg
USATSI

Kings look to get healthy with opener just days away

SACRAMENTO - All hands on deck. The Sacramento Kings open the 2017-18 schedule Wednesday night against the Houston Rockets at Golden 1 Center and it looks like they might do so with a full arsenal of players at their disposal.

Point guard De’Aaron Fox returned to practice on Sunday and then participated in the team’s annual Fanfest. If his dance moves are any indication, the 19-year-old’s back is feeling just fine.

Veteran George Hill tweaked his groin Friday against the Golden State Warriors, leaving his availability for opening night in question. Hill, 31, who has a history of groin injuries, was on the court Monday practicing and said he is ready to play.

“Everything is feeling good right now,” Hill said Monday following practice.

The only player who didn’t practice on Monday is rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic, who sprained his right ankle against the Warriors. According to head coach Dave Joerger,  the team is hopeful that the Serbian sharpshooter will return in time for Game 1.

“We’re still shooting for Wednesday for both of them,” Joerger said of Hill and Bogdanovic.

New look Rockets

The Rockets went 55-27 last season under head coach Mike D’Antoni, but that didn’t stop them from going all in during the offseason. With MVP runner-up James Harden already manning the backcourt, Houston added nine-time All-Star Chris Paul as their new starting point guard.

“Leadership, he’s a floor general,” Hill said about Paul. “Anywhere he goes, he’ll make a team better. We know they were already a good team without him, coming in with him is going to be a bigger task.”

It’s a new look roster and the expectations are huge for the Rockets. Houston averaged 115.3 points per game last season and led the league in both 3-point attempts and makes. This season, they also added two strong perimeter defenders in P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute.

It’s a huge test coming out of the gate for Sacramento. Following the contest against the Rockets, the Kings hit the road for three straight before returning to Golden 1 next Thursday to face DeMarcus Cousins and the New Orleans Pelicans.


Camp notes

With the season just around the corner, the Sacramento Kings made their final roster cuts on Sunday afternoon. David Stockton, Matt Jones and Reggie Hearn were waived, leaving the Kings with 15 rostered players and two two-way players in Jack Cooley and JaKarr Sampson.

Stockton, Jones and Hearn are all expected to join the Reno Bighorns of the NBA’s G-League.