(AP) -- While the Detroit Pistons have played well enough to move back into the Eastern Conference playoff mix in the Eastern Conference, struggles on the road against the West threaten to derail their momentum.Those woes have yet to extend to Sacramento.The Pistons continue a five-game trip Wednesday night when they visit the Kings.Detroit (15-27) has slowly turned things around after a miserable start, recording 11 of its 15 wins since the start of February.With four wins in six games, the Pistons have climbed back into the fringe of playoff contention. They are currently 11th in the East, three games behind New York and Milwaukee, which are tied for the final spot.However, the next few weeks could be difficult for Detroit, which lost 105-90 at Utah on Monday to open a five-game road tip against Western Conference opponents. The Pistons have lost 17 straight road games - five this season by an average of 15.4 points - versus teams from the West.Detroit, which has also dropped four straight on the road overall, plays eight of its next nine away from home.If there's a silver lining for the Pistons, it's that their last road victory versus the West came at Sacramento, a 100-94 win Nov. 14, 2010. They've won their last three road games against the Kings, and the last four overall meetings in the series.The Pistons let the Jazz connect on 7 of 11 3-point attempts and shoot 54.2 percent overall during Monday's loss. Detroit managed to close within two points of the Jazz in the fourth quarter despite those numbers, but Utah ended the game on an 18-3 run.Rodney Stuckey led the Pistons with 29 points while Greg Monroe added 14 in the defeat."We just weren't executing on the offensive end coming down the stretch," Monroe told the Pistons' official website. "Tonight definitely didn't turn out how we wanted it to. We have to go watch some tape, see what we did wrong, but we have a lot more games left on this road trip."After Wednesday, Detroit will visit Phoenix, the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver to close its trip. The best opportunity to win on the swing may come versus Sacramento (14-28), which has the second-worst record in the West.The Kings have lost six of eight and two straight, including a 115-89 home loss Tuesday to a Golden State team playing short-handed after trading Monta Ellis."We thought because they didn't have Monta Ellis and stuff, we thought it was going to be easy on ourselves," said Sacramento's Tyreke Evans, who had 16 points. "I thought we just stopped playing. They just got whatever they wanted."Tuesday's loss dropped the Kings to 2-2 on a franchise-record nine-game homestand, which had opened in promising fashion with wins over New Orleans and Dallas. They've been outrebounded in all four games while allowing opposing teams to shoot 50.3 percent.The Pistons defeated the Kings 114-108 at home Feb. 17, when Stuckey scored 36 points and Tayshaun Prince added 22 and 10 rebounds.
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.
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.
SACRAMENTO The Sacramento Kings announced Sunday that the team has requested waivers on guards David Stockton, Matt Jones and Reggie Hearn.
Stockton appeared in two contests for Sacramento during the preseason, averaging 11.5 points (9-13 FG, 3-4 3pt, 2-4 FT) and 5.0 assists in 16.3 minutes per game, including a game-high 23 points to accompany three rebounds, eight assists and two steals off the bench at Golden State (10/13).
Jones played in five exhibition games, posting 2.0 points, 1.0 rebounds and 11.7 minutes per contest.
Hearn appeared in one preseason game.
Kings media services