Kings

Kings look to keep Pistons winless

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Kings look to keep Pistons winless

Programming note: Pistons-Kings coverage begins at 7 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California. Territory restrictions apply.

Coach Lawrence Frank is trying to get the Detroit Pistons to be more unselfish.

Getting their first win of the season would certainly make that a lot easier.

The Pistons look to break into the win column for the first time with their sixth consecutive victory over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.

Detroit (0-4) remained one of only two winless teams in the NBA after falling 109-97 at Denver on Tuesday.

"All the best teams are," Frank said of being unselfish. "Look, who's the most coachable player on the Spurs? Tim Duncan. Who's the most coachable player on the Celtics? Kevin Garnett. Who's the most coachable player in Oklahoma City? Kevin Durant. Who's most coachable player of the Miami Heat? LeBron James. This is not calculus. This is not trying to figure out the next Pythagorean theorem.

"This is easy: Your players have to unite and inspire by how they play. It's that simple."

Greg Monroe was one of the few bright spots Tuesday, scoring 27 points and grabbing 10 rebounds after totaling eight and seven, respectively, in a 29-point loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.

That production, however, was offset by Rodney Stuckey's continued struggles. He did score a season-high 17 points against the Nuggets, but shot 5 of 17 from the field and is 6 for 40 this season. Stuckey is averaging 6.8 points this season after scoring 14.8 in 2011-12.

"He will always be a big part of our success," Monroe said. "We need him to play like he did (Tuesday), attacking the goal, getting to the free throw line. It was good to see that."

Stuckey has averaged 25.0 points on 51.3 percent shooting over his last seven meetings with the Kings (1-3), totaling 71 points in the past two. He had 35 points with six assists and five rebounds while Monroe had 32 points and 11 boards in a 124-112 win at Sacramento on March 14.

The Pistons have won five in a row over the Kings, including four straight in Sacramento.

Detroit, though, has lost the first three games of this six-game trip, which continues at Oklahoma City on Friday before concluding at Houston a day later.

The Kings are looking to build on their first win of the season, beating Golden State 94-92 on Monday behind 23 points and 15 rebounds from DeMarcus Cousins.

Cousins has totaled 44 points and 28 boards in his last two games after he had 25 and 11 in the season's first two contests.

"I've started the season off pretty rough," Cousins said. "I know the way I play affects this team in a lot of ways."

Cousins has averaged 15.0 points and 9.5 rebounds in four career meetings against the Pistons.

After loss to Nuggets, it's clear Kings need to fix problem on the glass

After loss to Nuggets, it's clear Kings need to fix problem on the glass

SACRAMENTO -- Light in the rear. It’s a term the Sacramento Kings coaching staff has used since the beginning of training camp to describe the bigs on the roster. On Monday night at Golden 1 Center, the team’s lack of strength inside was on full display as the Denver Nuggets crushed them on the glass.

“I think we’re 29th in the league for rebounding, so that’s a little bit of our makeup of how our team is made,” Dave Joerger said following the Kings’ 114-98 loss.

Joerger is close in his assessment, but off by a few spots. His roster ranks 26th in the league in rebounding overall and 28th on the defensive side of the ball. It’s become an achilles heel for a team that has a few glaring weaknesses.

“When Willie (Cauley-Stein) and Kosta (Koufos) aren’t in there to snag every rebound, we have to get in there and help Zach (Randolph) and help Skal (Labissiere),” veteran Garrett Temple said. “Skal’s a little undersized in terms of weight and Z-Bo will put his body on people, but some people might be able to out jump him.”

On a normal night, Temple is right. Randolph and Labissiere struggle to put up big numbers on the glass. But against the Nuggets, it was Koufos and Cauley-Stein that combined to grab nine rebounds in 51 total minutes of action.

Randolph and Labissiere didn’t fair much better, finishing with 10 boards between the two of them in 38 minutes with the starters. Between the Kings’ four bigs, they were out rebounded by the Nuggets bigs by a final of 34-19.

The Nuggets came into the night a top 10 rebounding team overall and the second best offensive rebounding team in the NBA at 11.8 per game.

It’s not just the bigs that struggled to grab boards for Sacramento. Without Buddy Hield, the club’s best rebounding wing, the Kings’ were dominated 49-34 overall in rebounding, including 14-5 on the offensive glass.

“The first shot, it’s a good contest, we did everything right, except get the rebound,” rookie point guard De’Aaron Fox said. “And then they get an open shot off a second chance shot. If we can complete a lot of plays with the rebound, we’ll be okay.”

To Fox’s point, the defensive possession doesn’t end until the rebound is secured. Sacramento was outscored 19-6 on second chance points. In a 16-point game, those numbers loom large.

“Us guards, we know we have to help our bigs,” Fox said. “We know our bigs are athletic. We know they do what they do, at the end of the day, other team’s guards are helping their bigs rebound and their bigs aren’t alone.”

Outside of the four bigs, none of the other seven players to see action had more than three rebounds. It’s an issue that has to be addressed as the Kings move forward.

“There are some instances that really bothered me,” Joerger said. “We had some guys leaking out, standing at half court and that I won’t have.”

The Kings have a day of practice on Tuesday to try and sure up some of their issues. Some of the problems stem from inexperience, but some of the issue comes down to energy and effort.

It doesn’t even get easier on Wednesday. The Los Angeles Lakers rank second in the league in rebounding at 47.5 boards per game. On the plus side, they also give up the 28th most rebounds in the league.

Nuggets head coach Michael Malone suspended for game against Kings

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USATSI

Nuggets head coach Michael Malone suspended for game against Kings

Michael Malone won't be on the sideline when his Nuggets take on his former team on Monday night.

The NBA announced Monday afternoon that Malone has been suspended without pay for the game against the Kings.

The suspension stems from Malone "entering the court, halting play and making contact with a game official" during Denver's game against the Lakers on Sunday. The incident occurred midway through the second quarter.

Malone was hired as head coach of the Kings prior to the 2013-14 season. He was fired just 24 games into the 2014-15 season.

Coverage of the Nuggets and Kings gets underway at 6:30pm on NBC Sports California and streaming on the NBC Sports App.