Kings

Kings lose 113-96 in Memphis

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Kings lose 113-96 in Memphis

BOX SCORE
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) The Grizzlies wanted to put the blowout loss from their last game behind them, and the Sacramento Kings paid the price for Memphis' recovery.Rudy Gay scored 23 points, Sam Young added 20 and the Grizzlies beat the Kings 113-96 on Tuesday night.Memphis' performance was a big improvement from its lackluster 104-64 loss at Chicago on Sunday."We had to get it out of our mind," said guard Mike Conley, who scored 14 points in his return from an ankle injury. "That was a terrible way to lose. We just didn't put forth the effort. But I think we did a good job of putting it in the back of our mind. New day, new game."O.J. Mayo had 16 points, Marc Gasol also scored 14 and Tony Allen had 10. Gasol also had 15 rebounds as Memphis outrebounded Sacramento 49-41."The crazy thing about (Chicago), we didn't even do any partying or anything the night before to celebrate the New Year," Mayo said. "We tried to keep it professional, and still came out and got beat by 40. This definitely was a great win to get coming back home."Jimmer Fredette scored 17 points and fellow rookie Isaiah Thomas had 15 to lead Sacramento as the Kings' reserves got extended minutes with Memphis leading by double digits for a bulk of the second half."(I did it) for two reasons," Kings coach Paul Westphal said of playing the bench. "One is that we had a lot of offensive firepower on the floor with Jimmer and Isaiah and (Francisco Garcia). We were able to spread to floor and have a lot of 3-point shooting and get penetration. I thought the best chance to get back in the game was to crack open a few steals and get some threes."If that did happen, we would have our starters fresh for the last 5 or 6 minutes. If it didn't happen, they would be rested for dinner."J.J. Hickson was the only Sacramento starter to reach double figures, scoring 12 points. Travis Outlaw added 11. The Kings' starting backcourt of Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton combined for only 14 points on 6 of 18 shooting.Memphis finished 55 percent from the field, led by Gasol's 7 for 10, Mayo at 8 of 11 and Gay 10 for 16. Part of that came from Memphis controlling the paint 72-46.The Kings shot 41 percent.DeMarcus Cousins came off the bench, as expected, after missing Sunday's game against New Orleans when Westphal told him to stay away from the team. Cousins finished with four points on 1-for-5 shooting in 22 minutes."I thought we were coming off the bench well," Cousins said. "Once I got a little sweat, I was into it. I don't know why I'm missing all these little putbacks. I am missing them, so I have to keep working."The Kings were down 17 points early and rallied to tie the score at 50-all in the final minute of the first half. However, Gay's tip at the buzzer gave the Grizzlies a two-point lead at the break."I thought Rudy Gay was a double handful for us throughout the first half and into the next quarter," Westphal said.Gay scored 15 points in the first half, and no Kings player was in double digits. Both teams committed eight turnovers, but the Kings shot 12 for 18 in the second quarter to get back into the game."In the first half, we went up, we let back up. We went up, we let back up," Young said. "In the second half, it seemed like we were more focused and played our way of basketball with more consistency."Memphis then had a 9-0 run in the early minutes of the third quarter and the Kings never threatened the rest of the way.The Grizzlies got their offense back on track, scoring off turnovers and getting out on the break. They also started controlling the boards as they extended the lead to 23 late in the third quarter, eventually holding an 87-68 advantage heading into the fourth."In the second half, we ran off a 35-18 lead (in the third quarter), and we kept getting stop after stop," Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. "When we do that and rebound, we are able to run."NOTES: Before the game, Westphal said of the Cousins situation, "I wouldn't say it's resolved. We will see how it plays out. I think DeMarcus has to continue to show maturity and a desire to go the same direction as his teammates. We're all hoping that happens." . Conley returned after missing two games with a sprained left ankle he injured in the second game of the season. .The Kings were playing the opener of their only stretch of three games in three days during the compressed season. It was also the third of five games in six nights. .During the game, it was announced that Gene Bartow, who served as president of Hoops LLC, the parent company of FedExForum and the Grizzlies, and a Hall of Fame college coach, passed away after a long battle with cancer.

Gameday: Kings visit imploding Suns

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USATI

Gameday: Kings visit imploding Suns

The Sacramento Kings finish their three game road trip Monday in Phoenix. Waiting for them is a team in complete disarray. After dropping the first three games of the season, Phoenix dumped head coach Earl Watson Sunday afternoon and are reportedly in trade talks to deal starting point guard Eric Bledsoe. Jay Triano will act as the interim head coach, but he’s taking over a runaway train.

Sacramento lost to the Denver Nuggets on Saturday evening to drop to 1-2 on the season. De’Aaron Fox and Skal Labissiere came to play, but the rest of the roster struggled with their shot as the Kings finished with just 79 points on 36.5 percent shooting.

The Suns have been outscored by more than 30 points per game in their three contests this season. They have lost games by 48 and 42 points already and almost every player on the roster has underperformed.

BETTING LINE

Kings by 2

WHERE THEY STAND

Kings: 1-2

Suns: 0-3

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Skal Labissiere vs. Marquese Chriss -- Labissiere has been a breath of fresh air early in the season, posting solid numbers across the board as Zach Randolph’s backup. He posted a career-high 32-point, 11-rebound game against Chriss last season, which left a lasting impression. Chriss is off to a slow start, but he has plenty of potential. The Sacramento-native gets up and down the floor and loves the over the top block.

INJURY REPORT

Kings:  SG Bogdan Bogdanovic (right ankle sprain) probable, PF Harry Giles (bi-lateral knee rehab) out.

Suns:  PG Eric Bledsoe (team decision) out, SF Jared Dudley (toe) questionable, PG Brandon Knight (ACL tear) out for the season, G Davon Reed (knee) out, PF Alan Williams (knee) out.

SERIES HISTORY

Sacramento dominated the season-series 3-1 last season, including a 129-104 win over the Suns in the finale. Phoenix leads the all-time series 131-90 and they hold an 84-51 advantage during the Sacramento-era.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

BOGDAN’S DEBUT -- The Kings have used the cautious approach to Bogdan Bogdanovic’s ankle injury. He’s played a ton of basketball between league play and EuroBasket overseas and there is no reason to rush him into action. He’ll likely suit up to play Monday against the team that drafted him in the 2014 NBA Draft. Expect to see lots of the 25-year-old Serbian over the next few months. Word around the team is that he is one of the best players on the squad.

MORE FOX -- Sacramento hit a homerun with the addition of De’Aaron Fox on draft night. The rookie has put on a show in his first three games and is pushing coach Dave Joerger for more playing time. The Kings have plenty of guards and wings, but there hasn’t been a player that can stay in front of Fox.

REBOUND FROM A STINKER -- The Kings couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a boat against the Nuggets. Playing at elevation is tough, but scoring 79 points is unacceptable. Sacramento has a chance to improve to 2-2 on the season in Phoenix before returning home to face DeMarcus Cousins. A 2-1 road trip would go a long ways towards building the confidence of a young squad.

QUOTABLE

“Whatever coach wants me to do, that’s what I’m going to do out there. I’m just going to go out there and play hard and help this team get a win.” --Skal Labissiere

Report: After starting 0-3, Suns fire head coach Watson on eve of Kings game

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USATSI

Report: After starting 0-3, Suns fire head coach Watson on eve of Kings game

Drama. The Sacramento Kings have done their best to avoid the non-basketball related issues that often come with the NBA game, but they’ll walk into someone else’s firestorm Monday night in Phoenix.

The Suns have fired head coach Earl Watson just three games into the 2017-18 season, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Phoenix has dropped all three contests, including a 48-point loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on opening night and a 42-point defeat at the hands of the Clippers on Saturday.

Before the firing, veteran point guard tweeted out a message that has since gone viral.

Whether Bledsoe was referring to Watson or his impending release is unknown at this time. 

Watson leaves with a 33-85 record in parts of three seasons with the Suns. He took over for Jeff Hornacek midway through the 2015-16 season. According to Wojnarowski, Suns ownership and management is currently meeting with the team’s assistant coaches and Jay Triano is likely to be named interim head coach.