Kings

Kings in Memphis to battle Grizzlies

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Kings in Memphis to battle Grizzlies

(APCSN) -- The Sacramento Kings were able to win just hoursafter DeMarcus Cousins was told to stay away from the team for apparentlydemanding a trade. However, the Kings' chances of remaining competitive in theWestern Conference likely increase with the second-year center in the lineup.
REWIND: Kings say DeMarcus Cousins demands a trade
The Memphis Grizzlies' hopes of making a second straightplayoff appearance could be dashed if Zach Randolph can't stay healthy. Cousins could miss a second consecutive game Tuesdaynight when the Kings try to avoid a fourth straight road loss to the Grizzlies,who could be without an injured Randolph.UPDATE: Report -- Cousins on team plane to Memphis
The Kings (2-3) have received solid production fromCousins, who is averaging 13.0 points and a team-best 11.3 rebounds, but he wastold to stay home Sunday by coach Paul Westphal after the team said he asked tobe traded following Saturday's 114-92 loss to New York. It wasn't the first outburst from the 21-year-old since Sacramento drafted himfifth overall in 2010. "Maybe it takes him a couple of more years toreally get it," veteran forward Chuck Hayes said after Sunday's 96-80victory over New Orleans."As good as he is talented, that's how emotional he is as well. You haveto have a short-term memory in this game. That's my young fella, my teammate.If he wants to come back everyone on his team would love to have him." Westphal said in a statement before Sunday's victorythat Cousins' return is "pretty much up to him," but it's uncertainwhen, or if, he'll be back in the Kings' lineup.
"He's a good player and we need him," guardTyreke Evans said after Sacramentowas outrebounded 60-41 on Sunday. On Monday, Cousins issued a statement, claiming he never demanded or requested a trade:
"I want to address my missing the New Orleans game Sunday. I have not demanded or requested a trade. I don't agree with the actions taken but will give my sincere effort to put it behind me and compete the best I can for my team."
The Grizzlies (1-3) need Randolphin the lineup after they were outrebounded 55-40 in Sunday's 104-64 loss at Chicago. Randolph finished with two points and threerebounds after leaving late in the first quarter with a bruised right knee. "This loss had nothing to do with Zach goingdown," coach Lionel Hollins said following the team's most lopsided defeatsince falling 111-66 in Chicagoon Jan. 13, 2007. "We were getting beat up then." The Grizzlies could use Randolphon Tuesday after he averaged team highs of 26.5 points and 13.8 rebounds as Memphis took three of four from Sacramento in 2010-11.
Even if he doesn't play, the Grizzlies could get a niceboost with the return of starting point guard Mike Conley, who has missed thelast two games with a sprained left ankle. Conley averaged 9.8 points and 6.0 assists last seasonagainst the Kings.
RELATED: NBA standings
In Sacramento's last game at FedEx Forum, Randolph had27 points and 15 rebounds and Conley added 12 points with eight assists as theGrizzlies clinched the West's final playoff spot with a 101-96 victory April 8.Memphishad its best offensive performance of the season in the Kings' previous visit,a 120-92 win Feb. 26. Evans, who played one season at the University of Memphisbefore being drafted fourth overall by Sacramentoin 2009, scored a season-high 27 points Sunday. He is averaging 22.0 points,6.5 boards and 5.0 assists in two games visiting the Grizzlies. Memphis has won 11 of 14at home against Sacramentosince the beginning of the 2003-04 season.
STATS LLC and the Associated Press contributed to his report

Gameday: Kings open homestand against shorthanded Nuggets

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AP

Gameday: Kings open homestand against shorthanded Nuggets

SACRAMENTO -- Home cooking. For the first time this season, the Sacramento Kings will play three straight games at Golden 1 Center, beginning Monday evening against the Denver Nuggets. In a scheduling anomaly, the Kings have already played three three-game road trips and 10 of their first 16 games away from home.

Denver is coming off a 127-109 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. They’ll take on a young Kings team on the second night of a back-to-back and they’ll have to do so without both of their starting forwards.

Expect plenty of small ball, three guard sets as the Nuggets try to turn up the pace and run the Kings off the floor.

BETTING LINE

Nuggets by 6

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Willie Cauley-Stein vs. Nikola Jokic -- Since being relegated to the bench two games ago, Cauley-Stein has become a monster. He’s posted 20 points and 9.5 rebounds over his last two outings and seems to have found himself with the second team. After a slow start to the season, the Joker has found his game. He’s posting 15.6 points, 11.3 rebounds and a team-high 4.5 assists. Jokic is one of the best passing bigs in the NBA and he’s knocking down 41.5 percent of his three-balls.

WHERE THEY STAND

Kings: 4-12, fifth place in Pacific

Nuggets: 9-7, third place in Northwest

INJURY REPORT

Kings: SG Buddy Hield (sprained ankle) out, F Vince Carter (kidney stones) out, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out until January.

Nuggets: SF Wilson Chandler (low back) out, PF Paul Millsap (left wrist) out.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

FINDING THE BOTTOM OF THE NET -- While Cauley-Stein has flourished with the reserves, Skal Labissiere has fallen on hard times with the starters. The second-year big has taken plenty of high quality shots, they just don’t want to settle in. He’s too talented of a player to continue missing shots, but over his first two starts, he’s hit on just 1-of-15 from the field and scored three total points. The Kings could use a breakout performance from their starting power forward.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR OPPORTUNITY -- Frank Mason has played roughly 21 minutes per night since Dave Joerger shook up his lineup last Friday. He’s done a nice job of holding down the reserve point guard minutes while George Hill has shifted to the shooting guard spot. The Kings need their rookie to continue to grow into his role and supply leadership with the second unit.

CONTINUE TO BUILD ON THE DEFENSIVE END -- For stretches over the last two games, the Kings have looked like a defensive juggernaut. They are long, quick and athletic. They need to find a way to hit shots to stay in ball games, but the effort has been there, especially on the defensive end.

SERIES HISTORY

Denver leads the season series 1-0 after an early season win at the Pepsi Center. The Nuggets hold a slim lead the all-time series 89-88, but the Kings are up 65-64 during the Sacramento-era.

Gameday: Kings go for home-and-home sweep of Blazers sans sharpshooter

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AP

Gameday: Kings go for home-and-home sweep of Blazers sans sharpshooter

Rinse and repeat. After shocking the Portland Trail Blazers Friday evening at Golden 1 Center, the Sacramento Kings hopped on a plane where they’ll face the same team on the second night of a home-and-home back-to-back.

Dave Joerger shook up his lineup on Friday, installing De’Aaron Fox and Skal Labissiere for Bogdan Bogdanovic and Willie Cauley-Stein. The Kings responded with their best defensive effort of the season. Cauley-Stein went off for 22 points and 10 rebounds with the second unit and his defensive effort was next level.

The Blazers have become a two-man wrecking crew. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum score the bulk of the team’s points on a nightly basis, but coach Terry Stotts is still searching someone who is ready to step up and help. Jusuf Nurkic is part of the puzzle, but the Blazers need more consistency from the other 12 players on the roster.

BETTING LINE:
Blazers by 12

MATCHUP TO WATCH:
De’Aaron Fox vs. Damian Lillard -- Fox put on a defensive show against Portland at Golden 1 Center. The rookie came into the league with high-end potential as a two-way player and he showed it against Lillard, holding the All-Star point guard to 29 points, but on 9-of-25 shooting. Lillard loves to hoist up shots. If Fox can't provide the same pressure, the Kings will struggle to keep up with the Blazers.

WHERE THEY STAND
Kings: 4-11, fifth place in Pacific

Trail Blazers: 8-7, third place in Northwest

INJURY REPORT:
Kings: SG Buddy Hield (sprained ankle) out, F Vince Carter (kidney stones) out, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out until January.

Trail Blazers: F Al Farouq Aminu (ankle) out, G C.J. Wilcox (knee) out, PG Wade Baldwin (thumb) out.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH:
CONSISTENCY -- You can’t show flashes of brilliance and then take a step back. The Kings defensive effort and overall intensity won the game on Friday night. It’s a place to build from.

FINDING A ROLE -- Joerger shook up everything when he turned to Fox and Labissiere. Offensively, both players struggled, as did Bogdanovic off the bench. This group of young players needs to find a role and figure out a way to help the team, even when the shots aren’t falling.

GET DEFENSIVE -- Portland didn’t know what hit them Friday evening, but they’ll have a few hours to make adjustments. Sacramento’s bigs showed on every high screen and roll. The guard and wing play was aggressive and spot on. The Kings are young and energetic. If they can focus that energy on the defensive end night in and night out, they might have a chance to build something.

SERIES HISTORY:
Sacramento leads the season series 1-0 after Friday night’s win. The Blazers lead the all-time series 129-78 and they own the Kings during the Sacramento-era 88-47.

QUOTE:
"Whether you think the sky is falling or not, we are 3-3 in our last 6 games." - Dave Joerger