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Kings seek fifth win in six tries facing Suns

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Kings seek fifth win in six tries facing Suns

(AP) -- After a win over the Western Conference leaders in their last game, the Sacramento Kings are feeling positive about the direction their young team is headed.The Kings look to win their fourth straight at home Saturday night when they take on the Phoenix Suns.Sacramento is in the midst of its best stretch of the season, winning four of five, and is coming off a 106-101 victory over West-leading Oklahoma City on Thursday.Tyreke Evans scored 22 points while DeMarcus Cousins added 19 points and nine rebounds.

The Kings (10-16) scored 28 points off 23 turnovers and had 17 offensive rebounds. It was the third time in four games they topped 100 points after reaching that mark just twice in the previous 22 games."We've improved as a team, we're on the right path now," Cousins said. "We're a lot better than our record shows. We've grown so much from the team we used to be."Cousins and Evans have both taken steps forward under coach Keith Smart. Cousins, who clashed with Paul Westphal before he was fired Jan. 5, is averaging 19.5 points and 14.8 rebounds over the last four games. Evans has averaged 21.4 points in the last seven games after putting up 15.9 per game to start the season."We're trying to build. These two guys are the stones right now," Smart said. "Now they're young and they get excited, but ... if they can keep this process up, we're going to get there."Sacramento, which improved to 7-4 at home with Thursday's win, has won three consecutive home games for the first time since a four-game run Nov. 25-Dec. 2, 2009.The Kings have yet to face Phoenix this season but have won three straight meetings after losing 17 of the previous 19.While Sacramento is feeling confident about its direction, the Suns (11-15) may have come away from their last game feeling like they took a step back.After winning three straight while averaging 100.3 points, Phoenix lost 96-89 at home to Houston on Thursday. The Suns were held to 13 points in the fourth quarter and were outrebounded 44-31."Such a winnable game for us," said Steve Nash, who had 13 assists and averages a league-best 10.1. "We didn't convert in so many areas, so it makes it a really disappointing loss. You're going to have cold patches but you've got to find other ways to stay in the game."The loss spoiled an otherwise good day for Nash, who was named to the All-Star team for the eighth time and became just the fourth player at age 38 or older to make it.Sacramento has certainly been witness to Nash's consistency over the years. In the last 10 games between the teams, he's averaged 23.9 points and 12.6 assists.While the Suns have struggled at home, they are playing better on the road, winning two straight and three of four. Phoenix will play its next three on the road."We're going to continue to work hard, go on this road trip and do the best we can," said Channing Frye, who had a season-high 21 points and 10 rebounds Thursday.Frye has made nine 3-pointers over the past three games after an eight-game stretch during which he went 4 for 23 from beyond the arc.

Kings look to get healthy with opener just days away

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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.

Kings waive three players days before season opener

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AP

Kings waive three players days before season opener

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. 

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