Kings' skid hits four with close loss in Utah


Kings' skid hits four with close loss in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Gordon Hayward scored a season-high 21 points and C.J. Miles added 20 as the Utah Jazz snapped a two-game losing streak, defeating Sacramento 96-93 and spoiling Jimmer Fredette's return to the state where "Jimmermania" began.Fredette had a chance to give the Kings the win with 4.2 seconds left, but launched an air-ball 3-pointer.Hayward's free throw sealed it for Utah (11-7).Tyreke Evans led Sacramento (6-14) with 31 points on 12-of-20 shooting.Fredette, a former Brigham Young star and last year's national player of the year, finished with 14 points and 3 of 5 from beyond the arc. But he was just 5 of 13 overall.The Kings were down 13 points in the fourth quarter, but Evans and Isaiah Thomas brought them back.Evans' 5-footer with 30 seconds left cut the lead to one, and after Devin Harris made one of two free throws for a 95-93 lead, the stage for Fredette. He missed.Fredette received a standing ovation from many fans during pregame introductions, with a few scattered boos.The reaction was mixed once the game started. Many booed every time he touched the ball, but when he hit his first 3-pointer with 1:29 left in the first, an equal number jumped to their feet.Late in the game, fans chanted "We Want Jimmer," and he re-entered.He had a chance to come up big in the state where he finished last season with a 28.9-point scoring average in guiding the Cougars to a 32-5 mark and a trip to the NCAA round of 16.Instead, it was another example of his up-and-down rookie season.Fredette was just 1 of 5 shooting in the first quarter, with 3 points and a steal. He started the second quarter with a turnover, dribbling the ball out of bounds, and spent the next 5 minutes on the bench.He finished the half strong, with a 3-pointer that pulled Sacramento within 45-41 and a crossover dribble where he blew by Al Jefferson for a driving layup.He finished the first half with 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting, including 2 of 3 from beyond the arc.Fredette acknowledged before the game that consistency was an issue, and Saturday was no different.While he hit early 3s, he also drove into trouble. He was swatted by Jefferson and rookie Enes Kanter, and had the ball stolen away by Earl Watson, Devin Harris and Miles.Utah's top two scorers struggled in the first half, with Jefferson hitting just 3 of 8 shots for eight points and Paul Millsap shooting 2 of 6 for six points.Still, the Jazz led by as many as nine points in the first half thanks to a 6-0 run on consecutive baskets by Derrick Favors, Miles and Hayward.The Kings came back, finishing the half on a 9-4 run to pull within 49-47 at halftime. Fredette started the run with a 3-pointer, and DeMarcus Cousins scored a pair of baskets.The Kings tied it at 56 early in the third. But Miles, staying in for injured Raja Bell, fueled a 9-0 run. Miles scored seven straight points, and Hayward capped it with a dunk.The Kings responded with their own 9-2 run, started by John Salmons and capped by Fredette's third 3-pointer that cut the deficit to 69-65.Utah came right back with another 9-2 run as Kanter blocked Fredette, and guard Earl Watson drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer for a 78-67 Jazz lead going into the fourth.Notes: Former BYU wide receiver Austin Collie, now a member of the Indianapolis Colts, was in attendance Saturday. ... Big man Chuck Hayes, who had missed the previous 11 games with a dislocated left shoulder, returned to action Saturday for Sacramento and played 20 minutes but did not score. ... Jazz guard Raja Bell left in the second quarter with strained right adductor and did not return. He finished with three points.

Kings look to get healthy with opener just days away


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


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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