Kings, Thornton look to slow down Denver


Kings, Thornton look to slow down Denver

KINGS (12-25) vs.
DENVER (21-17)Programming Note: Kings-Nuggets coverage begins at 6 p.m. tonight on Comcast Sportsnet California!
(AP) -- Though still short-handed, the Denver Nuggets appear to have moved past their recent struggles.A matchup with the Sacramento Kings might help push those woes further into the rear-view mirror.The Nuggets will try to record their fourth straight win overall and continue their mastery of the Kings on Monday night in Denver.Before its current three-game win streak, Denver (21-17) had won only four times in its previous 16 games. The Nuggets have turned their fortunes around with balanced efforts. At least six Denver players have scored in double figures in each of the three wins, with Ty Lawson averaging 20.7 points and 11.7 assists to lead the way.The point guard, who returned from a sprained left ankle at the beginning of the streak, had a team highs of 22 points and 11 assists in Sunday's 99-94 victory at San Antonio.While Lawson is healthy again, the Nuggets' streak has come while leading scorer Danilo Gallinari (foot), starting big man Nene (calf) and reserve Rudy Fernandez (back) are all sidelined by injuries."It's huge. Huge for us," Lawson said. "Especially having three rotation players and two starters out. But we're starting to jell."With 11 points in a little more than 15 minutes, Lawson was one of seven Nuggets to reach double figures in a 122-93 rout at Sacramento on Jan. 25. Three weeks earlier, the Nuggets drubbed the Kings 110-83 at the Pepsi Center.Denver has six in a row at home over Sacramento (12-25) and four straight in the series overall. The Nuggets would appear to have a good chance to continue both of those streaks, as the Kings have dropped nine of their last 11 games overall and are 4-19 on the road this season.They suffered their third straight defeat Sunday, losing 96-88 at Phoenix to fall to 0-2 on their current three-game trip. Sacramento scored 32 points in the first quarter but didn't produce more than 20 in any subsequent period and shot 33 percent in the second half.While the offense struggled, Kings coach Keith Smart was generally pleased with his team's play at the other end of the floor.
NEWS: Owner says Smart will return to coach Kings next season
"You're going to give up something," he said. "I thought our guys did a great job to maintain and do the things necessary, but we had a few breakdowns late."Marcus Thornton, with 21 points, was one of the standouts for the Kings in the loss, and he's averaged 19.9 over his last 16 games. The swingman, who sat out the Jan. 25 home loss to Denver because of a bruised left thigh, has scored a combined 50 points in his last two visits to the Pepsi Center, including 23 in the Jan. 4 loss.Nine Nuggets have scoring averages in double figures against the Kings this season, but those nine include all three injured players.

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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