Kings

Koufos takes blame, but Kings full of miscues down the stretch

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Koufos takes blame, but Kings full of miscues down the stretch

SACRAMENTO -- At 13-28, the Sacramento Kings have lost in a variety of ways. Slow starts doom them early. Poor shooting nights have happened, as has the occasional blow out. They’ve lost eight games by 20 or more points and even a 46 point stinker to the Atlanta back in mid-November.

On Thursday night at Golden 1 Center, the Kings battled back multiple times from double-digit deficits. They entered the fourth quarter trailing the Los Angeles Clippers 100-89, but didn’t go away.

Sacramento battled back, taking a one point lead on three separate occasions in the final frame. They were in the game all the way down to the wire.

And then for one of the few times this season, the game appeared to shift on one play. Down two with 15.2 seconds remaining, big man Kosta Koufos came up with a steal in the backcourt, giving Sacramento an opportunity to tie or go ahead.

Koufos put the ball on the floor to advance it to the mid-court line and then made a quick pass to point guard George Hill. In the blink of an eye, Tyrone Wallace flashed in front of Hill, taking the ball straight to the rim for a dunk and a four point Clippers lead with 10.9 seconds remaining.

“Sometimes that stuff happens at the end of games and you’ve got to wrap your arms around your teammate and love on them, because we’re all going to feel, like, terrible,” head coach Dave Joerger said following the 121-115 loss to the Clippers.

It’s a moment that hurts. It’s also a moment that overshadows so many other issues that played out over 48 minutes of basketball.

Zach Randolph missed a tip-in at 2:34 mark and then turned the ball over with 1:38 remaining.

George Hill missed two free throws in the final 1:10 of the game and went 1-for-6 in the final quarter.

Buddy Hield shot 1-of-5 from the field in the fourth and missed all three of his 3-point attempts.

“That can happen to anyone,” Bogdan Bogdanovic said. “Game is not with one mistake. We so many mistakes from beginning to start of the second half and end of the game. Kosta was in that situation. Could have been me, could be anyone else. That happened. That’s basketball.”

Koufos had a monster game for Sacramento. He posted his first double-double of the season, finishing with 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting and chipped in 14 rebounds. He was on the court in crunchtime because of his strong play.

Following the loss, the 7-footer got dressed early and then waited in his stall to answer to the media. He was visibly shaken by the final moments of the game, but he’s a pro’s pro.

“It was an error on my part, just tighten it up, that’s it,” Koufos said.

To add insult to injury, the highlights of the game played on the TV screens in the locker room moments later. When it came time to watch the turnover, Koufos couldn’t look away.

It’s a season of development for the Kings. Moments like this are going to occur, even for veteran players like Koufos.

In another of many scheduling anomalies this season, the Kings will get another shot at the Clippers Saturday afternoon at Staples Center. There’s no time to overthink a loss in the NBA. It’s onto the next game.   

Rumors revolving George Hill trade to Cavs are hot, heavy

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Rumors revolving George Hill trade to Cavs are hot, heavy

Is George Hill on the move? The rumors are hot and heavy Tuesday with both Brian Windhorst and Adrian Wojnarowski chiming in.

On this morning’s edition of The Jump, Windhorst gave Kings fans a familiar line.

“The are way down the road on a deal with Sacramento for George Hill... it's at the one-yard line," Windhorst said.

“At this point, I think they just have to have change,” Windhorst added of the Cavs.

Following the Windhorst update, Woj jumped in the fray with a tweet.

Hill has struggled to find a role with the Kings all season long after signing a three-year, $57 million deal with Sacramento over the summer. The Kings are paying the 31-year-old point guard $20 million this season, $19 million next and they have an $18 million team option in 2019-20 with a $1 million buyout.

Frye is in the final year of his contract with the Cavs. The 34-year-old center makes $7.4 million this season and has played just 11.4 minutes over 34 games for Cleveland this season.

Shumpert has played just 13 games this season for Cleveland due to a torn meniscus in his left knee. He makes $10.3 million this season with a player option for the 2018-19 season at $11 million. At 27-year-old, there is a chance he would opt out of his deal next season, which would save the Kings a lot of money.

Sacramento would have to either throw in an additional player or waive a someone to make the deal work.

This proposed deal is very similar to the options outlined here.

Gameday: Kings in Orlando looking to snap eight-game skid

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Gameday: Kings in Orlando looking to snap eight-game skid

Looking for a little luck. The Sacramento Kings have dropped eight straight and there appears to be no end to their season-long road trip. Next up on the docket is the Orlando Magic.

Sacramento made a game of it Monday night in Charlotte before falling late to the Hornets. They Kings’ youth movement is in full swing, but it’s been a bumpy ride. Skal Labissiere had a breakout 23 point game and De’Aaron Fox added 16 points and seven assists, but it wasn’t enough to snap the losing streak.

The Magic are coming off their biggest win of the season Sunday against the Celtics. They started the year 8-4, but Orlando is just 6-28 since. They are young and have plenty of pieces to build around, but they just can’t seem to put it all together.

BETTING LINE

Magic by 6.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Willie Cauley-Stein vs. Aaron Gordon -- In his fourth season in the league, Gordon is blowing up. The high flier is finally living up to his billing coming out of college, even showing newfound range from the outside. Cauley-Stein is finding his game as well. He’s a year behind Gordon in NBA experience, but this should be a fun matchup against two extremely long athletes.

WHERE THEY STAND

Kings: 13-33, last place in Pacific

Magic: 14-32, last place in Southeast

INJURY REPORT

Kings: PF Skal Labissiere (left shoulder strain) probable, PF/C Zach Randolph (sore left knee) out for season, PG Frank Mason III (right heel) out, Harry Giles (knee rehab) out for the season.

Magic: SF Jonathan Isaac (ankle) out, SG Terrence Ross (knee) out, C Nikola Vucevic (hand) out.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

Youth on Display -- Both of these teams are loaded with young talent. They are both struggling through the dog days of the NBA schedule, but they can beat anyone on any given night. It’s frustrating, but it’s the mark of a young team.

Build on Success -- The Kings haven’t had a lot of success as a team, but individually, we are seeing signs of growth. In the first 10 games of 2018, the minutes have increased and so have the numbers for the young core. It’s about team in the end, but the Kings need to see what they have.

Go for the Win -- Eight straight is brutal. Young players need to see that their hard work is paying off. Numbers are one way to judge improvement, but a win would do a lot to help the growth of this team.

SERIES HISTORY

The Kings and Magic split the season series 1-1 last season. Sacramento holds a 29-27 lead all-time over Orlando.