Kings

Manic loss a teaching moment for Kings: 'It’s a game of runs'

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USATSI

Manic loss a teaching moment for Kings: 'It’s a game of runs'

LOS ANGELES -- It was manic Tuesday at Staples Center. Two young teams desperately trying to find their way in the NBA played an erratic, wild and mostly entertaining game. In the end, the Los Angeles Lakers found a way to come out on top, besting the Sacramento Kings by a final of 99-86.

“It’s a game of runs,” De’Aaron Fox said. “We would go on a run, they went on a run, we went on a run, they went on a run - they made the last run and they kind of just sustained it.”

Those words flew out Fox’s math so quickly they almost blurred together. The 20-year-old point guard almost captured the entirety of the game in a two-second sound bite.

The Lakers came out firing in the first quarter, taking an 18-point advantage over the Kings before the players could even break a sweat. And then they gave it all back.

Sacramento trailed by just four going to the second quarter and then took a lead at the 7:51 mark of the period on a Bogdan Bogdanovic layup. Los Angeles surged ahead again, but escaped the half with just a 53-52 lead.  

“The whole game was a lot of changes on the scoreboard, but that’s something we got to learn,” Bogdanovic said. “First of all, we can’t start that bad. And second, when you’re in a tie game, you have to keep pressuring them and play like we (did) to tie the game.”

The Kings jumped all over the Lakers in the early third, using a 12-3 run to take a 64-56 lead. It was short-lived as veteran big man Brook Lopez started dropping in haymakers from behind the arc.

An eight-point lead turned into a 13-point deficit in less than seven minutes of game action. The Kings made strides to end the third, but they still trailed by 10 going to the final frame.

Sacramento bit into the Lakers lead on multiple occasions in the fourth, even pulling within five at the 9:16 mark of the quarter. But they spent too much energy chasing down the home team and didn’t have enough in the tank to complete the comeback.

“We are still young, we’re still learning,” Bogdanovic added. “This is also something new for us. I know we have some games that we play and we start bad. Some of the games, we never come back through the end of the game. So there is something positive from this game too.”

Bogdanovic has a point. The Kings have trailed big in plenty of games this season and folded up shop early. They put up a fight against the Lakers after falling behind big early.

Despite forcing 26 turnovers and coming away with 15 steals, the Kings couldn’t buy a basket, shooting just 34.5 percent on the night. All things considered, the score could have been much more lopsided.

Bogdanovic tied his career-high with 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting. He and big man Kosta Koufos are the only players on the Kings roster to shoot above 50 percent on the night.

The Kings will look to snap their two-game skid Thursday evening when they host the Clippers at Golden 1 Center.

Hill to the Cavs? The best and biggest deal for the Kings is...

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USATSI

Hill to the Cavs? The best and biggest deal for the Kings is...

Is the George Hill era in Sacramento coming to and end? According to Shams Charania, the Kings might have an interested party in the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Hill signed a massive three-year, $57 million deal with Sacramento over the summer, but has yet to live up to the contract. Through 37 games, Hill is posting 10.5 points and 2.7 assists per game for Sacramento. Those numbers are down from 16.9 points and 4.2 assists he averaged last season as a member of the Utah Jazz.

If a deal between the two teams is going to happen, it might be more complex than just shipping the 31-year-old to Cleveland on the next flight. Here is a look at a couple of possibilities without going into potential 3-way deals.

BEST DEAL FOR KINGS

Kings receive: Jae Crowder (3-years, $22 million), Iman Shumpert (2-year, $21.4 million - year-two a player option at $11 million)

Cavs receive: George Hill (3-year, $57 million), Malachi Richardson (2-year, $3 million with team option for third year)

Why Kings make deal: They land a very serviceable forward that instantly fills the team’s biggest need. At 27-years-old, Crowder is affordable and under contract for another two seasons, although he’s really struggled in his first season in Cleveland. Shumpert is coming off an injury and would likely opt out of his final year.

Why Cavs make deal: Hill instantly improves their backcourt. He can play the one of the two either as a starter or off the bench. Giving up tow wings might not be the best option, but Sacramento is going to want something of value back. Richardson is thrown into the deal to make salaries match.

BEST DEAL FOR CAVS

Kings receive: Channing Frye (1-year, $7.4 million) Iman Shumpert (2-year, $21.4 million - 2018-19 contract a player option at $11 million)

Cavs Receive: George Hill (3-year, $57 million), Malachi Richardson (2-year, $3 million with team option for third year)

Why Kings make deal: Kings give up an asset in Richardson, but they shed Hill’s $19 million owed for 2018-19 season. If Shumpert opts in, the Kings still save $8 million off the books for next season.

Why Cavs make deal: Basically, they land Hill for a couple of spare parts. Richardson is

BIG DEAL

Kings receive: Jae Crowder (3-years, $22 million), Channing Frye (1-year, $7.4 million) Iman Shumpert (2-year, $21.4 million - 2018-19 contract a player option at $11 million)

Cavs receive: George Hill (3-year, $57 million), Kosta Koufos (2-year, $17 million with player option for second year), Malachi Richardson (2-year, $3 million with team option for third year)

Why Kings make deal: They land Crowder and a get out of jail free card on Hill’s contract. Koufos can opt out of his deal at the end of the season and the Kings get nothing. Throwing in Richardson isn’t ideal, but the Kings are deep at the two and they have to match roster spots.

Why Cavs make deal: They get an upgrade in the backcourt in Hill. They are also rumored to be in the market for a big and Koufos is a much more affordable option than DeAndre Jordan.

Bogdan Bogdanovic breaks his shell early in 2018, 'he’s able to do everything'

Bogdan Bogdanovic breaks his shell early in 2018, 'he’s able to do everything'

He’s not really a rookie. After playing for years overseas, Bogdan Bogdanovic has proven very quickly that he is an NBA player. Midway through his first season in the league, the 25-year-old Serb is finding his stride. 

From the moment he stepped on the floor in Sacramento, Bogdanovic showed flashes of something special. You could see early on that he was trying to fit in and make nice with his teammates, but the honeymoon phase is over. Bogdanovic is no longer holding back.

For the third time in the new calendar year, Bogdanovic set a career-high in scoring on Wednesday evening. He dropped in 25 points on 9-of-11 shooting, including a perfect 6-of-6 from long range. 

“I’ve said it all year, he’s not really a rookie, he’s been playing pro ball for so many years,” De’Aaron Fox said of his backcourt mate. “He definitely doesn’t play like a rookie. He brings the intelligence, the savvy, the shooting - defensively, he gets after it. He’s able to do everything for us.” 

He’s pushed his season numbers up to 11.5 points, 2.8 assists and 2.7 rebounds in 26.6 minutes per game. Bogdanovic has also raised his shooting percentages drastically as the season has progressed, knocking down 48.8 percent from the field and 41.3 percent from behind the 3-point line. 

In eight games in January, Bogdanovic has taken his game to another level. He’s hit the opposition for 16.3 points, 3.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds in 30.6 minutes a game. Dave Joerger has come to rely on the former Fenerbahce star, even giving him starts in the last two games since the youth movement was officially put into motion.

“I’m working every single day as hard as I can, I’m trying to be the best version of (myself).” Bogdanovic said following the team’s loss to Utah on Wednesday.

It’s a small sample size, but Bogdanovic’s shooting numbers in 2018 are off the charts. He’s hitting 54.8 percent from the floor, a stunning 58.3 percent on the 3-ball and 92.3 percent from the line.

With All-Star weekend on the horizon, Bogdanovic has likely earned his way into an invitation for the Rising Stars Challenge. Amongst rookies, he’s currently seventh in scoring, fourth in 3-point percentage, eighth in field goal percentage and sixth in steals. 

Sacramento’s 2017-18 season is about sifting through the young players and figuring out what they have. It appears the Kings have found a keeper in Bogdanovic.