Rewind: Kings turn the page quickly to snap losing streak

Rewind: Kings turn the page quickly to snap losing streak

Sometimes getting embarrassed is just what the doctor ordered. After getting smoked by the Bucks on Saturday night, the Sacramento Kings looked like a completely different team in Toronto. Maybe they gleaned something from the 26-point loss in Milwaukee. Or maybe they were just tired of losing.

Whatever switch was hit, the Kings came out and stunned the Raptors, beating the home team 96-91 before boarding a flight and heading back to the friendly confines of the Golden 1 Center.

“We turned a page on last night’s game, we got better from that,” veteran Rudy Gay said following the Kings’ big win. “We came out here today and competed.”

Gay missed the Bucks game with a rib cartilage injury and was listed as doubtful to start Sunday morning. But he decided to test how he felt in pregame and gave coach Dave Joerger a tremendous 35 minutes of court time.

“I did not expect him to play and he strapped them up and made some big shots down the stretch,” Joerger said during his postgame scrum.

The 30-year-old wing has been tremendous early in the season for Sacramento and Sunday was no different. He finished the night with 23 points, including a pair of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter that gave the Kings a fighting chance.

“We played with energy,” Gay said. “Watching last night I didn’t see that at all. I just wanted to make an effort today to try and use my energy as much as I could. We’re a much better team when we play with passion.”

“I feel a lot better now that we won,” Gay added with a smile.

It was a team effort with four players scoring in double-figures and another two finishing the night with eight points. But where the Kings really excelled was on the defensive end where they held a very good Raptors team to just 35.7 percent from the field and outrebounded the home team 47-43.

“You’ve got to want to rebound,” 36-year-old Matt Barnes said.

Cousins led the way with 14 boards, but Barnes chipped in 10, Kosta Koufos added six and both Gay and Arron Afflalo finished with five apiece.

Sacramento’s early season schedule has been brutal. Their eight games in 12 nights, including six on the road, is tops in the league. And all of those contests without their starting point guard Darren Collison who returns to action Tuesday after serving his eight-game league mandated suspension.

“Our mindset is just to keep coming after them and I’m really proud of our guys,” said Joerger. “It’s been a tough road trip and it feels good to finish with a win.”

Joerger is still searching for the right combination of players. Willie Cauley-Stein and Ben McLemore drew the short straw against the Raptors, both sitting out as healthy scratches. Omri Casspi played just nine minutes and veteran Jordan Farmar logged 10 minutes as Joerger went to a tight nine man rotation.

“We’ve got some good players on this team,” Gay said. “Everybody’s capable of having big nights. That’s another thing we have to do. We have to spread the ball out and give everybody a chance.”

Arron Afflalo played a solid 36 minutes at the two, scoring 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting. He was one of a small group of players that was asked to guard high-scoring DeMar DeRozan, who was limited to just 23 points on 7-of-20 shooting after coming in averaging nearly 36 per night.

Cousins struggled from the field, but still managed to 22 points on 7-of-21 shooting. Koufos added 13 points, which is a high for the nine-year vet this season. It was a collective effort for a group that looked absolutely defeated less than 24 hours earlier.

“We can’t put our heads down and that’s kind of what’s happened on the trip,” Joerger explained. “We’ve taken a couple of hits and we’ve struggled to come down and execute and get a shot we want or we turn it over and heads get down. Guys made some shots, we kept battling and we were rewarded in the end.”  

The Kings don’t have time to celebrate the win. They boarded a plane for Sacramento following the game where they will take on the Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans Tuesday night, followed by a matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.

After a rough trip, they now stand at 3-5 on the season. It wasn’t exactly a statement game, but certainly one the team can try to build off of.

“I think it just shows what we’re capable of,” Matt Barnes said. “Out of all the team’s we beat the best team after a back-to-back. We’ve just got to stick together and we’re going to start gelling and we’re going to be a problem.”

After upsetting Warriors, Kings battle schedule with fifth game in seven days


After upsetting Warriors, Kings battle schedule with fifth game in seven days

No break. After a surprising win Friday night on the road over the Warriors, the Kings hopped a flight to Utah where they’ll face the Jazz on the second night of a back-to-back Saturday evening. 

Buddy Hield came out firing off the Kings bench against Golden State, scoring 22 points on 5-of-10 shooting from long range. The shooting guard added seven rebounds and seven assists in one of his more complete games of the season.

Utah is in a fight for playoff position. They are currently tied with the Spurs for the seventh spot in the Western Conference chase, just a half game behind the Pelicans for the six seed. The Jazz have won eight straight and 20 of their last 22 games. 


Jazz by 15.5


Kings vs. The Pick-and-Roll -- Utah is one of the better pick-and-roll teams in the league. Rookie Donovan Mitchell is explosive and patient at the guard position and Rudy Gobert is a monster rolling to the rack. The Jazz have shooters all around the perimeter waiting for the kick out. This is a very good team playing at an elite level right now.


Kings: 23-47, fourth place in Pacific

Jazz: 39-30, fourth place in Northwest


Kings: SG/SF Iman Shumpert (plantar fasciitis) out, F Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out for the season.

Jazz: PG Ricky Rubio (knee) probable, C Tony Bradley (concussion) questionable, PG Raul Neto (wrist) out, SF Thabo Sefolosha (knee) out.


Rookie Watch -- Mitchell has been spectacular this season for Jazz. The Kings will combat the high-flying rookie with a pair of first-year guards of their own in Fox and Bogdanovic. It’s not often that a player comes into the league and makes an impact on a franchise like Mitchell has in his first NBA season.

The Gobstopper -- Gobert is a monster in the post. He plays the pick-and-roll to perfection with Mitchell and he is an absolute force on the defensive end. Willie Cauley-Stein and Kosta Koufos will have to make his work on both ends of the court if the Kings have a chance of upsetting the Jazz. 

Put up a Fight -- This is the fifth game in seven nights for the Kings. It’s also a brutal back-to-back, with less than 24 hours between games. The key to this game is to escape with the team’s health intact, but it would be nice if they could make a strong showing in a difficult situation.


The Jazz hold a 2-0 advantage in the season series and they’ve won four straight over the Kings. Utah leads the all-time series 104-82 and holds a 81-49 advantage during the Sacramento-era.

Bogdanovic, Kings look to beat Warriors at Oracle for second time this season


Bogdanovic, Kings look to beat Warriors at Oracle for second time this season

No rest for the weary. The Kings hit game four of their five games in seven nights stretch. They’ll draw a beat up, but dangerous Golden State Warriors team Friday night at Oracle Arena.

Sacramento is coming off a wild overtime win against the playoff bound Miami Heat on Wednesday. De’Aaron Fox hit a floater as time expired to push the game to overtime and fellow rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic drilled a late 3-pointer to put the game away late in the extra session.

Golden State trails the Houston Rockets by two games for the top overall seed in the Western Conference playoff chase. They’ve already clinched another Pacific division title, but they are at risk for missing out on the top seed. Every game counts as they hit the stretch run.


Warriors by 12


Willie Cauley-Stein vs. Zaza Pachulia -- It might not be the matchup people bought tickets to see, but it’s the matchup they’re going to get. With the Warriors banged up, Pachulia has stepped up and filled a valuable role in the middle. He’s strong as an ox and does all the dirty work. Cauley-Stein is getting his legs back under him after missing 10 days with a back strain. He’s improved in year four, but still needs to work on his consistency.  


Kings: 22-47, fourth place in Pacific

Warriors: 52-16, first place in Pacific


Kings: PF Skal Labissiere (hip contusion) questionable, SF/SG Iman Shumpert (knee rehab/plantar fasciitis) out, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out until January.

Warriors: PF Jordan Bell (ankle) probable, PG Quinn Cook (hand contusion) probable, PF David West (arm cyst) probable, SF Kevin Durant (ribs soreness) out, PG Steph Curry (ankle) out, SG Klay Thompson (thumb) out, SG Patrick McGaw (wrist) out.


Wounded Warriors -- Golden State will play without three of their four All-Stars. The Kings took advantage of the Warriors early in the season when they were the similar situation of missing All-Stars. Sacramento needs to stay the course and continue to play with effort as they finish the schedule, regardless of who suits up for their opponent.

Big Moments -- If there is one thing that stands out in the 2017-18 season for Sacramento, it’s the clutch plays by the young players. Fox has four shots in his rookie season that either won or tied a game in the final seconds. Bogdanovic, Skal Labissiere and Buddy Hield have come through with big shots as well.  

Come Out Firing -- The best way to beat the Warriors is to make them work for their shots. The best way to make them work for their shots is to score baskets and set up the defense. If the Kings can put up an efficient offensive night, they have a shot of dethroning the shorthanded champs.


The Kings and Warriors are all knotted at one game apiece in the season series. Golden State holds a 201-187 lead in the all-time series and a 73-66 advantage during the Sacramento-era.