Kings

Thornton's gaffe leads to OT loss for Kings

692724.jpg

Thornton's gaffe leads to OT loss for Kings

BOX SCORE
DENVER (AP) Arron Afflalo hit three free throws with 0.6 seconds left in regulation, Ty Lawson made a 3-pointer with four seconds remaining in overtime, and the Denver Nuggets rallied for a 119-116 victory over the struggling Sacramento Kings on Monday night.Afflalo finished with a career-high 32 points for the Nuggets, who improved to 4-0 since the All-Star break.Lawson came up with the clutch basket for the second straight night, finishing with 16 points and 13 assists.Marcus Thornton and Tyreke Evans each had 27 points for the Kings, who dropped their fourth straight on the day they announced they had extended the contract of coach Keith Smart through the 2012-13 season.Thornton also had the foul on Afflalo in the closing seconds that allowed the Nuggets to get the game into overtime and pull out an improbable win.The Kings trailed by as many as eight points in the fourth quarter, only to storm back and take a 96-93 lead on a 3-pointer by Francisco Garcia with 4:23 remaining.From there, it was an exchange of 3-pointers between the teams, as Lawson hit one to tie it up, only to have Thornton answer right back. Evans gave the Kings some breathing room with a short jumper, extending the lead to 103-98 with 1:16 remaining.The cushion didn't last.Afflalo hit a 3-pointer with 9.7 seconds remaining to make it a one-point game.After Isaiah Thomas hit two free throws to extend the lead to 108-105, the Nuggets held the ball for one final shot.Just before the buzzer sounded, Afflalo launched a deep 3-point attempt, with Thornton grazing his arm. Afflalo drained the first two free throws and then had to patiently wait after the Kings called timeout.He returned to the line, where he made the final one to tie the score at 108.Jimmer Fredette's desperation heave was offline and the game went to overtime.In overtime, the Kings jumped out to an early lead, but the Nuggets quickly responded.Lawson hit a 3-pointer from the top of the circle to give the Nuggets the lead. Garcia's final shot fell short.Once a banged-up bunch, the Nuggets are steadily returning to health. Leading scorer Danilo Gallinari was back after missing 13 games with a left ankle sprain. So was Brazilian center Nene, who sat out 10 games with a calf strain.Not surprisingly, Gallinari and Nene both showed some early rust from their long layoffs.Gallinari didn't hit his first basket until swishing a 3-pointer with 4:04 remaining in the third quarter. He had just four points on the evening.Nene finished with six points in just over 15 minutes.When Gallinari hobbled off the court on Feb. 6, it appeared as if he might be sidelined for quite some time after tests revealed a chip fracture in his left foot. But further examinations later showed the fracture wasn't caused by his stumble and may have actually occurred before he joined the NBA in 2008.The versatile Italian forward proved to be a fast healer, returning nearly to the day the team had predicted.The Nuggets were 6-7 without Gallinari, one of the players they're counting on to deliver big shots at crunch time.But with the game on the line the healing Gallinari was on the bench, not the floor.Even with the return of Gallinari and Nene, the Nuggets are far from full strength. They were missing swingman Rudy Fernandez (back) and center Kosta Koufos (left knee).However, Timofey Mozgov played Monday despite an ailing left ankle. He had eight early points before appearing to hurt his ankle again. Mozgov didn't play in the second half.The Nuggets trailed by as many as 11 points in the first half, only to go on an 8-0 run to close out the half and tie the game at 53.Notes: Kings F J.J. Hickson missed the three-game road swing with a hip pointer. ... The Kings will begin a franchise-record nine-game homestand on Wednesday against New Orleans. ... Lawson was named the Western Conference player of the week Monday. ... The Nuggets are 13-3 against the Kings at home since 2003-04.

Kings' second unit steals show from Fox-Ball, fuels victory over Lakers

Kings' second unit steals show from Fox-Ball, fuels victory over Lakers

SACRAMENTO -- The fans came to watch De’Aaron Fox and Lonzo Ball square off for the first times as professionals Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center. They ended up being treated to a breakout performance by Sacramento’s second team.

“It’s not all about Fox and Ball, it’s about Kings and Lakers,” Frank Mason said after another solid performance. “I’m just happy we got the win as a team.”

Coming into Wednesday night, the Sacramento Kings ranked first in the league in bench scoring at 48.1 points per game. The Los Angeles Lakers weren’t far behind, posting 40.6 a contest, good enough for fourth in the NBA.

Sacramento received solid contributions from almost every player that stepped on the floor, including 22 points, seven rebounds and seven assists from starter Zach Randolph. But the group that came off the bench put on a show, outscoring Los Angeles 67-38.

In his fourth game in a reserve role, Willie Cauley-Stein scored a game-high 26 points in 28 minutes, including 13 in the fourth quarter as the Kings pulled away. He drew a crowd around his locker during post game, but he was the direct beneficiary of some stellar play by others.

Mason and fellow rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic broke down the Lakers defense countless times and found Cauley-Stein for the poster dunk. According to the official scoresheet, nine of Cauley-Stein’s 10 made baskets were assisted, including five alley-oops from Bogdanovic.

“We talked about it yesterday when we were icing,” Cauley-Stein said of his Serbian guard. “We were both sitting in the cold tub and exactly what happened is what we were talking about.”

Cauley-Stein is gifted athletically and he’s extremely long. He was a star receiver in high school and he knows how to go up and get a ball.

“I think he realizes, (he’s) just got to get it up there and I’m going to go get it,” Cauley-Stein said of Bogdanovic.

Bogdanovic hit his first two 3-point attempts and it seemed to open the floor up for Sacramento. With defenders going over screens to defend the long ball, Bogdanovic used his dribble to get free.

When the Laker’s bigs stepped in to stop his dribble, Bogdanovic tossed the ball near the rim and Cauley-Stein finished with authority.

“It’s easy to play with Willie, because he can catch,” Bogdanovic said. “I didn’t pass perfectly those alley-oops, but he likes to be a little higher than usual.”

Both Bogdanovic and Mason set new career-highs in assists, finishing with seven dimes apiece off Dave Joerger’s bench. Bogdanovic dropped in 14 points and picked up two steals. Mason added 11 points and five rebounds.

The smallest player to step on the floor, Mason brings a physicality the Kings have lacked early in the season. Since earning rotational minutes four games ago, the 23-year-old is posting 9.8 points and 4.3 assists in 22 minutes a game.

“That’s who I am, that’s who I’ve always been,” Mason said when asked about his toughness. “I take a lot of pride in someone scoring on me and I play every possession like it’s game point.”

With the win, the Kings improved to 4-4 on their home floor and 5-13 overall this season. They’ll take Thanksgiving off, but return to practice Friday in preparation for the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday evening. They’ll need another big evening from the bench unit if they hope to build momentum going forward.

Gameday: Bring on Lonzo Ball vs De'Aaron Fox in the NBA

lonzo-fox-us-ap.jpg
USATSI/AP

Gameday: Bring on Lonzo Ball vs De'Aaron Fox in the NBA

SACRAMENTO -- The Kings were treated rudely by the Denver Nuggets to open their three-game homestand on Monday. They’ll get another shot to pick up a win Wednesday when the upstart Los Angeles Lakers swing into Golden 1 Center.

Sacramento has struggled to find consistency this season on the road, but they’ve been able to ride their home crowd to impressive wins over Oklahoma City, Philadelphia and Portland. If they can knock off the Lakers, they improve to .500 at home on the season. 

The Lakers are coming off a come-from-behind win over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday and have to play Sacramento on the second night of a back-to-back. They are a young and exciting team, that present plenty of matchup issues for the Kings.

BETTING LINE 

Lakers by 1

MATCHUP TO WATCH

De’Aaron Fox vs. Lonzo Ball -- Let the games begin! The drama surrounding these two dates back to college. Fox ran over Ball at the NCAA level, outscoring the former UCLA Bruin in both games last season, including a 39-point outburst during a tournament game. Ball missed the summer league matchup between the two, causing a bit of a stir on social media. Wednesday night is nothing more that a pair of 19-year-olds playing hoops against one another while hundreds of thousands of people watch intently. No pressure, kids.

WHERE THEY STAND 

Kings: 4-13, fifth place in Pacific

Lakers: 8-10, second place in Pacific

INJURY REPORT 

Kings: SG Buddy Hield (sprained ankle) probable, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out until January.

Lakers: PF Larry Nance Jr. (hand) out.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

BRIGHT LIGHTS -- The world is watching. Sacramento doesn’t draw the attention of the national media all that often, but plenty of eyes will be on the Kings/Lakers matchup on Wednesday. Will the Kings bring the defensive intensity that helped them knock off the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday or will they fade like they did against Denver last time out?   

REBOUND -- The Kings are one of the worst rebounding teams in the NBA and they’ll face a team that knows how to hit the glass. Dave Joerger needs his guards to get involved if they hope to avoid another lopsided rebounding deficit. 

CONTAIN KUZMA -- Ball gets all the pub, but it’s the late first rounder out of Utah that is turning heads. Fresh off a 22-point performance Tuesday against the Bulls, Kyle Kuzma is posting nearly 17 points per game while starting at power forward for the Lakers. He’s a player that plenty of teams are now regretting passing on in the 2017 NBA Draft. 

SERIES HISTORY 

These two teams split the season series 2-2 last season, with each team winning one at home and one on the road. Los Angeles owns a huge 270-153 lead in the all-time series and a 92-44 advantage during the Sacramento-era 88-47. 

QUOTE

“It’s fun. Sometimes there’s too many haters out there. It is what it is. Smile and enjoy it. I think it will be a great opportunity for those two guys to begin their careers.” Dave Joerger on the Fox/Ball matchup