Bogdan Bogdanovic

Gameday: First of many battles between De'Aaron Fox, Dennis Smith Jr

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USATI

Gameday: First of many battles between De'Aaron Fox, Dennis Smith Jr

After falling to the Houston Rockets in the home opener, the Sacramento Kings hit the road for a three game trip beginning Friday night in Dallas. They’ll face a Mavericks team that is also looking for their first win of the season following a loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday evening.

Dave Joerger’s Kings gave the Rockets all they could handle at Golden 1 Center before an error by the officiating crew cost them a valuable possession late. The effort and intensity was present, but Sacramento’s lack of experience makes late game situations an adventure.

Coach Rick Carlisle is trying to balance the old with the new in Dallas, starting veterans Dirk Nowitzki and Wes Matthews alongside Yogi Ferrell, Dennis Smith Jr. and Harrison Barnes. Seven players scored in double-figures in the Mavs opener as they enter the season without a true number one scoring option.

BETTING LINE

Mavs by 5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

De’Aaron Fox vs. Dennis Smith Jr. -- Fox worked his way up the draft board, hearing his name called with the fifth overall selection by Sacramento. He’s the future and maybe even the present for a Kings team looking to rebuild. Smith had to wait a little longer for his moment on draft night. Taken with the ninth pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, the former NC State guard is an incredible athlete and may have found the perfect landing spot for his skill set. Smith sports a 48-inch vertical leap and he plays with a chip on his shoulder. This is the first of many battles between these two top-tier talents.

WHERE THEY STAND

Kings: 0-1

Mavs: 0-1

INJURY REPORT

Kings: SG Bogdan Bogdanovic (right ankle sprain) is out, PF Zach Randolph (oral surgery) is probable, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out

Mavs: G Seth Curry (leg) out, F Josh McRoberts (lower extremity injury) out

SERIES HISTORY

The Kings took the season series over the Mavs last year 2-1. Dallas hold a 92-66 advantage over the Kings all-time, and a 75-54 lead during the Sacramento-era.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

ALL HANDS ON DECK? - Zach Randolph and Bogdan Bogdanovic missed the opener due to injury. Randolph has had a few days to recover from oral surgery and might be ready in time to retake his starting power forward spot. Bogdanovic is nursing an ankle injury, but is getting close to a return. If Bogdanovic is healthy, he’ll play and possibly even start for Joerger.

WILLIE FIND CONSISTENCY? - Willie Cauley-Stein put up 21 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks in the opener. If Randolph returns, Cauley-Stein’s role will change slightly, but the Kings need the same effort and energy every night from their third-year big.

TEMPLE TIME - Garrett Temple struggled with his shot, hitting just 1-of-7 from the field off Joerger’s bench on Wednesday. That didn’t stop the veteran wing from putting on a defensive show. He finished the night with four steals and countless deflections as he faced off with James Harden and Eric Gordon. The young players could learn a lot from the eight-year vet.

QUOTE

“These young guys play hard, they want to be good, they want to win and they want to learn.” -Vince Carter on the Kings’ young core

Kings will be shorthanded in exhibition finale vs Warriors

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USATI

Kings will be shorthanded in exhibition finale vs Warriors

The goal of preseason is to escape without injury. Unfortunately, the Sacramento Kings have failed to achieve that goal.

With the regular season just five days away, Sacramento faces uncertainty with three of its rotational players. Rookie point guard De’Aaron Fox will miss his second straight preseason contest Friday night with a lower back bruise.

The 19-year-old participated in practice on Wednesday and appears to be on pace to return for Wednesday’s home opener against the Houston Rockets. The prognosis isn’t nearly as clear for guards George Hill and Bogdan Bogdanovic.

Hill left the Kings 104-87 loss to the Clippers on Thursday evening with a groin issue. After further evaluation, the veteran point guard has been diagnosed with a right groin strain. Hill struggled with the same injury last season, missing six games over a two week period during late March and early April.  

Sacramento’s medical staff has diagnosed Bogdanovic with a right ankle sprain. The 25-year-old rookie injured his ankle on the last play of the third quarter on Thursday night when he came down on the foot of teammate Kosta Koufos while trying to defend a last second shot.

Fox, Hill and Bogdanovic are all listed as day-to-day.

Kings' Hill and Bogdanovic leave preseason game early

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AP

Kings' Hill and Bogdanovic leave preseason game early

The Sacramento Kings came into Thursday night’s preseason game against the Los Angeles Clippers with a mild injury report that included a lower back bruise for De’Aaron Fox and a long-term rehab assignment for Harry Giles. They came out of the game with a depleted roster.

Veteran point guard George Hill tweaked his right groin in the first half and played just nine minutes for Sacramento. There is no word further word on the injury, but Hill struggled with groin and toe ailments last season in Utah, playing just 49 games for the Jazz.

Adding to the injury woes, rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic stepped on Kosta Koufos’ foot as time expired in the third quarter and did not return. The initial diagnosis from the team’s medical staff is a sprained right ankle.

The Kings have depth at both positions, but with opening night just a week away, there is a possibility they will start the season short-handed.