De'Aaron Fox

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

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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

Gameday: Battle of rookie point guards as Kings face Knicks

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AP

Gameday: Battle of rookie point guards as Kings face Knicks

De’Aaron Fox hit a big-time game winner in the Kings’ 109-108 victory over the 76ers on Thursday night, but he wasn’t the only rookie to make an impact. Justin Jackson set a new career-high in points for the second straight game, finishing the evening with 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting. The young Kings are getting opportunities and showing early season development.

New York is coming off a loss in Orlando, but they’ve won six of their last eight games overall for head coach jeff Hornacek. Third-year big Kristaps Porzingis is having a breakout start to the season, posting 30 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. But he’s nursing an ankle and elbow injury that kept him out of the Knicks previous game against Orlando.

OPENING LINE 

Knicks by 5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

De’Aaron Fox vs. Frank Ntilikina -- Drafted just three spots apart in the 2017 NBA Draft, the rookie point guards will both likely come off the bench for their respective clubs. Fox is earning starters minutes with his early play and coach Dave Joerger comfort level appears to be increasing with the 19-year-old. Ntilikina has struggled with his shot, but he’s playing nearly 20 minutes a game for Hornacek in a reserve role. 

WHERE THEY STAND 

Kings: 3-8, fifth place in Pacific

Knicks: 6-5, third place in Atlantic

INJURY REPORT 

Kings: F Vince Carter (kidney stones) availability unknown at this time, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out until January at the earliest.

Knicks: PF/C Kristaps Porzingis (ankle/elbow) probable, SG Ron Baker (ankle) out, Joakim Noah (suspension) out.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

KEEP IT ROLLING -- After a rough start to the season, the Kings have found success in the previous two games. New York is a off to a nice start, but they are young and still trying to find their way in the league. If Sacramento can play as a team, they have an opportunity to make some strides in the win/loss column during the road trip.

ACTION JACKSON -- Like Fox, Justin Jackson is earning a bigger role with his solid early season play. The former North Carolina Tar Heel will be called upon to guard Tim Hardaway Jr. and Doug McDermott on Saturday. Both are off to nice offensive starts on the season. 

THE UNICORN -- Porzingis is quickly becoming a star in the league. The 7-foot-3 Latvian sensation can hit the 3-ball, take you off the dribble and score in the post. Willie Cauley-Stein played well defensively against Joel Embiid in the win over Philly. Sacramento will need Cauley-Stein to step up again if they have any chance of slowing Porzingis.

SERIES HISTORY 

New York swept the season series last year against Sacramento, including a 103-100 victory at Golden 1 Center on December 9. The Kings hold a 153-142 advantage over the Knicks all-time, but New York leads 33-29 during the Sacramento-era.

Fox 'shows a lot of guts' in win, Temple with the assist

Fox 'shows a lot of guts' in win, Temple with the assist

SACRAMENTO -- Ice in his veins. After nearly turning the ball over five seconds earlier, rookie De’Aaron Fox went into attack mode and drilled a 19-foot pullup with 14.1 seconds remaining Thursday night. The shot gave Sacramento a 109-108 lead over the Philadelphia 76ers, which somehow held up.

Maybe Fox doesn’t know any better. At 19-years-old, he’s one of the youngest players in the NBA. But he’s showing the moxie of a seasoned veteran.

“For that guy, at that age, to be able to take that shot after the shooting night he had, even when the play may not have been drawn up that way, that just shows guts,” Garrett Temple said. “A lot of guts, a lot of gall for him to take that shot and make it. Pure.”

Fox had shot just 3-of-12 before knocking down the game winner. Dave Joerger showed great faith in sticking with the rookie point guard and he rewarded his coach with a second straight win.

“We drew up something, it didn’t look like anybody was getting open and I just bust to the top” Fox said. “He threw it and they backed up and that was the shot that I’ve been comfortable taking, and I made it.”

The final 14 seconds were a blur. Philly rushed up the court and fed Joel Embiid at the top of the key. The star big, who had been blocked by Willie Cauley-Stein on the previous two possessions, tried to go over the Kings center one more time. Embiid forced up a free throw line jumper that came off the iron and Golden 1 Center erupted.

THE SHOT BEFORE THE SHOT

Behind a ruckus sellout crowd, the Kings finished the night on a 7-0 run to come away with the one point win. Fox gets all the credit for the deciding hoop, but Temple’s shot moments before gave the Kings an opportunity for the comeback.

With just under a minute to play, Fox threw a ball that glanced off an official and ended up in Temple’s hands. Thinking the shot clock was about to expire, Temple hoisted a 26-footer that found the bottom of the net and cut the Sixers lead to just one.

“I just tried to throw it, it bumps off a ref and Garrett gets it,” Fox said. He thought the clock was running down. We really had like 10 seconds on the clock, but he took the shot and made it and it was huge and that gave us a lot of momentum.”

Like Fox, Temple was having a rough shooting night. He started the game just 1-of-6 from the field before dropping in the 3-ball with 50.6 remaining.

“I needed that big one for us to try to get a little closer,” Temple said. “Fox found me, or found the ref and then I found the ball and I was able to knock it down.”

After dropping seven straight, the Kings appear to have steadied the ship slightly, winning back-to-back games for the first time this season. They hit the road following the game, where they'll start their third three-game road trip of the early season Saturday against the Knicks.