Kings

DeMarcus Cousins feeding on rest of NBA during win streak

DeMarcus Cousins feeding on rest of NBA during win streak

Give the ball to the big man and get out of the way. 

With the Los Angeles Lakers refusing to double-team DeMarcus Cousins all night long, the Kings’ All-Star big man put on a show. His inability to knock down free throws kept the Lakers alive late, but in the end, it was too much Boogie as Sacramento came away with the 97-96 victory at the Staples Center.

“I thought DeMarcus really delivered the mail, especially on the blocks,” Dave Joerger told reporters following the win. “It was like running the football and we just gave them different looks.”

The offense went through Cousins on almost every possession down the stretch. He scored 16 points in the final quarter on just four made field goals and 7-of-11 shooting from the line. Any time the Lakers sent an extra man at Cousins, he sent it around the horn, but that only happened once or twice in the final few minutes of the game.

“Feed me...Feed me,” Cousins told reporters during post with a huge grin on his face.

Cousins finished the night with 40 points on 13-of-24 shooting from the field and 12-for-19 from the line. He added 12 rebounds and eight assists in a near triple-double performance.

“He was able to take advantage on the one-on-one cover and he either got fouled or he got the bucket,” Darren Collison told reporters.

With back-up Ty Lawson out, Collison was forced into playing 40 minutes or more for the third straight game and he posted solid numbers. The veteran point guard scored 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting and tied Cousins for the team lead in assists with eight.

“DC’s stepped up to the challenge,” Cousins said of his starting point guard. “He’s been logging in a lot of minutes as of lately. He’s playing. He’s pushing no matter what the results are. You’ve got to appreciate guys like that.”

Collison has logged big minutes in career, but the Kings’ impacted schedule has allowed very little time for rest and recovery. With the All-Star break just around the corner, the UCLA product is looking forward to the time off.

“I’m alright, I’m trying,” Collison said. “We’ve got one more game before the break. I’ll be alright. We win, it helps me out a lot.”

Cousins and Collison continue to drive the Kings forward as they picked up their fourth straight win and fifth in the last six attempts. It’s a shocking turn of events for a team that is down Lawson, Omri Casspi, Garrett Temple and Rudy Gay due to injury.

“We’ve lost some big pieces to our team, but at the same time it’s given opportunities to come and step in and fill those roles,” Cousins said. “I think guys have accepted the challenge and doing even more than expected. Credit to them for being professionals.”

Ben McLemore is one of those players to rise to the challenge. The fourth-year guard continues to show flashes as his minutes increase. He scored 13 points Tuesday night on 4-of-9 shooting and his defense has improved by leaps and bounds.

Arron Afflalo put up 10 points in 37 minutes of action and 36-year-old Matt Barnes may have made the play of the game when he picked up a late rebound off a Cousins missed free throw that led to a basket.

It wasn’t pretty. The Kings gave up a 13 point fourth quarter lead and Lou Williams missed a shot at the buzzer that would have sent the Kings home losers. But Sacramento is developing a grittiness to them that has been missing in past renditions of this team.

“We’re never going to give up, we’re never going to give in, we’re always going to be there in the end,” Joerger said.

With the win, Sacramento improved to 24-32 on the season and they trail the Nuggets by just a game and a half for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. They’ll put their win streak on the line Wednesday night when they face the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena.

De'Aaron Fox roasts Fran Fraschilla over Zion Williamson, Duke tweet

De'Aaron Fox roasts Fran Fraschilla over Zion Williamson, Duke tweet

De'Aaron Fox isn't here for Fran Fraschilla's college basketball takes.

After Zion Williamson thanked the program in a video announcing his intention to declare for the 2019 NBA Draft, Fraschilla sent out a tweet noting how much he believed playing for Duke helped the phenom build his brand and profile.

Well, Fox didn't agree with the notion that Duke had a lot to do with boosting Zion's worth, and he threw some shade at Fraschilla in a NSFW tweet.

In fairness, both sides have a point to make.

A year ago, Williamson was a YouTube dunking sensation, but questions about his overall skill level remained. But during his lone season in the spotlight at Duke, Williamson showed he was more than just a highlight-reel dunker, and has all the skills necessary to be the No. 1 overall pick.

However, Williamson should've had the ability to go straight to the NBA out of high school if he wanted. He still would have been a top-10 pick, and a lucrative shoe contract would have followed shortly after his name was called by NBA commissioner Adam Silver.

[RELATED: Fox responds to comments about MIP candidacy]

We'll give the win to Swipa.

Kings awards: Handing out end-of-year accolades for 2018-19 season

Kings awards: Handing out end-of-year accolades for 2018-19 season

The Sacramento Kings failed in their ultimate goal of making the postseason, but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t have a very good year. The Kings finished the season at a surprising 39-43 and they stayed in playoff contention much longer than anyone expected.

Perhaps more important than the final outcome of the season, many of the young Kings players took major strides forward in their development. The core turning potential into production, making the future bright in Sacramento.

With the season in the books, here is NBC Sports California’s take on the end of year accolades for the team.

MVP -- Buddy Hield

Coming into training camp, Hield wasn’t expected to start. A late summer knee injury cost Bogdan Bogdanovic time, opening the door for a breakout season from the former Oklahoma star.

Known for his work ethic, Hield became more than just a scorer in his third NBA season. He improved as a defender, posted a career-high in assists and rebounds, and showed an ability to hit big shots.

Hield also led the team in scoring, finishing the year averaging 20.7 points, five rebounds and 2.5 assists in 31.9 minutes per game. He flourished from behind the arc, posting the seventh most made 3-pointers in a single season in NBA history with 276 makes.

The 26-year-old shooting guard took a leap from potential sixth man to near All-Star and his energy on the court was infectious.

De’Aaron Fox is in the running for this award as well, but Hield gets the nod for his consistency throughout the entire season.

Most Improved Player -- De’Aaron Fox

Fox and Hield should both draw votes for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award. As far as the Kings’ team goes, it’s close, but with Hield taking home the MVP, Fox gets the MIP.

Statistical jumps from year one to year two is expected in the NBA, but Fox’s leap stands out. He bumped his points per game from 11.6 to 17.3. He increased his assists from 4.4 to 7.3, with just a .4 increase in turnovers per game. He also shored up one of his biggest weaknesses, improving his 3-point percentage from 30.7 to 37.1 percent.

In addition to all of his statistical achievements, Fox became a leader in year two and appears ready to expand his game even farther in year three.

Defensive Player of the Year -- De’Aaron Fox

Fox wasn’t just a force leading the Kings’ uptempo offense. He showed incredible improvement as a defender in year two, especially in late-game situations.

The 21-year-old point guard has tremendous upside as a two-way player. He finished the season in the top 10 in the league in steals at 1.6 per game and as he gets stronger and more mature, there is plenty of room for growth.

Willie Cauley-Stein gets an honorable mention here. He led the team in defensive real plus/minus and defensive win shares. He put up a solid season, posting career-highs in both rebounds and blocks.

Biggest Surprise -- Nemanja Bjelica

A late addition to the roster, Bjelica stepped into the starting lineup and made a tremendous impact on the Kings, especially early in the season.

The 30-year-old out of Serbia almost went back overseas before signing a three-year deal with the Kings. He posted career-highs in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and minutes played, and shot over 40 percent from behind the arc.

Bjelica struggled for a stretch in the middle of the season, but he finished strong. His ability to help space the floor was a major bonus for the team and he was a better rebounder and defensive player than expected.

[RELATED: Fox responds to comments about his most improved candidacy]

Rookie of the Year -- Marvin Bagley

This isn’t exactly a fair category. Marvin Bagley was the second overall selection in the 2018 NBA Draft and his only competition for the award was a redshirt freshman who had played a total of 300 minutes over a three-year period.

Don’t get me wrong, Harry Giles was very impressive, especially in the month of March after he got his sea legs. Giles looks like a rotational player at a minimum, with the possibility to jump into the starting lineup down the road. But he’ll need time to develop after missing crucial development years.

Bagley jumped off the page from the moment he stepped foot on the floor. He needs to get stronger and build his overall skill base, but the 20-year-old power forward averaged 14.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and a block in 25.3 minutes per game.

A pair of knee injuries cost Bagley 20 games and plenty of momentum. A summer to work out the kinks should do wonders for the former Duke star.