Kings

Dennis Smith Jr vs De'Aaron Fox in a battle of rookie point guards

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AP

Dennis Smith Jr vs De'Aaron Fox in a battle of rookie point guards

SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings continue to play hard and compete down the stretch. They’ll face a Dallas Mavericks team that has dropped five straight and is limping to the finish.

Buddy Hield continued his strong finish to the season on Sunday afternoon, scoring 20 points or more for the fifth time in six games. The second-year reserve has hit 20-of-42 (47.6 percent) from behind the arc over the stretch and it earning more consideration from the coaching staff.

Dallas is having their worst season in 20 years. They are caught between being a veteran club and building for the future. They have some pieces to build around long term, but this is a complicated situation moving forward.

BETTING LINE

Kings by 2.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

De’Aaron Fox vs. Dennis Smith Jr. -- Fox has struggled on the defensive end, yielding huge performances to players like Terry Rozier, Isaiah Taylor, Ish Smith and Quinn Cook over the last five games. With eight games remaining in the season, Fox needs to dig deep and find a way to keep his man from having a career night. Smith has struggled on the defensive end as well, but he is finishing strong on offense. The rookie point guard is posting 18.5 points and 5.4 assists per game in the month of March. This should be a great matchup to watch for the next decade in the Western Conference.

WHERE THEY STAND

Kings: 24-50

Mavs: 22-51

INJURY REPORT

Kings: SG/SF Garrett Temple (left ankle sprain) out, SG/SF Iman Shumpert (plantar fasciitis) out, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out for the season.

Mavs: PG J.J. Barea (personal) out,  G Seth Curry (leg) out for the season, SG Wes Matthews (leg) out, PF Dwight Powell (knee) questionable.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

Vince Carter and Dirk Nowitzki -- The Hall of Fame awaits both of these aging stars. Between the two, they have 40 years of NBA experience, 21 All-Star game appearances and 55,969 regular season points. The former teammates are the two oldest players in the NBA. Carter checks in at 41-year-old, but Nowitzki isn’t far behind at 39.

Practice Carry-Over -- The Kings continue to practice hard and prepare for each game. While plenty of teams in the bottom half of the standings have given up on the season, Sacramento is finishing strong, going 6-7 over their previous 13 games.  

Fight Through -- Plenty of the young Kings are running on fumes. You can see it in their body language and also in the stat line. An 82 game schedule is a learning experience. They need to push through the pain and fatigue.

SERIES HISTORY

The Kings lead the season series 2-1 against the Mavs, including two wins on the road at AmericanAirlines arena. Dallas hold a 93-68 advantage over the Kings all-time, and a 76-56 lead during the Sacramento-era.

De'Aaron Fox responds to remarks on NBA Most Improved Player candidacy

De'Aaron Fox responds to remarks on NBA Most Improved Player candidacy

De'Aaron Fox doesn't have time for your snippy comments.

On Thursday, the Kings posted an image on Instagram stating Fox's case to win the Most Improved Player award.

Among the hundreds of comments were fans stating Fox was supposed to improve from Year 1 to Year 2.

He wasn't having it.

As NBC Sports California's James Ham wrote, Fox took a massive leap this past season. The point guard went from 11.6 points per game as a rookie to 17.3 as a sophomore. His assist numbers spiked from 4.4 to 7.3. And he improved vastly as a shooter, boosting his field-goal percentage from 41 percent to 45 percent. From 3-point range, Fox went from 30 percent to 37 percent.

[RELATED: How Kings chose Fox over Luka with draft choices]

But the competition for the award will be fierce. Along with teammate Buddy Hield, Raptors forward Pascal Siakam, Nets guard D'Angelo Russell, Clippers big man Montrezl Harrell and Hawks forward Jon Collins also will garner lots of support.

One thing is for sure. Fox definitely is Most Likely To Snap Back At Your Comments.

Why NBA journeyman Corey Brewer hopes he found steady home with Kings

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USATSI

Why NBA journeyman Corey Brewer hopes he found steady home with Kings

Corey Brewer has been around the NBA. 

The Kings are the eighth team the journeyman forward has suited up for in his 12-year career, and the ninth organization he's been a part of overall. But after finishing the 2018-19 season in California's capital, Brewer hopes he has found a more permanent home. 

“Just being around these young guys has been fun,” Brewer told the Kings' website. “Just being able to help them as best I can, and knowing how good they can be and how good they’re going to be.”

After Sacramento traded Iman Shumpert ahead of the deadline, Brewer gave the young Kings team some much-needed veteran leadership. The 33-year-old signed a pair of 10-day contracts in January, before signing with the team for the remainder of the season in February. 

“He’s been good for us,” point guard De’Aaron Fox said back in February. “When he gets on the court, you know what he’s going to bring.”

[RELATED: Walton must improve defense for Kings to win]

In 24 games with the Kings, Brewer averaged 4.1 points and 2.5 rebounds in just under 15 minutes per. His impact was particularly felt on the defensive end, as Kings.com writer Alex Kramers noted, where Sacramento gave up 4.1 fewer points per 100 possessions with him on the floor,

Brewer can become an unrestricted free agent this summer, but it sounds like he doesn't have much intention of signing anywhere else.