Kings

Doug Christie reveals story behind fight with Rick Fox in Kings-Lakers game

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AP

Doug Christie reveals story behind fight with Rick Fox in Kings-Lakers game

The Kings have missed the playoffs in each of the last 13 seasons. But before that drought began, they were one of the best teams in the NBA.

Back in the early 2000s, the Kings even had a bitter rivalry with the Los Angeles Lakers, who were led by Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant.

The Lakers defeated the Kings in seven games in the 2002 Western Conference finals and went on to win the NBA title that season. The following year, the teams met in the preseason and things got chippy between Doug Christie and Lakers forward Rick Fox.

In the latest episode of NBC Sports NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh's "Habershow" podcast which debuted Friday, Christie opened up about what happened on Oct. 25, 2002.

"So there was a lot of venom from the fact that there was a lot of talking going back and forth at that particular time," Christie, who is now an analyst for NBC Sports California, told Haberstroh. "And you know, they had won, and I think when you're competing against someone, you have an idea where you are in the pantheon of that. You know what I mean? And I think they felt us. And I think they might have felt we were a better team than they were. But they won. And they had to the two most dominant players probably of the era at the same time, in their alpha dog prime. So when you win, you usually don't have to say anything, 'I won.' But you're still talking.

"So, when we got to the preseason, you know they had the [Sacramento] Queens things, and Rick would always do little stuff and one of them is he would catch the ball at the pinch post, which is the elbow junction, and he would, as you were coming up -- now it's illegal -- he would pivot into you and hit my thigh. And for me, that's big because I'm moving around a lot. So it was just little stuff and in that particular time, I sold an offensive foul. He hit me and I fell down. So then he threw the ball at me and I caught it, so it didn't really hit me and I caught it. So as I got up, I hit him in the face with the ball all in one motion and that's when he kind of mushed me. As soon as he touched me, I just went 'Bang.' That was it."

Christie and the Kings never were able to get over the hump. That 2001-02 season was their best chance to win an NBA title and the Lakers got in the way.

[RELATED: Kings must be held accountable]

The Kings would make it back to the playoffs in each of the next four seasons but never made it out of the second round.

The fight between Christie and Fox will go down as arguably the greatest preseason NBA fight of all time.

Kings' Harry Giles earns first double-double in road win vs. Clippers

Kings' Harry Giles earns first double-double in road win vs. Clippers

LOS ANGELES -- Don’t look now, but the Kings are on a roll.

With a 112-103 victory over the Clippers on Saturday, Sacramento now has won two in a row and eight of its last 12 games. There are plenty of reasons for the push, but flying under the radar is the improvement of second-year big man Harry Giles.

“There’s a lot of growth happening,” Kings coach Luke Walton told NBC Sports California after the win. “One, I think his conditioning and his body looks, and I’m assuming, feels pretty good right now.”

Giles went toe-to-toe with a huge Clippers frontline and managed to post his first career double-double. He finished the game with 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting and chipped in 12 rebounds, which matched his career high.

“It feels good, man,” Giles said. “I feel like I already had one, I should have had one. I’m glad I can finally put one in the books.”

On Jan. 30, Giles struggled to stay on the floor against the Clippers, picking up two quick fouls against Montrezl Harrell and then sitting for all but three minutes of the game while the Kings’ 3-point shooters rained down on Los Angeles.

“You have to give him a lot of credit for continuing to improve and do what we as a staff are asking him to do,” Walton added.

With very little support behind him because of njury, Giles came into Saturday’s game knowing that he had to stay on the floor. The only hope of doing that was to play defense without fouling.

[RELATED: Marvin Bagley visits foot specialist, out at least three more weeks]

“With time and reps, I’m just going to get better,” Giles said. “The fouls -- it varies. It’s tough. It depends on how you play and how the refs let you play. I’m going to keep getting better at that and just keep playing hard.”

In a career-high 32 minutes of action, Giles picked up just three fouls. He set good screens, moved his feet on defense and limited his mistakes overall. More importantly, he played valuable fourth-quarter minutes in a huge team victory.

Richaun Holmes and Marvin Bagley continue to miss time because of injury, and the Kings are extremely thin upfront. Giles has started six of the last eight games, and he’s starting to build momentum.

“I’m just trying to build on the opportunity and keep winning,” Giles said.

With just over a minute left and the game still undecided, Giles got an opportunity to shine off the lob.

[RELATED: Jabari Parker ready for Kings debut, Alex Len getting closer]

The Kings decided not to pick up Giles’ fourth-year option back in October, but they’ve kept the door open for a possible return for the 21-year-old big next season. He has another 26 games to show what he can do, and he’s auditioning for all 30 teams at this point.

Giles wasn’t the only center to play minutes for the Kings. 7-footer Alex Len made his Sacramento debut and played very well for a player who has missed 11 straight games with a hip pointer.

“I wasn’t planning on playing him that much, I wanted to just get him out there a little bit,” Walton said. “I was going to come in with Jabari [Parker], but he looked good. He was moving well. He was clogging up the paint. He was putting out fires for us. So I pushed it a little more than I wanted to with his minutes, but he said he felt good, and it was nice to have a real big 7-foot body out there to help control the paint.”

Len, who came over from the Atlanta Hawks at the NBA trade deadline, finished with three points and eight rebounds in 16 minutes of play. He was active and made a nice impact on the game in his limited time on the court.

Kings takeaways: What we learned in 112-103 upset win over Clippers

Kings takeaways: What we learned in 112-103 upset win over Clippers

BOX SCORE 

LOS ANGELES -- After leading the Los Angeles Clippers for most of the game, the Kings took a right hook to the chin in the fourth quarter Saturday afternoon at Staples Center. 

The Kings looked stunned, but they didn’t fall. 

The Clippers' trio of Kawhi Leonard, Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell put on a show, but in another shocker in LA, the Kings took down the 37-19 Clippers by a final of 112-103.

Here are three takeaways as the Kings picked up their second win over the Clippers at Staples Center this season, and improved to 23-33 on the season.

More Baze

Kent Bazemore has gone from a pleasant surprise to something more for the Kings. The veteran forward is active defensively, and much better than expected as an offensive weapon.

After posting 15 points, followed by 18 in the team’s previous two games, Bazemore came out aggressive again on Saturday. He scored 15 points on 4-of-6 shooting in the first half and continued to put pressure after the intermission. 

The 30-year-old wing is the shot in the arm the Kings needed. He finished the game with 23 points, six rebounds and four steals in 29 minutes. 

Bazemore is an unrestricted free agent after the season, and quickly is turning into a priority for the Kings. 

Backcourt

De’Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic came to play. 

Fox struggled with his shot coming out of the gate, but he was aggressive attacking the rim and eventually found a rhythm. He finished with 20 points, eight assists and a steal.

Like Fox, Bogdanovic got off to a slow start, but he hit the Clippers hard in the third quarter to finish with 20 points on 4-of-10 from distance. 

Sacramento’s backcourt outscored the Clippers 40-12.

Another game, another new face

Jabari Parker wasn’t the only player the Kings picked up from the Atlanta Hawks in the Dewayne Dedmon trade. 7-footer Alex Len made his Kings debut against the Clippers and instantly made an impact.

The No. 5 overall pick from the 2013 NBA Draft has struggled to find his place in the league, but against LA, he was active on both ends of the floor and battled star sixth man, Montrezl Harrell.

[RELATED: Bagley sees foot specialist, out at least three more weeks]

Len finished with three points on 1-for-3 shooting, but he grabbed eight rebounds in 16 minutes.

With Richaun Holmes out of action, the Kings need minutes from Len. He earned a longer look next time out, but he’ll have to compete for time with Harry Giles, who finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds for his first career double-double.