Programming note: Watch the re-air of the Kings’ victory over the New Orleans Pelicans from Dec. 8, 2017 tonight at 6 PT on NBC Sports California.
With the NBA on shutdown, NBC Sports California has decided to replay some entertaining games from the last few seasons of Kings basketball to quench the thirst of fans.
In our fifth installment, we go back to 2017, when veteran big man Zach Randolph was manning the post surrounded by a stack of rookie and second-year players. It was a defining moment for Randolph during his brief stay in Sacramento and one that will be remembered for a while.
While we know the final outcome of the game, sometimes the details become murky over time. Here are five things to watch from the Kings’ 116-109 come-from-behind win over the New Orleans Pelicans from the Smoothie King Center.
Bullies get bullied ...
Z-Bo wasn’t about to let his young teammates get pushed around.
With the Kings trailing 100-91 with 3:19 remaining in regulation Sacramento’s Frank Mason III attacked the rim and was fouled. When his teammates went to pick him up off the floor, former King DeMarcus Cousins started chirping.
When the two teams lined up for Mason to shoot free throws, the NBC Sports California cameras caught an exchange between Randolph and Cousins that quickly went viral.
“Where we’re from, bullies get bullied,” Randolph first said to the official. Then looking directly at Cousins, Randolph continued, “In my hood, bullies get bullied.”
Randolph put up his best game as a King that evening, finishing with 35 points and 13 rebounds. Cousins posted 38 points and 11 rebounds to lead New Orleans, but he also turned the ball over eight times and lost the game.
The Kings went all-in on blue-chippers during the 2017 NBA Draft. They selected De’Aaron Fox with the No. 5 overall pick and then added Justin Jackson at No. 15 and Harry Giles at No. 20. In the early second round, they went for another big-time NCAA name in Frank Mason.
Mason never quite found his niche in Sacramento, but in this win over the Pelicans, he was clutch. The former Kansas star scored 12 points and grabbed five rebounds in 26 minutes of play, but 10 of those points came in the fourth quarter or overtime.
Buddy Hield was selected with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft by the Pelicans, but his tenure in the Big Easy lasted all of 57 games before they sent him to Sacramento as part of the trade for Cousins.
Hield scored 10 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter as the Kings erased a 10-point deficit. He hit 4-of-5 from behind the arc and chipped in seven rebounds off Dave Joerger’s bench.
This was just the 25th game of De’Aaron Fox’s career and his 13th start for Sacramento. He played well, finishing the game with 14 points, four assists and two steals in 36 minutes of action.
While Fox holds his own, it is interesting to watch the Kings’ franchise player as a 19-year-old trying to make his way in the league. He’s bigger, stronger and a lot more confident now.
It’s good to be reminded about how far he’s come in a short period of time.
How the times have changed
In this game, George Hill started at the shooting guard spot alongside Fox. The starting forwards were Garrett Temple and JaKarr Sampson, with Z-Bo at the five.
Hield, Mason, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Vince Carter, Kosta Koufos and Georgios Papagiannis made up the second unit and two-way big, Jack Cooley was in uniform, but didn’t see any time. Justin Jackson was on assignment to the Reno Bighorns and Harry Giles was redshirting his rookie season.
Two seasons later, the coaching staff is all new and only Fox, Hield, Bogdanovic and Giles remain from this team. By any standard, that is a crazy amount of turnover.