Kings

Instant Replay: Kings' skid reaches eight games after loss to Nuggets

Instant Replay: Kings' skid reaches eight games after loss to Nuggets

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SACRAMENTO -- And then it was eight. The Sacramento Kings can’t stop the skid. After dropping the last seven, the Kings looked exhausted against the Denver Nuggets Saturday night at Golden 1 Center, falling by a final of 105-92.

Gary Harris got loose. The veteran shooting guard torched the Kings for 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting to lead the Nuggets.

With Harris bombing away from long range, big man Nikola Jokic put in solid work down low, finishing the night with 20 points and 14 rebounds.

Mason Plumlee stuffed the stat sheet with eight points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Danilo Gallinari added 15 points and Jamal Murray chipped in 14 points in the win.

Buddy Hield picked up his second straight start and responded with 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting and grabbed six rebounds. The rookie shooting guard has scored in double-figures in all but one of his nine games in a Kings uniform.

Tyreke Evans went into attack mode, scoring 16 points on 2-for-5 shooting from long range. He‘s still working on regaining his explosion, but the former Rookie of the Year is still a load in the open court.

The starting frontcourt did damage for Sacramento. Kosta Koufos started at center and nearly picked up another double-double, finishing with 10 points and eight rebounds. Willie Cauley-Stein struggled from the field, but still managed to post 13 points, grab five rebounds and dish out five assists.

Skal Labissiere energized the crowd with a couple of huge dunks. He struggled from the free throw line, but still managed to score seven points and grab five rebounds in 19 minutes of action.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

Harris took Hield to school. The third-year pro found ways to get open all night long, lighting the rookie up from long range and off the dribble.

TURNING POINT

The Kings hung around for much of the fourth, but Danilo Gallinari dropped in a 3-ball with 4:45 remaining to give the Nuggets a 93-81 lead which sealed the deal.

INJURY UPDATE

Rookie Malachi Richardson is out 4-6 weeks with a right hamstring thickness tear. Rudy Gay is out for the year with a torn left Achilles.

WHAT'S NEXT

The Kings finish their three game homestand Monday night when the Orlando Magic swing by Golden 1 Center. Following the Orlando game, Sacramento hits the road for a three game trip beginning Wednesday in Phoenix.

Kings rookie Marvin Bagley III keeps big night in blowout in perspective

Kings rookie Marvin Bagley III keeps big night in blowout in perspective

Marvin Bagley III had a ball game. After Bagley played just 12 minutes in the opener, Kings head coach Dave Joerger turned the rookie loose in the first quarter against the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday, and the 19-year-old answered the call. 

The No. 2 overall pick went at All-Star Anthony Davis, showing a variety of skill moves in the paint on his way to an early, career-best 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting. He added eight rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block. 

All of those numbers are nice, but they came in a 149-129 loss to the Pelicans.

It wasn’t an effort issue, and the Kings' offense is running just fine. Sacramento has all kinds of issues on the defensive end, which is why Bagley, who had a perfectly nice break-out game, led the team with a minus-21 in the plus/minus category. 

This isn’t a carryover from his college days at Duke. The NBA is a different beast, and the Kings are running a squad of young players out there. Bagley is one of nine players who stepped on the floor for Sacramento with four years or fewer of professional experience. 

Every night is an opportunity to learn and get better for all of these players. Following the game, Bagley said the right things. 

“I did all right, I would like to win,” Bagley told reporters in New Orleans. “Get that going in that direction, but it’s a process. This is game two of a long season, so we’ve just got to figure out what we need to do to pull games like that out.”

In the end, wins and losses are the ultimate goal, and if the Kings lose sight of that, they’ve made a huge mistake. It’s good that Bagley already has that perspective in mind.

When speaking about Bagley and fellow Kings rookie, Harry Giles earlier in the week, Utah Jazz big man, Rudy Gobert, made a point along these same lines. 

“The most important thing is that you really play to win,” Gobert said. “When you start playing just to play or just to show what you can do, but if you don’t play to win is when things get ugly.”

In his rookie season, Gobert’s Jazz team went 25-57. They improved to 38-44 in year two and 40-42 in year three before finally breaking through for 51 wins in year three. 

Utah didn’t win right away, but they continued to show improvement and played the game to with the right intentions.

The Kings are going to take their lumps this season in a similar way that the Jazz did. Sacramento isn’t predicted to make the playoffs and Vegas has them falling short of the 30-win total. 

Wins might not come easily for the Kings this season, but that doesn’t change the approach. They need to play every game with the intention to win. If they lose sight of that goal, that’s when things get ugly.

Kings takeaways: What we learned in 20-point road loss to Pelicans

Kings takeaways: What we learned in 20-point road loss to Pelicans

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No luck in the Big Easy.

The Sacramento Kings played a highly competitive 20 minutes of basketball Friday night at Smoothie King Center, but in the NBA, you have to play a full 48. 

The New Orleans Pelicans hit the gas pedal and ran the Kings off the court from the late second quarter on, picking up a 149-129 win in their home opener. 

For the second consecutive game, Sacramento struggled on the defensive end, allowing New Orleans to torch the Kings for 58.9 percent shooting from the field and 51.6 percent from 3-point range. 

Nikola Mirotic and Anthony Davis put up huge numbers, but it was a team effort as eight players scored in double figures for the Pelicans. 

Willie Cauley-Stein scored over 20 points for the second consecutive game, and four others scored 17 or more for Sacramento.

Here are three takeaways as the Kings start 0-2 on the season. 

Mirotic is on fire

The Kings knew slowing down Davis was paramount to have a chance against the Pelicans in the opener. Davis was good (25 points, 10 rebounds and six assists), but Mirotic was unstoppable.

The smooth-shooting stretch four went off for career-high 36 points on 14-of-21 shooting from the field and 5 of 9 from long range. He added nine rebounds in New Orleans' blowout win.

Welcome to the NBA, Marvin Bagley III  

After Bagley played just 12 minutes in the opener, Kings coach Dave Joerger went to the rookie early in the first quarter, and he went to work. The 19-year-old aggressively attacked Davis and his Pelicans teammates, as Bagley hit his first five shots on the way to 14 points before the break.

Bagley didn’t find the same success in the second half, but it was a productive night for the rookie, as he set new career highs with 19 points, eight rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block in 32 minutes.

Fox is answering the call 

The second-year pro continued his strong play. In the opener, he managed to drop 21 points and dish out seven assists. Fox backed that up with 18 points, six assists and six rebounds in 26 minutes of action in New Orleans.

The 20-year-old is brimming with confidence and showing that he’s ready to take a leap in his sophomore season.