Kings

Instant Replay: Kings succumb to Heat in OT, drought continues

Instant Replay: Kings succumb to Heat in OT, drought continues

BOX SCORE

It took a five minute overtime session, but the Sacramento Kings' South Beach blues continued Tuesday night. For the 15 straight time dating back to 2001, the Kings rolled into Miami and came away with a loss, this time by a final of 108-96.

Goran Dragic set the table for his Heat teammates. The veteran guard led the way with 25 points on 5-of-8 from long range and he added eight rebounds and eight assists in the win.

Dion Waiters hit the Kings for 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting. Tyler Johnson gave the Heat their third 20-point scorer, finishing the night with 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting off the bench. Luke Babbitt hit three triples to finish the night with 10.

Miami had no answer for Rudy Gay. Like the Kings’ first four games, Gay went off on the offensive end, including a game-winner in the final seconds of the game. The veteran wing dropped in 30 points while grabbing 12 rebounds as the Kings.

DeMarcus Cousins abused former teammate Hassan Whiteside in the post, forcing the Heat’s $98 million man to the bench with foul trouble for most of the night. Cousins dropped 30 points and seven rebounds in 35 minutes against the NBA’s shot blocking leader. He fouled out in the final minute of the fourth on a very questionable call, but he was a beast for the Kings in Miami.

Arron Afflalo made an appearance Tuesday night. After struggling through a rough patch offensively, the 10-year vet attacked the Heat in the post, coming away with 18 points on 7-for-17 shooting.

STANDOUT PERFORMER -- The tandem of Cousins and Gay have been exceptional on most nights early this season and Afflalo joined the party tonight in Miami. The trio of players combined for 78 points on their way to the big win in Miami.

TURNING POINT -- The Heat outscored the Kings 17-5 in the overtime session to come away with the win.

INJURY UPDATE -- Omri Casspi was a late scratch due to illness. The 28-year-old forward has played in two of the Kings’ four contests this season.

WHAT'S NEXT -- Sacramento continues onto Orlando for game three of their five game road trip out East. They finish the trip with back-to-back games in Milwaukee and Toronto.

Kings Under Review: Breaking down Sacramento's wild back-to-back set

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USATI

Kings Under Review: Breaking down Sacramento's wild back-to-back set

It's been a wild 48 hours for the Sacramento Kings. On Sunday afternoon, they bested the Dallas Mavericks in their first look at rookie Luka Doncic. Monday evening in Minnesota, the Kings struggled early and turned to the bench after the first quarter in a 27-point loss.

There are always highs and lows in an 82 game NBA season, but the last two days have been a whirlwind for the Kings. The win over Dallas drew rave reviews and the loss to the T-Wolves requires some major explanation.

Sacramento currently stands at 16-14 on the season. Here are a few positives and negatives from the last two games:

POSITIVE

Team Effort

The starting backcourt of De'Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield are becoming a force, but the duo weren't the only ones to shine against the Mavericks.

Nemnaja Bjelica found his range, knocking down 4-of-7 from behind the arc to finish with 15 point and 10 rebounds. He also defended Harrison Barnes well, limiting the combo-forward to 15 points on 5-of-16 shooting, while blocking his shot four times.

Starting for the injured Iman Shumpert, Bogdan Bogdanovic posted 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Bogdanovic has been really good with the second unit for Sacramento and his ability to play multiple positions as either a starter or off the bench highlights his versatility. 

Willie Cauley-Stein and Kosta Koufos were solid at the center position and Yogi Ferrell hit some big shots against his former team.

NEGATIVE

Same Group, Different Result

After impressive showings in Dallas, Fox, Bogdanovic, Cauley-Stein and Bjelica came out flat in Minny and the game was over quick.

The quartet combined to shoot 2-of-13 from the field for six total points. Coach Dave Joerger pulled the plug on the experiment early, so the sample size is small.

Playing their third game in four nights, it was clear from his post game comments that Joerger had an idea coming in that he might rest his starting group.

Buddy Hield was the lone first team player to make shots, finishing the night with 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting in 18 minutes of action.

Joerger chose to go with a reserve unit to start the second half. The team hit Minnesota with a 21-2 run to cut the deficit to 12 points in the third, but the coach kept his starters on the bench and allowed the game to take it's course.

POSITIVE

Stay Ready

Joerger went deep to his bench in Dallas. Really deep.

Skal Labissiere played 29 minutes for Sacramento after totaling 40 minutes over the first 29 games of the season. The 22-year-old looked a little rusty at times, but he ran the floor, swiped at shots in the paint and hit a pair of 3-pointers. For a player that hasn't sniffed the court in a long time, Labissiere showed that he has remained ready.

Harry Giles also played well in extended minutes. The rookie big posted 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting. His perimeter jumper was on point, but he managed to grab just one rebound in 21 minutes.

Yogi Ferrell chipped in 16 points and Frank Mason added 12 points and six assists in 23 minutes of action with the reserves.

POSITIVE

A Split

Regardless of how poorly the Kings played in Dallas or the decision to sit the starters, Sacramento still earned a split in an extremely difficult two game set.

The Kings are 6-3 over their last nine games, including big wins over the Pacers, Timberwolves and Mavericks.

There are going to be ups and downs over an 82 game schedule. Despite the drubbing in Minnesota, the Kings are 2-1 against the T-Wolves on the season and own 16-14 record through the first 30 games.

Expectations are shifting. The Kings' schedule to finish 2018 is still extremely difficult, but the team has a shot to finish the calender year over .500, which hasn't happened since the 2004-05 season.

Weary Kings blasted early, turn to reserves in loss to Timberwolves

Weary Kings blasted early, turn to reserves in loss to Timberwolves

It’s just one loss, but …

The Kings didn’t show up Monday night in Minnesota, and were embarrassed by the Timberwolves by a final of 132-105.

“They won the jump ball, got up 14-4, that was the game,” coach Dave Joerger started his postgame press conference. “Any questions?”

With the game going sideways, Joerger made the decision to go away from most of his regulars. De’Aaron Fox, Nemanja Bjelica and Willie Cauley-Stein did not play after the first quarter. Bogdan Bogdanovic played just 10 minutes, as Joerger conceded the game early.

“We got off to a slow start and I just didn’t feel like putting those guys back in - it wasn’t going to be worth it,” Joerger said.

The Kings are a little beat up. Iman Shumpert missed the game due to a personal issue and rookie big man Marvin Bagley III is out of action with a knee injury. The starters have also been asked to play major minutes at incredible pace.

Sacramento recalled two-way player Troy Williams from the G League, and added him to the roster before the game to give Joerger's rotation another body.

From the sound of things, Joerger might have even considered resting players coming into the night. The Kings were playing the second night of a back-to-back, and it was their third game in four nights in three different cities.

“We’ve got to be better in back-to-backs,” Joerger said. “This is about our fourth one where we’re playing a team that’s rested.”

Joerger was off by one. The Kings have played six sets of back-to-backs on the season. In five of those sets, the team Sacramento played on the second night was coming in rested.

“That’s one thing we’re working on as a young team, learning how to play in back-to-backs, you know, finding that energy from somewhere,” forward Skal Labissiere told reporters in Minnesota. “We’ve been struggling with that the whole year.”

Joerger went deep into his bench, playing all eight of his reserves more than 17 minutes apiece. Labissiere, who had played a total of 40 minutes over seven games this season, posted nine points and five rebounds in 29 minutes.

“I’ve been staying ready since the season started, whenever I saw that my role went down,” Labissiere said. “So I’ve just been working. Just stay on the grind and do what I can do.”

Williams, Yogi Ferrell, Frank Mason, Justin Jackson and Harry Giles all put up numbers in their opportunity. Ben McLemore played as well, but struggled to find a rhythm after sitting most of the year.

“I’m happy that the guys stayed ready to play,” Joerger said of his reserves. “Because everybody has a role on a roster in the NBA and you’re going to have some nights like these. I commend those guys for going out there, being professional, playing hard and taking the minutes.”

Joerger’s first team dug a huge hole. They lacked energy from the opening tip. In the second half, the Kings’ coach turned to an entire unit of reserves. They responded with a 21-1 run that cut the Timberwolves lead to 12, but the game slipped away quickly after that.

The Kings flew home after the game. They should be well rested when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday evening at Golden 1 Center.