Kings

Kings' Marvin Bagley ready to return to action after eight-game absence

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AP

Kings' Marvin Bagley ready to return to action after eight-game absence

SACRAMENTO -- When the practice facility doors opened Monday morning, there was good news for the Kings on almost every court.

On the far court to the right, Cory Joseph hoisted 3-pointers from the corner. The veteran guard is listed as questionable due to illness, although he’s feeling much better.

Joseph has one of the longest current streaks for consecutive games played in the league at 233 games and the veteran guard confirmed to NBC Sports California that he intends to extend that total Monday evening when the Kings host the Orlando Magic.

On the far court to the left, Nemanja Bjelica got some shooting work with the development staff. Like Joseph, he is expected to play against the Magic despite a sprained right ankle.

The court closest to the door was crowded. De’Aaron Fox worked on his jumper with development coach Rico Hines and assistant Bobby Jackson hit Marvin Bagley III with passes. Fox is one of the few fully healthy bodies on the Kings' roster at this point, but Bagley came into the day as questionable after missing the previous eight games with a left mid-foot sprain.

Following his workout, Bagley, who has made it through a few practices and participated in shoot-around, confirmed that he is available for coach Luke Walton Monday against the Magic.

“Yeah, I’m going to give it a go tonight,” Bagley said. “I’m feeling pretty good. I’ve been going through practices and workouts and I’m just getting back into it. I’m going to suit up tonight and get back out there.”

Bagley had yet to sit down with the coaching and medical staff to discuss his role or any limitations he might have in his return.

“I don’t know nothing yet,” Bagley said. “I’m just going to show up, be ready and whenever I get in the game, whenever I get my number called, I’m going to do what I do.”

This is a different situation for Bagley than the injury that cost him 22 games earlier in the season. With a broken thumb, you can keep up with cardio and stay as close to game shape as possible. With a foot injury, Bagley will need time to adjust to the speed of the game and build his wind back up.

Walton confirmed that Bagley would be on a minutes restriction Monday, although he wouldn’t give specifics.

[RELATED: Kings turn to divine intervention in injury-plagued season]

Harry Giles will make his third straight start at center. He’ll have the tall task of slowing All-Star big man Nikola Vucevic, who comes into the night averaging 18.5 points, 11.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game for the Magic.

Bogdan Bogdanovic (right foot soreness) and Richaun Holmes (right shoulder injury) are out of action for the Kings.

Kings launch 'In this Together' campaign to support active community

Kings launch 'In this Together' campaign to support active community

With the NBA season on hiatus, the Sacramento Kings are shifting gears as a franchise. On Monday morning, they announced a new initiative aimed at helping the community that has supported them for the last 35 years.

According to the team’s official press release, the “In this Together” program is a “new effort to engage and connect through online activations, health awareness, physical and educational activities, business support and more.”

The program has a four-pronged approach, which aligns with what the NBA is doing as a whole. Those four initiatives are Know the Facts, Acts of Caring, Expand Your Community and NBA Together Live.

Through their social media platforms, the team hopes to educate and promote information from the California public health officials, the American Red Cross Gold Country and Sacramento County. 

The team has also posted videos from owner Vivek Ranadivé, as well as players like Marvin Bagley and Bogdan Bogdanovic on staying healthy and active while under directives from the state and local governments to remain in your home. 

Under the acts of caring banner, the Kings have donated nearly 5,000 pounds of perishable foods to the Sacramento Food Bank and the Sacramento County Office of Education. They are also working with team partners like Xfinity to provide free educational resources and First 5 California to create coloring sheets and downloadable activities through Kings.com/Together.

The team plans to release at-home workout videos from Nike featuring Kings game night host Katerina Kountouris, as well as at-home basketball drills for kids featuring Doug Christie, Bobby Jackson and G League coach Ty Ellis. 

They are also going to launch a contest where fan-submitted videos will get Kings broadcaster Grant Napear’s famous “If you don’t like that, you don’t like Kings basketball!” call.

[RELATED: Sleep Train Arena could convert into COVID-19 hospital]

Partnered with NBC Sports Bay Area and California, the Kings will continue running classic games from the 2017-20 campaigns through April 15. The team is also encouraging fans to watch Pay It Forward LIVE, a digital concert series from Verizon that benefits small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

The Kings plan on doing more in the community as their fans are isolated in their homes for the foreseeable future. You can find out more information by going to Kings.com/Together.
 

Five moments to remember from Kings' buzzer-beating win over Rockets

Five moments to remember from Kings' buzzer-beating win over Rockets

Programming note: Watch the re-air of the Kings’ victory over the Houston Rockets from Dec. 9, 2019 today at 3 p.m. PT on NBC Sports California.

The NBA has closed its doors indefinitely, but we have been able to dig into the archives and come away with some of the best games from the last few seasons for your viewing pleasure.

In our sixth installment, we go back to earlier this season, when the Kings went toe-to-toe with the Houston Rockets and came away with a huge game-winner from Nemanja Bjelica.

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’ 119-118 buzzer-beating win over the Rockets at the Toyota Center.

“F--k it, we deserved this win.”

Bjelica usually is quiet and stays away from the media when he’s given the choice. After drilling a 32-footer as time expired to give his team a huge win, Bjelica stopped by to speak with the Kings’ broadcasting team of Grant Napear and Doug Christie and he let loose with an F-bomb that has since been made into t-shirts.

The veteran stretch four has been very good for the Kings since signing as a free agent in the summer of 2018. He has hit plenty of long range 3-pointers, but none was bigger than the dagger against Houston.

“Game over. Game over.”

Star point guard Russell Westbrook put up 34 points and eight assists against the Kings in this game, including nine of the Rockets' final 12 points in regulation. With one second remaining on the clock, he put in a layup to give the Rockets a 118-116 lead and wouldn’t stop talking.

Westbrook's shot was huge, but Bjelica outdid him with the buzzer-beater. Sometimes it’s best to wait until the clock strikes zero before proclaiming victory.

Buddy Buckets

Where would the Kings be without Buddy Hield and his ability to knockdown the triple?

While Bjelica gets the fanfare in this one, Hield’s 3-pointer with 8.4 seconds remaining tied the game and gave the Kings a shot. 

Hield scored a team-high 26 points in this game, including 6-of-13 shooting from long range. In a hostile environment, he came up huge for Sacramento.

It’s raining 3s

Hield tied the game late with a 3-pointer and Bjelica hit the game-winner while wading in the Gulf of Mexico, but these shots were part of a larger trend in this game.

Sacramento went a stunning 20-for-45 from behind the arch, outscoring the high-powered Rockets 60-51 from deep. Only eight players stepped on the court for coach Luke Walton in this game and seven of them knocked down a 3-ball.

Back-to-back

The Kings got off to a rough start to the 2019-20 season, dropping their first five games. They bounced back, but came into this stretch in dire need of some wins.

[RELATED: Sleep Train Arena could be converted into COVID-19 hospital]

They dropped the first two games of the road trip in Portland and San Antonio, and then had to finish the trip with a back-to-back against the Dallas Mavericks and Rockets on Sunday and Monday.

Sacramento almost blew an eight-point lead in the final three minutes in Dallas, but held on for a 110-106 victory. With the win in Houston, the Kings returned home with a .500 trip and then beat the Oklahoma City Thunder Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center for their third win in four days against high-level teams.