Kings

Kings not happy with two questionable calls late in loss to Lakers

Kings not happy with two questionable calls late in loss to Lakers

Losing never feels good, but the Sacramento Kings were definitely not happy about the way things went Friday evening at the Staples Center. With the game on the line late, not one, but two plays went against Sacramento, and the Los Angeles Lakers came away with a 99-97 victory.

With 5.5 seconds remaining, Harrison Barnes was called for a blocking foul against LeBron James, which allowed the one of the game’s greats to step to the line and knock down a pair of free throws to give his club a 99-97 lead.

“Contact was made,” Barnes said. “Who initiated that, that’s for replays to decide. And they chose to call that a foul on me and that’s something you have to live with.”

At least one Kings player was willing to voice his displeasure at the chain of events following the loss.

“One call changed the whole game, it could have gone either way,” an angry Buddy Hield said. “It be like that sometimes. When the home team is favored, especially you know, in LA.”

The replay is difficult to parse out and is up for interpretation. It was clear that Barnes made a move on the ball, but it was also obvious that James made contact with the defender and cleared space.

“Sometimes you have to let the situation play out,” Hield said. “I don’t think it was a foul. It was the other way. Ask Rodney what he thinks.”

By “ask Rodney,” Hield was referring to official Rodney Mott, who called the game along with Sean Wright and Natalie Sago.

Sacramento had another opportunity to either tie or go ahead in the final moments, but this time, the officiating crew allowed the players to continue after contact.

Barnes took an inbounds pass, saw an opening and broke for the basket. It appeared that while trying to recover defensively, James clipped the back of Barnes right heel, which knocked him off balance and sent him careening towards the key.

Barnes continued to stumble towards the basket where he was met by All-Star center Anthony Davis in the lane. The 6-foot-11 big managed to absorb contact from Barnes and swat a last-second shot attempt away to preserve the Lakers win.

It turns out that Barnes going to the paint was the Lakers gameplan all along.

“The one thing we wanted to do was force them inside the 3-point line,” James told reporters following the game. “A two doesn’t hurt us. They make a two, we call a timeout, see if we can win the game, if not go into overtime. We played it to perfection making them go inside the line and then when you have a shot blocker with the caliber of AD protecting the rim, it just made it a lot tougher on Harrison.”

While James saw perfection, the Kings saw an offensive foul or no-call, followed by a second no-call. They’ll point to a disparity in free throw attempts on the evening, where they went 9-of-9 from the line, including seven attempts in the fourth quarter, while the Lakers finished 20-for-22.

“It’s always the referee’s decision to call or not call (a foul),” Bogdan Bogdanovic said. “Sometimes you get calls, sometimes not. Homecourt advantage maybe? Sometimes it goes like that, you know? But it’s over, we lost this game and we have to be locked in for Boston.”

[RELATED: Kings take leap of faith on young core]

Sacramento will wait anxiously for the league’s Last Two Minute report to drop on Saturday afternoon, although the officials report has zero value when it comes to wins and losses. The league may admit a mistake or two, but there is no recourse. They could also side with the officiating crew at the arena.

A loss is a loss, but the Kings played solid ball against the best the Western Conference has to offer. They played short-handed with De’Aaron Fox (left ankle), Marvin Bagley (right thumb) and Trevor Ariza (right groin) missing the game and they still managed to keep it close with a chance to win late.

NBA admits missed traveling late in Kings' 105-104 OT loss to Spurs

NBA admits missed traveling late in Kings' 105-104 OT loss to Spurs

Again?

For the third time in a month, the NBA admitted the Kings were victims of an incorrect call late in a loss. This time, it came in Sacramento's 105-104 overtime defeat to the San Antonio Spurs on Friday. 

With 1:10 remaining in overtime and the Kings and Spurs tied 102-102, San Antonio guard DeMar DeRozan started to drive into the lane. According to the NBA's Last Two Minute Report, which was released Saturday, DeRozen should have been called for a travel when he came to a stop.

Upon further review, it appears DeRozen's feet slide when he lands after a jump-stop. No call was made and 13 seconds later, Patty Mills was fouled on a missed 3-point attempt.

"DeRozan (SAS) gathers the ball and comes to a stop on two feet, and then slides both feet forward prior to releasing the pass," the league wrote.

Mills only made one of three free throws, but in reality, he never should have gotten three free throws. The Kings should have been granted possession with the game tied and 70 seconds left on the clock.

Instead, San Antonio took a one-point lead and went on to win.

On Nov. 26, the NBA announced that refs missed a traveling call on Boston's Marcus Smart, who would hit the game-winning shot.

Just 10 days before that, the NBA admitted that refs missed a foul call on LeBron James late in the Kings' 99-97 loss to the Lakers.

[RELATED: Marvin Bagley upgraded to questionable]

At a certain point, the NBA needs to hold its refs accountable, right? How many calls do they have to blow before someone is disciplined?

But if the refs are going to continue to miss calls, maybe one or two can go the Kings' way.

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Kings' Marvin Bagley upgraded to questionable, hopes to return 'soon'

Kings' Marvin Bagley upgraded to questionable, hopes to return 'soon'

The Kings will get second-year pro Marvin Bagley back soon.

Sacramento just isn't sure exactly when.

But Bagley, who was cleared for contact earlier in the week, was upgraded to questionable Saturday, according to the NBA's official injury report and first noted by The Sacramento Bee.

The Kings face MVP candidate Luka Doncic and the Mavericks in Dallas on Sunday.

After practice on Saturday, Bagley told The Athletic's Jason Jones that he doesn't feel the need to play against Doncic, the player he was drafted before and will forever be compared to.

"I’m going in the right direction, I’m almost there," Bagley told Jones. "It’s around the corner for me, I think it’s around the corner. It’s hard to say when, but I’ll be back soon."

Bagley fractured his right thumb in the Kings' season-opening loss to the Suns and has missed 20 games because of the injury.

[RELATED: Hield struggles, Holmes impresses vs. Spurs]

The Kings are in desperate need of Bagley's scoring. After winning seven of 10 games to bring their record to 7-8, the Kings have lost five of their last six and currently sit at 8-13.

The imminent return of Bagley and the looming return of De'Aaron Fox will be a welcome sight for the Kings.