Kings, Pacers give Indian youth in Mumbai night they never will forget

Kings, Pacers give Indian youth in Mumbai night they never will forget

MUMBAI, India -- Never has 4,000 kids screaming at the same time sounded so good.

The Kings' NBA preseason loss to the Pacers on Friday night was unique for several reasons. It was the first NBA game ever played on Indian soil. The game was played in a venue that was not designed for basketball. Instead of selling the tickets for the historic game to the general public, thousands of kids from the surrounding Jr. NBA programs were bused to the NSCI Dome to watch the game.

Roughly 75 buses were needed to bring all the aspiring basketball players to Mumbai.

What happened once the game started was something that no one has ever seen or heard.

Those 4,000 youth went crazy with every single basket. It didn't matter whether it was the Kings or Pacers filling it up. There was screaming. Lots and lots of screaming.

But in this rare instance, no one was annoyed by the screaming. In this case, it made for an incredible scene.

"I thought it was amazing. It was awesome," Kings coach Luke Walton said after the game. "What a cool event to be a part of … NBA basketball. We talked about it as a team before the game, but NBA basketball in the middle of India and a crowd full of kids that have come through Jr. NBA, and then we got out to the court, like you said, whoever scores, they were cheering for.

"I heard Kings chants, I heard Pacers chants, so it was a lot of fun."

Buddy Hield, who led the Kings with 28 points in the preseason opener, loved the scene.

"When the Pacers were losing, they were going for the Pacers and when we started losing, they went for the Kings," Hield said. "It was a great atmosphere and those kids will remember it for the rest of their lives. Us coming down here playing the game of basketball at the highest level, in India, it’s big time. I enjoyed myself, I’m still enjoying myself here. The people of India are very welcoming and they treat you with a lot of respect."

After Indiana's T.J. Warren tied the game 118-118 with 7.8 seconds remaining in regulation, Hield had a chance to win the game at the buzzer, but missed.

Those same kids cheered as loud as ever, but not because they were rooting against the Kings. It meant they got to see five minutes of NBA basketball.

"To be in this new environment, it was very, very humbling," Warren said. "To be able to come out and compete in front of the kids, in front of India means a lot. We’re very grateful for this."

The Pacers trailed the Kings by 13 at halftime, but they turned things around in the second half.

[RELATED: Watch Ferrell hit halftime buzzer-beater]

Coach Nate McMillan gave an assist to the kids in attendance.

"It was good energy out there. The kids were loud. Kids are loud anyway," McMillan said. "They were good, they were into the game. I wasn’t sure if they were going to be pulling for the Pacers or the Kings. It was somewhat of a mixed crowd. But good energy and the guys fed off that. When you have a crowd that’s into the game, it was intense. There’s no doubt the players fed off of that and they started compete even harder to try to win the game."

No matter how the Kings-Pacers game goes on Saturday, it's unlikely to top the atmosphere created by those 4,000 screaming kids.

NBA admits LeBron James fouled Harrison Barnes on decisive Lakers-Kings play


NBA admits LeBron James fouled Harrison Barnes on decisive Lakers-Kings play

The Kings' 99-97 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night was too close for comfort. It also created a controversial call -- a call in which we received some recent clarity.

With 5.5 seconds remaining in the game, Harrison Barnes was called for blocking a foul against LeBron James. This allowed LeBron to sink a couple of free throws to get the Lakers 99 points.

Barnes would later say contact was made but was waiting for the replay to decide.

The NBA Officiating Last Two Minute Report would confirm James did indeed foul Barnes with 5.5 seconds remaining. 

"James (LAL) makes marginal contact with Barnes's (SAC) front at the start of the drive before both players make incidental leg contact," the report stated.

“Who initiated that, that’s for replays to decide," Barnes said after the game. " And they chose to call that a foul on me and that’s something you have to live with.

[RELATED: No timetable for De'Aaron Fox return]

Buddy Hield spoke to NBC Sports California's James Ham about the play and said it was a game-changer.

With a game that close, he could be right.

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.