Kings' roller coaster ride takes another turn in loss to Suns


Kings' roller coaster ride takes another turn in loss to Suns

SACRAMENTO -- Learning the hard way. The Sacramento Kings are one of the few teams in the league that could lose to the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday, beat the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday and then stumble against the Phoenix Suns on Friday.

It’s a focus issue. It’s a consistency issue. It’s a young team issue. It’s an issue.

“Tough one,” Bogdan Bogdanovic said. “We felt good after (the) Cleveland win. But that’s the thing you have to learn in this league, that we have to go every night hard and (with) the same mindset.”

From the opening tip, the Kings looked out of sorts. They had no answer for forward T.J. Warren. They couldn’t get a rebound. They were out-hustled and outshot by an equally young team.

“They made shots and we missed shots,” George Hill said from his locker stall. “I thought they kind of beat on the rebounds and second chance points and things like that.”

The final rebounding numbers have Phoenix leading 45-38. Sacramento's minus-seven rebound differential happened on the offensive end, where the Suns beat the Kings 16-9. Those 16 rebounds led to a 19-11 advantage in second chance points. “Rebounding and second chance points and things like that" pretty much sums up the evening.

“We got off to a slow start in the first quarter,” a befuddled Dave Joerger said following the 111-101 loss. “The game plan was to be aggressive, to be physical, to get back in transition, to keep them off the glass as much as possible.”

The game plan went out the window early. Phoenix jumped out to a 35-25 lead after the first quarter and held a 16-8 rebounding advantage. Sacramento clawed back in the game late, even taking a four point lead in the fourth quarter, but a series of errors did them in.

Phoenix finished the game on an 18-4 run over the final six minutes of the game. After a blissful win over the Cavs, the Kings were left once again scratching their heads.

It’s a process. The Kings are competing every night. They have even learned how to finish in certain situations. But bringing a consistent energy and effort is still an issue.

“I don’t know if you can teach,” Garrett Temple said of team’s young players. “I think they just have to learn through trial and error - the losses teach them. You have to learn something from the losses and I think the losses will teach them that you have to be ready for each game.”

The search for consistency continues New Year's Eve when Sacramento plays the third contest of their six-game homestand. The Kings draw another sub-.500 club on Sunday when the Memphis Grizzlies roll into Golden 1 Center. Which Sacramento Kings team will show up?


NBA Draft Prospect Profile: Deandre Ayton

NBA Draft Prospect Profile: Deandre Ayton

Deandre Ayton - Center - Arizona - Freshman

Age: 19 Height: 7-foot-1 Weight: 250

Stats: 20.1 points, 11.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, .6 steals, 1.9 blocks, 34.3% 3-point

Player Comparison: David Robinson (without the defense), Karl-Anthony Towns


Built like David Robinson, Ayton comes into the league with an NBA ready body. He put up huge numbers at Arizona, using an advanced post game, with potential to extend his range behind the arc. He projects as a franchise big and a potential superstar.


Ayton’s a beast on the offensive end, but his effort and understanding on the defensive side of the ball leaves you wanting more. He’s not a great shot blocker and his motor has been an issue dating back to his high school days. He dominated the college game with his size and athleticism, but he’ll find much bigger and stronger players at the next level.


Ayton would push for starter minutes at the center position in year one. He’s a top tier scoring option and he would instantly improve the team’s rebounding issues.

Chance of going No. 2

It’s unlikely the Suns pass on Ayton with the top overall selection, but if they do, Sacramento would jump all over the opportunity to draft the 19-year-old center. He looks and plays the part of a franchise cornerstone and he’s too talented to slip past the Kings.

Brother of Kings forward Zach Randolph shot and killed


Brother of Kings forward Zach Randolph shot and killed

Authorities say the brother of an NBA player was killed during an early morning shooting at a Marion bar.

Police say Roger Randolph, brother of Sacramento Kings player Zach Randolph, was killed when gunfire erupted about 5 a.m. Saturday at Hop’s Blues Room. 

Zach Randolph was not with his brother at the time, police say

Investigators have not said what led to the shooting. But police say they do not believe it was a random act.

Police say an officer heard shots fired and found Roger Randolph on the ground between two cars.

Zach Randolph, a two time NBA all-star, was a standout at Marion High School and led the Marion Giants to an Indiana state championship in 2000. He was a two-time All-Star with the Grizzlies. Last season was his first in Sacramento where he averaged 14.5 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report