Kings

Koufos takes blame, but Kings full of miscues down the stretch

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USATSI

Koufos takes blame, but Kings full of miscues down the stretch

SACRAMENTO -- At 13-28, the Sacramento Kings have lost in a variety of ways. Slow starts doom them early. Poor shooting nights have happened, as has the occasional blow out. They’ve lost eight games by 20 or more points and even a 46 point stinker to the Atlanta back in mid-November.

On Thursday night at Golden 1 Center, the Kings battled back multiple times from double-digit deficits. They entered the fourth quarter trailing the Los Angeles Clippers 100-89, but didn’t go away.

Sacramento battled back, taking a one point lead on three separate occasions in the final frame. They were in the game all the way down to the wire.

And then for one of the few times this season, the game appeared to shift on one play. Down two with 15.2 seconds remaining, big man Kosta Koufos came up with a steal in the backcourt, giving Sacramento an opportunity to tie or go ahead.

Koufos put the ball on the floor to advance it to the mid-court line and then made a quick pass to point guard George Hill. In the blink of an eye, Tyrone Wallace flashed in front of Hill, taking the ball straight to the rim for a dunk and a four point Clippers lead with 10.9 seconds remaining.

“Sometimes that stuff happens at the end of games and you’ve got to wrap your arms around your teammate and love on them, because we’re all going to feel, like, terrible,” head coach Dave Joerger said following the 121-115 loss to the Clippers.

It’s a moment that hurts. It’s also a moment that overshadows so many other issues that played out over 48 minutes of basketball.

Zach Randolph missed a tip-in at 2:34 mark and then turned the ball over with 1:38 remaining.

George Hill missed two free throws in the final 1:10 of the game and went 1-for-6 in the final quarter.

Buddy Hield shot 1-of-5 from the field in the fourth and missed all three of his 3-point attempts.

“That can happen to anyone,” Bogdan Bogdanovic said. “Game is not with one mistake. We so many mistakes from beginning to start of the second half and end of the game. Kosta was in that situation. Could have been me, could be anyone else. That happened. That’s basketball.”

Koufos had a monster game for Sacramento. He posted his first double-double of the season, finishing with 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting and chipped in 14 rebounds. He was on the court in crunchtime because of his strong play.

Following the loss, the 7-footer got dressed early and then waited in his stall to answer to the media. He was visibly shaken by the final moments of the game, but he’s a pro’s pro.

“It was an error on my part, just tighten it up, that’s it,” Koufos said.

To add insult to injury, the highlights of the game played on the TV screens in the locker room moments later. When it came time to watch the turnover, Koufos couldn’t look away.

It’s a season of development for the Kings. Moments like this are going to occur, even for veteran players like Koufos.

In another of many scheduling anomalies this season, the Kings will get another shot at the Clippers Saturday afternoon at Staples Center. There’s no time to overthink a loss in the NBA. It’s onto the next game.   

Kings notes: Sacramento pushes the tempo on first day of training camp

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USATSI

Kings notes: Sacramento pushes the tempo on first day of training camp

SACRAMENTO -- Sneakers squeaking. The thud of the ball bouncing off the hardwood. The clang of iron and the silky sound of a swish. Basketball is back.

The Kings opened training camp Tuesday morning at the team’s practice facility attached to Golden 1 Center. When media was ushered in, the players streaked up and down the court running an advanced version of the three-man weave. 

Sweat poured as they tried to shake off the summer rust. In the middle of it all was head coach Dave Joerger imploring his young group with an already raspy voice. 

The Kings are going to push the tempo. If someone isn’t getting the message, they aren’t going to play -- it’s that simple. Here are some of the highlights from the first day of camp.

  • The focus in Sacramento is on developing the young players this year. There will be nights when the wheels completely fall off the bus, and other times when the Kings run their opponents off the floor.“The fun is in the journey, and this is a year that there’s a lot of heavy lifting,” Joerger said following Day 1. “There’s a lot of development that needs to occur and there are going to be some pains in it, but the fun part of it is we have good guys who work hard and play hard, and they’re fun to be around.”
     
  • Sprinting up and down the court was no issue for speedster De’Aaron Fox. He was ready for the challenge, although some of his teammates might not have been. “Day 1 is crazy,” Fox said. “A lot of times they try and test you. We ran a lot today. They were just testing a few people and emphasizing that we are going to get up and down the court. We’re going to play fast and guys have to be in shape to do it."
     
  • Fox is trying to make a huge jump forward in his second NBA season. The team is putting the 20-year-old out front and letting him find his way as both a player and as the face of the franchise. “Rookie season is over,” Fox said. “Guys are actually listening and guys are looking to me. So I’ve got to have those answers and I’ve got to be able to help people.”
     
  • Buddy Hield is built for the up-tempo style. He loves to shoot the 3-ball and he’s looking forward to taking another step forward in his progression as a player. “Coach says we’re going to play fast and start running, and I like running, so I’m not going to argue with that,” Hield said following practice. “We’ve just got to play fast, play together and play the right way.”
     
  • Nemanja Bjelica is one of a few new faces on the Kings roster. He came to Sacramento, in part, to play with his close friend and countryman, Bogdan Bogdanovic. The Serbian combo forward will have to fend for himself while Bogdanovic recovers from Monday’s knee surgery, but he likes what he sees so far. “First day is always tough, but we have, like, great chemistry, guys are ready to work,” Bjelica said. 


Sacramento is scheduled to practice in the morning and the evenings throughout the week. They’ll open back up to the media for the morning session on Wednesday, where the coaching staff will likely continue to run the young Kings until they can run no more. 

Kings lead nonpartisan voter registration drive

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AP

Kings lead nonpartisan voter registration drive

SACRAMENTO -- Bigger than basketball. It’s a mantra that has played out many times in Sacramento and the Kings are dusting off the message again for National Voter Registration Day with their “Rally the Vote” push.   

The Kings are one of nine professional franchises teaming up for a nonpartisan coalition urging their fans to register to vote before the November primaries.

Joining the Kings in the effort are the Chicago Bulls, Chicago White Sox, L.A. Clippers, L.A. Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, Oakland Athletics, San Francisco 49ers and San Francisco Giants. 

As of 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 87.9 million Americans eligible to vote who are not registered. Through teams mobile apps, websites and social media channels, a platform for fans has been created to register fans to vote. 

“If we can make buying a ticket to a sporting event accessible in a few clicks, there is no reason why registering to vote shouldn’t be the same,” Vivek Ranadivé, Owner and Chairman of the Sacramento Kings said via a prepared statement. “Voting is one of the most important things we do as Americans and is central to our democracy, yet tens of millions of people are not registered to vote. Sports teams have a responsibility to enact positive change in their communities, and I’m proud to see so many of us coming together to help fans register to vote so that they can have a voice in elections.”

The group of franchises have partnered with Democracy Works, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that uses technology to make voting easier. 

Marvin Bagley III has filmed a PSA for the registration drive which will air in the arena during the Kings’ preseason matchups against Maccabi Haifa on Oct. 8 and the Utah Jazz on Oct. 11 and again during the season opener against the Utah Jazz on Oct. 17.

The deadline to register in the upcoming election in California is Oct. 22. To register to vote through Rally the Vote, visit RallyTheVote.TurboVote.org.