Kings

NBA Gameday: Collison is Kings' best hope for slowing down Chris Paul

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USATI

NBA Gameday: Collison is Kings' best hope for slowing down Chris Paul

The Kings are home for another four contests before heading out for another long road trip and they are looking to snap a three-game losing streak. DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay lead Sacramento into battle against a Los Angeles Clippers team that the Kings, and plenty of others around the Association, love to hate.

After another slow start against the Spurs on Wednesday, Sacramento’s Dave Joerger insinuated that changes to the lineup are on the table. The Kings’ head coach is notoriously quiet about who starts and who sits, waiting until the last possible moment to list the lineup.

Los Angeles is fresh off a heartbreaking last minute loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night. Marc Gasol drained a 3-pointer from the baseline to snap the Clippers nine-game winning streak, sending them to just their second loss of the young season.

OPENING LINE

Clippers by 7

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Darren Collison vs. Chris Paul -- Whether Collison starts or comes off the bench, he is Sacramento’s best hope for slowing the nine-time All-Star. The two guards know each well after spending time as teammates both in New Orleans and in Los Angeles. Collison is averaging 11.3 points and 5.8 assists in 29.5 minutes per game through his first four contests of the season. Paul has played extremely well, posting 18.3 points, 8.3 assists and leading the NBA with 3.1 steals per game.

WHERE THEY STAND

Kings: 4-8, fourth place in Pacific

Clippers: 10-2, first place in Pacific

INJURY REPORT

Kings: No injuries to report.

Clippers: F Brice Johnson (back) out, F Wes Johnson (foot) out, F Paul Pierce (ankle) out.

SERIES HISTORY

The Clippers took three out of four against the Kings last season, including a 117-107 win at Sleep Train Arena in late February. During the Sacramento-era, the Kings hold a 69-63 advantage and they lead the Clippers 113-86 all-time.

QUOTE

“Right now, they’re one of the top three teams in the West. They’re firing on all cylinders. They’re scoring. They have a lot of corporate knowledge, they’ve played together for a long time.” -Joerger on the Clippers
 

Luke Walton's lawyer responds to assault allegations from Kelli Tennant

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AP

Luke Walton's lawyer responds to assault allegations from Kelli Tennant

Sports broadcaster Kelli Tennant and her attorney, Garo Mardirossian, laid out sexual assault allegations against Kings coach Luke Walton on Tuesday afternoon.

Now, in a statement obtained by NBC Sports California, Walton’s attorney, Mark Baute, has responded with a strongly worded statement of his own.

“These claims are false and Luke’s innocence will be proven in court," Baute said Wednesday. "Yesterday's press conference was a poorly staged attempt to portray the accuser as a viable spokesperson for an important movement. Her lawyers want to create a public circus to distract from their complete lack of evidence to support their outrageous claims. We will not try this case in the media or pay them a dime.”

The Kings have been quiet on the subject of Tennant's accusations against Walton since releasing a short statement Monday after the initial news broke.

“We are aware of the report and are gathering additional information. We have no further comment at this time,” the Kings said in an official statement.

The NBA released a similar statement on Wednesday: “We are coordinating with the Kings organization and are in the process of gathering more information.”

Kelli Tennant, lawyer publicly allege Luke Walton sexually assaulted her

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USATSI

Kelli Tennant, lawyer publicly allege Luke Walton sexually assaulted her

Sports broadcaster Kelli Tennant, one day after filing a lawsuit alleging Luke Walton sexually assaulted her in 2014, sat alongside attorney Garo Mardirossian on Tuesday afternoon and held a press conference to further state her allegations against the Sacramento Kings coach.

“I am no longer comfortable being silent about the things that have happened to me," Tennant told an assembly of reporters in Los Angeles, "and although this may come as a shock to many of you in this community, this is a reality that I have been living in for years, and I can no longer stand to not tell the story of what has profoundly affected my life in all of the events that we have alleged in our complaint."

According to Tennant, she has known Walton and his wife, Bre Ladd, for many years through ties with volleyball. In 2013, Tennant and Walton became colleagues at Spectrum SportsNet and developed a friendship. She also looked to him as a mentor.

Tennant was writing a book and asked Walton to write the foreword for her, which he agreed to do. They met and worked together on the book, and when she eventually published it, she wanted to give him a copy of the finished work. 

Tennant alleges the two agreed to meet up at his hotel in 2014, when Walton was in town to face the Lakers as part of the Warriors' coaching staff. But when she arrived at the hotel to give him a copy of the book, Walton told her that he didn’t want to hang out in the lobby because the players were around.

He then brought her up to his room, where Tennant claims an aggressive attack occurred.

“Out of nowhere, he got on top of me and pinned me down to the bed and held my arms down with all of his weight,” Tennant said. “He kissed my neck and my face and my chest. As I kept asking him to please stop and get off, he laughed at me.”

After the initial encounter, Walton allegedly grabbed her a second time from behind and started kissing Tennant’s neck. 

“I thought he was going to rape me,” Tennant said.

During the press conference, Tennant explained how she eventually was able to leave the hotel room, but that wasn’t the last encounter she had with Walton. 

Walton joined the Lakers as head coach in 2016, which resulted in Tennant working with him on a daily basis. According to Tennant, Walton was inappropriate with her on multiple occasions, including unwanted hugs and kisses.

“Every interaction with him that I had over that time made me incredibly uncomfortable and feel unsafe,” Tennant said.

Their last encounter was at a charity event in 2017, when Walton allegedly made a comment about her dress, followed by an uncomfortable hug. 

“Every feeling I had from that first experience of feeling disgusted and betrayed, came back,” Tennant said.

According to Tennant, she had been working for Spectrum SportsNet for just under one year when the initial incident occurred with Walton at his hotel. She was 25 years old at the time and feared for her job.

“I was scared,” Tennant said. “When someone assaults you and you think you’re going to be raped, coming forward is a scary thing. I have spent years now dealing with this. Trying to forget about it. Hoping I could push it to the side and bury it, and hoping that time would heal. That was not the case.”

According to Mardirossian, they haven’t taken the case to law enforcement, and outside of Tennant’s account, they have no other further evidence to support the claim. Tennant told family members of the event but did not discuss it with anyone in human resources at Spectrum or with either the Warriors or the Lakers.

The Kings, who hired Walton as their coach last week, have not released anything other than their initial statement, “We are aware of the report and are gathering additional information. We have no further comment at this time.”

The NBA added this statement, per multiple reports: “We are coordinating with the Kings organization and are in the process of gathering more information.”

According to league sources, Kings general manager Vlade Divac did not know of pending allegations when he signed the 39-year-old coach to a four-year contract.