James Ham

Kings vs. Mavs watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

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AP

Kings vs. Mavs watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

SACRAMENTO -- The circus comes to Golden 1 Center Thursday evening when star rookie Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks roll into town. The Kings could use a good distraction after a disappointing loss last time out.

Tuesday's game was a head scratcher for Sacramento. The Kings started the third quarter on a 20-0 run and took a 25 point lead into the fourth quarter. In a stunner, Brooklyn ran over the Kings in the fourth quarter, outscoring the home team 45-18 in the fourth to come away with a stunning 123-121 victory.

[RELATED: How to watch Kings-Nets online and on MyTeams app]

The Mavericks are playing on the second night of a back-to-back after losing Wednesday night in Portland. They've lost two straight and 14 of their last 16 as they head down the home stretch of the season.

Kings Pregame Live on NBC Sports California begins at 6:30 p.m., with tipoff scheduled for 7:00 p.m. All coverage can be seen on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.

The Kings finish off their homestand on Saturday against the Phoenix Suns and then head back out on the road. They'll start a five-game trip starting Sunday in LA against the Lakers, followed by stops in Dallas, New Orleans, Houston, and San Antonio.

Line

Kings by 9

Projected Lineups

Kings
PG De’Aaron Fox
SG Buddy Hield
SF Harrison Barnes
PF Nemanja Bjelcia
C Willie Cauley-Stein

Mavs
PG Luka Doncic
SG Jalen Brunson
SF Tim Hardaway Jr.
PF Dirk Nowitzki
C Dwight Powell

Injury Report

Kings 
No injuries to report.

Mavs
PF Maxi Kleber (wrist) questionable, PG J.J. Barea (Achilles) out, PF Kristaps Porzingis (knee) out.

Rotation Outlook

Kings

Dave Joerger is likely to stick to his standard starting lineup down the stretch, although his rookie tandem of Marvin Bagley and Harry Giles are earning more minutes every game out. 

Bagley is coming off another breakout performance where he scored 28 points on 12-of-15 shooting to go with seven rebounds. He played 29 minutes off the Kings' bench as he continues to work through a minutes restriction.

Fox is finishing the season strong and Joerger continues to feed him more minutes. The 21-year-old point guard is averaging 19.5 points and 7.4 assists in 33.5 minutes per game since the All-Star break.

Mavs

Rick Carlisle's group is struggling down the stretch after shaking up their roster at the deadline. The veteran coach has relied heavily on Doncic throughout the season as his primary ball handler and the 20-year-old has held up surprisingly well. Selected with the 3rd overall selection in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Kings will get a long look at the player they passed on in June.

Former King, Justin Jackson, makes his return to Sacramento after being sent to Dallas at the trade deadline as part of the Barnes trade. The second-year guard is coming off his best game in a Mavs uniform, posting 21 points on 8-of-15 shooting in the team's loss to the Blazers on Wednesday.

It's unknown if Dirk Nowitzki will play on the second night of a back-to-back, but it might be the last time he comes through Sacramento as a player. The 40-year-old future Hall of Famer can still knock down a shot, but running the floor against a team like the Kings won't be easy.

Twelve losses that Kings regret most in chase for elusive playoff berth

Twelve losses that Kings regret most in chase for elusive playoff berth

SACRAMENTO -- Shoulda, coulda, woulda. While the Sacramento Kings have taken leaps and bounds forward this season, they are on the outside looking in on the postseason picture for a 13th straight season.

With 12 games remaining, the Kings trail the Clippers and Jazz by seven games in the standings for the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference playoffs. Sacramento isn’t where they want to be and there are a grouping of games they let slip through their fingers that they wish they had back.

Here is a look at the 12 toughest losses of the season for the Kings. A bounce here and there and any one of these could have gone a different direction. Even a split of these games would have this team in the hunt for a postseason berth.

Kings vs. Warriors - Nov. 24 - Oracle Arena  

The NFL is known as a game of inches, but that’s often the case in the NBA as well. The Kings came into their first matchup of the season with the reigning Champs at a surprising 10-8. They gave Golden State all they could handle for a full 48 minutes.

After a Willie Cauley-Stein block, Klay Thompson secured his own rebound and scored the go-ahead basket with five seconds remaining in the game. On the ensuing possession, Buddy Hield missed an 8-footer for the win, but rookie Marvin Bagley flew in for the board. With only a few ticks on the clock, Bagley wedged the ball between the rim and the backboard and the Kings failed to get another shot off, dropping the game by a final 117-116.

Kings vs. Warriors - Dec. 14 - Golden 1 Center

In another epic battle with the Champs, the Kings took a one-point lead on a jumper from De’Aaron Fox with 46 seconds remaining. After a 5-0 run from the Warriors, Hield missed a 25-footer with five seconds remaining that would have tied the game.

Sacramento fouled Stephen Curry with two seconds remaining to give Golden State the 130-125 victory. The Kings led by 10 points in the fourth quarter, but were outscored 17-2 over the final 4:23.

Kings vs. Lakers - Dec. 30 - Staples Center

With LeBron James on the shelf, the Lakers were very beatable in December. Sacramento took a lead into the fourth quarter and held the lead until Los Angeles tied the game with 2:55 remaining.

The shots stopped falling for Sacramento down the stretch. Hield even missed a free throw off of a technical foul. Los Angeles finished the game on an 11-4 run to come away with a 121-114 victory.

Kings vs. Trail Blazers - Jan. 1 - Golden 1 Center

Sacramento opened the new year with an overtime loss at home to the Blazers, but it never should have gone to an extra frame. Leading 101-92 at the 3:10 mark of the fourth, the Kings’ offense went dormant again.

Portland hit the Kings with an 11-2 run to tie the game. Fox missed a 20-footer that would have ended the game in regulation and the Blazers took control in the extra session for a 113-108 victory.

Kings vs. Warriors - Jan. 5 - Golden 1 Center

Leading by seven to open the fourth quarter, the Kings didn’t wait until the final seconds to go cold. On their home floor, they scored just two points in the first 5:31 of the fourth. Sacramento didn’t quit. They took a lead with 2:24 remaining, but then went cold again.

The Kings missed five out of six shots down the stretch, losing a close game to the Warriors for the third time on the season, this time by a final of 127-123.

Kings vs. Suns - Jan. 8 - Talking Stick Resort Arena

The Kings walked into Phoenix at 20-20 with an opportunity to move back over the .500 mark against a 9-32 Suns team. They punished the home team early, taking a 72-53 lead into the half. And then things went sideways.

Phoenix outscored the Kings 33-14 in the third quarter to tie the game going to the fourth. Cauley-Stein hammered home a dunk with 1:03 remaining to give the Kings a 111-110 lead, but Sacramento never scored again, falling to a bad Suns team by the final of 115-111.

Kings vs. Nuggets - Feb. 13 - Pepsi Center

In the start of a string of brutal losses, the Kings finished their pre-All-Star break schedule with a stop in Denver against a very good Nuggets team. Sacramento opened the game with a huge first quarter, outscoring the home team 41-30 in the opening 12 minutes. The Nuggets erased the deficit in the third quarter and took a two-point lead into the fourth.

After going back and forth the entire quarter, the Kings hit Denver with a 6-0 run in the final 1:02 to tie the game at 118-118. Nikola Jokic missed a four-footer in the final seconds, but tipped the ball back in with barely any time remaining on the clock. Hield got off a 3-pointer as time expired, but it missed and the Nuggets escaped with a 120-118 victory.

Kings vs. Warriors - Feb. 21 - Oracle Arena

Coming out of the break, the Kings faced the Warriors for the fourth and final time. Like every other contest between these two teams, it came down to the wire. In a wild fourth quarter that saw five lead changes and four ties, the Warriors went up by six with just over a minute remaining.

Riding the hot hand of Hield, the Kings trailed by just two points with 10 seconds remaining. After a pair of missed free throws from Andre Iguodala, Hield came up short on a 12-foot jumper and the Warriors escaped with a 125-123 victory. Golden State swept the season series 4-0, but by a total of 10 points over the neighbors to the north.

Kings vs. Bucks - Feb. 27 - Golden 1 Center

Playing out a string of games against the best the league has to offer, the Kings took the Bucks to the brink in both regulation and overtime before falling by a final of 141-140. The Kings rallied from an eight-point deficit with just over three minutes remaining. They took a lead with 26 seconds left, but the Bucks tied it up on an Eric Bledsoe bucket. With 11 seconds remaining, the Kings had the ball and a chance to win it in regulation, but Fox couldn’t get a shot off.

In the overtime session, the Kings had plenty of chances, but a series of small mistakes added up to disaster. Cauley-Stein turned the ball over with 40 seconds remaining. Bogdan Bogdanovic followed that with a missed free throw, which proved to be the difference in the final score.

Kings vs. Celtics - March 6 - Golden 1 Center

The Kings trailed by five going to the fourth quarter, but they didn’t cash it in against Boston. With seven seconds remaining, Gordon Hayward fouled Hield shooting a 3-pointer. Hield knocked down all three from the line to tie the game at 109-109.

With two seconds remaining on the clock, Hayward got his revenge, knocking down a nine-foot jump shot to give Boston a two-point lead. Harrison Barnes had a look from 30-feet out to win the game as time expired, but he was offline and the Celtics handed the Kings a tough loss.

Kings vs. Wizards - March 11 - Golden 1 Center

In a must-win game on the road, the Kings came out flat in the third quarter and the Wizards took advantage, taking a nine-point lead into the fourth quarter. But the Kings battled back, as they have in plenty of games this season.  

With 3:41 remaining, Sacramento retook the lead at 112-111 on a Hield layup, but then they disappeared. The Kings couldn’t buy a bucket down the stretch and were outscored 10-3 to fall by a final of 121-115.

Kings vs. Nets - March 19 - Golden 1 Center

This one takes the cake. Rarely have the Kings stomped on a team like they did during the third quarter of this game. They hit Brooklyn with a 20-0 run to start the second half and looked like a team poised for a second straight victory.

[RELATED: Kings learn harsh lesson and squander huge lead vs. Nets]

Sacramento led by 25 points to start the fourth, but they allowed D’Angelo Russell to score 27 of his 44 points in a wild final 12 minutes. The Nets silenced the home crowd and with 0.8 remaining on the clock, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson converted a layup over the outstretched arms of Marvin Bagley to give Brooklyn the win. The visiting team outscored the Kings 45-18 in the final period to pull out the improbable 123-121 victory.

Kings learn another harsh lesson, blow massive lead in loss to Nets

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USATSI

Kings learn another harsh lesson, blow massive lead in loss to Nets

SACRAMENTO -- The hum of a stocked glass-door refrigerator in the corner was the only discernible noise in the Kings’ locker room Tuesday night. The weight of a monumental 123-121 loss to the Brooklyn Nets hung in the air, and no one was in a mood to speak to the media.

In a season of harsh lessons, blowing a 25-point fourth quarter lead and giving up the winning bucket with 0.8 seconds remaining may have been the straw that broke the Kings' backs.

“It’s just a bad loss,” a frustrated De’Aaron Fox said.

“We blew it. I hate losing, especially like that,” rookie Marvin Bagley said.

After destroying Brooklyn with a 20-0 run to begin the second half, the Kings looked unbeatable headed into the fourth quarter.

Bagley was having another breakout game. Fox looked finished for the evening when Joerger turned to Yogi Ferrell off the bench.

Sacramento led by 103-78 heading to the final frame. They were well on they’re way to their 35th victory, and a move back to .500.

Then, D’Angelo Russell caught fire.

The Kings have seen a player do something similar in the past. Golden State’s Klay Thompson hit the team for 37 points in a third quarter of a game back in Jan. 2015. But this was different.

This wasn’t a run to blow a team out. Russell’s 27-point outburst in the fourth came in a hostile environment, as every point cut into a big deficit. The All-Star guard finished the evening with 44 points out of necessity for his club, and the Kings had no answer.

“Well, that certainly can be a tough one to take, but it’s a good opportunity for our guys to learn and hopefully we’ll be in those opportunities again in the future where we have a lead and we don’t relax,” coach Dave Joerger said. “We relaxed and were very casual, didn’t run back on defense, turned the basketball over a ton and took a lot of jump shots because we thought it was going to be easy.”

The lead evaporated quickly. Sacramento started missing shots, and turning the ball over. Russell started pulling up for 3-pointers on the break, and hitting them.

A stunned Golden 1 Center crowd was silenced as the Nets hit the Kings with one blow after another.

“They made shots, we turned the ball over, they got it going and got hot and they finished the game better than we did,” Fox said.

When Russell missed a couple of shots, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson picked up the slack. When they needed a big 3-pointer, veteran Jared Dudley knocked it down.

Joerger tried different looks in the fourth, but nothing seemed to work. Sacramento shot just 22.7 percent in the final 12 minutes, and turned the ball over seven times. Only Buddy Hield hit more than one shot in the final 12 minutes, and even he went just 2-of-6 from the field, and missed all three of his 3-pointers.

“They wanted it more than us,” Hield said. “They out-toughed us. Outplayed us. They were the guys that were the most confidence. They were talking, having fun. They took the fun away from us in the fourth quarter.”

[RELATED: Why Christie never can forget LeBron's famous first dunk]

In the end, the Nets hit big shots and the Kings came up short. The ball got sticky, the game slowed down and a team with a lot to play for handed Sacramento a devastating loss.

“We kind of relaxed in that moment and the basketball gods punished us. That’s how it goes,” Bogdan Bogdanovic said.

With the defeat, the Kings dropped to 34-36 on the season. Combined with a Los Angeles Clippers victory, Sacramento fell seven games out of the eighth spot in the Western Conference standings with 12 games remaining.