The Kings are not Stanley Cup champions ... yet

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The Kings are not Stanley Cup champions ... yet

From Comcast SportsNet
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- After 45 years of waiting, the Los Angeles Kings' quest for their first Stanley Cup title will last at least a few more days. The Kings had a chance to sweep New Jersey out of the Stanley Cup finals on Wednesday night, but they were done in by three third-period goals in a 3-1 loss to the Devils in Game 4. While the Kings are an amazing 15-3 in this remarkable postseason run, they have lost three Game 4s with a chance for a sweep. No worries, though, as Los Angeles bounced back in Game 5 to knock out Vancouver and Phoenix on the road. The Kings managed to sweep St. Louis in the second round. The Devils claimed their first lead of the series in the third period before Kings defenseman Drew Doughty tied it. Adam Henrique put New Jersey ahead to stay with 4:29 left, and Ilya Kovalchuk secured the Eastern Conference champions' first win of the series with an empty-net goal. Now it's back to New Jersey for Game 5 on Saturday night. "It was pretty even all the way, but they found a way to get a late goal," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "We had some chances early in the third, but we didn't bury it, and we made a couple of mistakes that they capitalized on. We've just got to hit the reset button. "We've been in this situation now three times in the playoffs, and we've always come back with a big rebound game." The Kings might have to get some rebounds past 40-year-old Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, who has been in top form all series, and stopped 21 shots in Game 4. The NHL's career winningest goalie doesn't appear to be satisfied with the three Stanley Cup titles he already has. "Marty played well for them and made some big saves," Brown said. "Tonight was a battle out there, and now it's just a matter of having the same approach in the next game." The Kings were trying to become the first team to sweep the Devils in a best-of-seven series, and the first to sweep the finals since the 1998 Detroit Red Wings. New Jersey had managed a total of only two goals in the first three games -- dropping a pair of 2-1 overtime decisions at home before losing 4-0 in Los Angeles in Game 3. Los Angeles has won a record 10 straight road games in these playoffs, and 12 consecutive postseason games away from home, dating to last year. If the Kings win one more in New Jersey, they will also own the mark for most road wins in a playoff year with 11. "Whether you win or lose, we don't have time to get down or too excited. We just have to focus on the next one," goalie Jonathan Quick said. "We've played well on the road, but at the same time, we try to play the same way whether you're on the road or at home. We're just focused on the next one, and that's all it is. This one is in the past." Quick faced 72 shots in the first three games, and the only two that got past him were a bounce off the chest of Kings defenseman Slava Voynov, and Ryan Carter's deflection of Marek Zidlicky's shot. On Wednesday, he was beaten by Henrique's perfectly placed wrist shot. "They were desperate in all of the games," Kings forward Anze Kopitar said. "Everybody is bringing their A' game in the finals, and we're going to have to do it again. We have to bury the chances we get. "They seem like they had chances off the rush, and they capitalized on those. They played with a little more desperation than we did, and we have to correct that in Game 5." Teams that had a chance to win the Cup on home ice are 6-8 since 2000. The last four champions closed the deal on the road. The Kings could be primed to repeat that feat. "We didn't have our best game, and they did," defenseman Matt Greene said. "They played well. We knew they were going to come out hard, and they did. We have to be tighter in the defensive zone and tighter in our game if we want to win. "I think we played OK, but that's not going to cut it right now. We've got to do a better job of moving the puck faster out of our zone, getting more sustained pressure in theirs and disrupting their game." The Kings can take comfort in the fact that teams who led 3-0 in the Stanley Cup finals have won the series 24 of 25 times since the NHL went to a best-of-seven format in 1939. The only exception is the 1942 Detroit Red Wings, who blew the big lead against the Toronto Maple Leafs. None of the Kings appeared worried Wednesday that the Stanley Cup was slipping out of their grasp. The games have been tight, and Los Angeles has effectively shut down the Devils' power play, which is 0 for 15 in the series. "I don't think we were expecting to win in four before the finals started," Kings forward Simon Gagne said. "We're in a great position, but it's going to be a big fight. We all know that fourth one is going to be the toughest one to win. "Sure, you're disappointed. You hope you could do it in front of your fans. But at the same time, it's the Stanley Cup finals, and it's going to take a lot of work to get it done. They played well, and we came up short. That's the bottom line. Now we have to focus on the next game. That's it."

Azubuike: Paul George 'definitely put in a call to Klay Thompson'

Azubuike: Paul George 'definitely put in a call to Klay Thompson'

Paul George can become a free agent in 2018.

Klay Thompson is scheduled to hit free agency a year later.

Might they be future teammates with the Lakers?

"He's (George) definitely put in a call to Klay Thompson, and obviously he feels like Klay Thompson is a guy that he would love to play with in the Lakers," NBC Sports Bay Area Warriors analyst Kelenna Azubuike said on 95.7 The Game on Tuesday morning. "Now, for all we know, Klay could have said, 'Buzz off, I'm staying with the Warriors.' It doesn't really mean much that he put in a call. They probably had a nice conversation.

"Maybe they even talked about something other than basketball, and didn't talk about basketball at all. Who knows. It doesn't really mean much, but he's definitely put in calls to Klay Thompson; he's talked to LeBron James and he's trying to see if he can figure out who can come with him to the Lakers."

George reportedly told the Pacers he isn't going to stay with the franchise long-term and Indiana is currently looking to trade him before he has the opportunity to walk.

George -- who grew up in Los Angeles -- wants to suit up for the Lakers.

Klay is entering Year 3 of a 4-year, $69 million deal.

If he continues to play at his current level, he will absolutely be in line for a max deal when his contract is up.

A lot can change between now and then, but one thing is clear at this point: Klay doesn't want to go anywhere.

“At the end of the day, I’ve tasted winning,” Klay told Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group at the championship parade. “No stats can ever overcome that. I’d rather win these championships and score no points than have 60-point games and 37-point quarters. These championships are everything to me...

"It’s so much more to being part of a team and being part of something special. You can build a legacy ... the thing with basketball these days, there’s a lot of individuality with stats, numbers, Who’s the greatest, he’s a better player than him, he put up this many points.

"But Steve (Kerr) helped me a lot with that. He said nobody is going to remember how many points you put up. They are going to remember how many championships you win."

Klay was born in Los Angeles, grew up rooting for Kobe Bryant and went to high school in Southern California.

His father, Mychal, won two titles with the Lakers.

"But I doubt, I highly doubt that Klay Thompson will end up leaving the Warriors," Azubuike added.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Dorell Wright knew Steph and Klay would be this good because...

Dorell Wright knew Steph and Klay would be this good because...

Dorell Wright played for the Warriors in 2010-11 and 2011-12.

He spent a lot of time with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. 

Did he think they would end up being this good?

"Yeah. I seen it because they put the time in, they put the work in," Wright told Alex Kennedy on the HoopsHype Podcast. "Sometimes we'd have to go talk to Steph like, 'Yo, you know we got a game tonight? You're going pretty hard.'

"He's a little different, man. He takes coaching and advice from everybody. If you're telling him something that's gonna better him and help him, he's gonna sit there and listen to you. He's not gonna be one of those guys that thinks he knows everything.

"I'm happy for his success ... I'm just happy he's back and being healthy."

And what about Klay?

"A guy that I had to shoot with every day in different 3-point drills that Mark Jackson used to have us doing," Wright explained. "And I'm always going first because I'm the starter, and then it would be Klay and B-Rush. I'm making 20 shots in a drill and Klay would come right behind and hit like 26, and it's like, 'Dang, this dude really is a dead-eye knockdown shooter.'

"So that was a great experience being around another good shooter and a guy that puts the time in to get better each and every day."

During the 2010-11 season, Wright set the Warriors' single-season franchise record with 194 3-pointers (Curry made 151).

The following year, he made 105 in 61 games.

Wright, who will turn 32 in December, has not played in a regular-season NBA game since April 1, 2015.

He spent the 2015-16 season in China, before returning to the Heat for the playoffs.

He was in training camp with the Clippers last October, but was waived during the preseason.

Wright enjoys watching the Warriors play and wants to make an NBA comeback.

Perhaps with his former squad...

"They play well with each other, they move the ball and they take good shots ... that's pretty hard to guard," Wright said. "I didn't get a chance this year to play them so I can't really, really tell you how hard it is (laughing), but they make it look real easy out there.

"Hopefully I can get back out there next year so I can be either on their side or on the side of trying to dethrone them."

Wright also made sure to give some love to Warriors fans.

"Some of the most loyal fans that you will ever encounter -- rowdy, loud and just love their Bay Area teams ... I'm still a resident of the Bay Area and they still show me love like I'm a current Warriors player everywhere I go...

"The fan love is crazy."

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller