Bench leads Kings to 91-82 win over Magic

cousins_demarcus_magic_kings.jpg

Bench leads Kings to 91-82 win over Magic

BOX SCORE

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) DeMarcus Cousins had 17 points and 14 rebounds, and reserve guard Isaiah Thomas also scored 17 to help the Sacramento Kings beat the Orlando Magic 91-82 on Friday night.

After squandering an 11-point lead in the third quarter, the Kings regrouped in the fourth behind the strong play of their backups. Led by Thomas, who scored 11 points in the period, reserves played for much of the final quarter and produced a 15-2 run that propelled Sacramento to consecutive wins for the second time this season.

Jimmer Fredette had nine of his 15 points in the fourth quarter for the Kings, who outscored the Magic 29-18. Jason Thompson added 12 points and Aaron Brooks 11. The Kings are 5-0 at home when leading at halftime.

Glen Davis had 20 points and 11 rebounds for Orlando, but fouled out in the final 36 seconds.

Arron Afflalo had 18 points and Jameer Nelson scored 17 for the Magic, who have lost two straight and five of seven. Andrew Nicholson added 14 points.

The Kings were without starting guard Tyreke Evans, who didn't play for the third time in four games with a sore right knee. Evans was a critical factor in the Kings' victory Wednesday over Toronto, making two 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter and scoring 23 points.

A fast-break layup by Afflalo cut the Sacramento lead to 81-78 with just under 3 minutes left. The Kings' final 10 points were free throws, including a pair by Cousins that stretched their cushion to 87-78 with 28 seconds remaining.

The Kings used a 15-2 run to take a nine-point lead, but Orlando responded on Davis' three-point play and a 3-pointer from Nelson to trim it to 79-76 with 3:40 left.

After losing the lead in the third quarter, the Kings regained it in the fourth behind the play of five reserves. Fredette connected on a corner 3 off a fast break for a 69-68 advantage at the 8:28 mark. A jumper by Fredette a short time later capped seven unanswered points for the Kings, who took a 73-68 lead.

Nelson had 10 points and Afflalo scored nine in the third period when the Magic shook off a poor first half and outscored the Kings 30-16. Nelson made all four third-quarter shots, including a pair of 3s.

Trailing 54-43 in the third, the Magic finally got going offensively, scoring 16 straight points. Afflalo scored the final five, hitting two free throws and a 3 that put Orlando in front 59-54 with 4:28 left in the quarter.

The Kings benefited in the first half from the inside play of Thompson and Cousins. Thompson had 10 points and six rebounds, while Cousins had nine points and eight rebounds in leading the Kings to a 46-34 halftime lead. Brooks also scored nine points for Sacramento.

Davis scored 10 first-half points for the Magic, who shot 35 percent. They were outrebounded 27-18 and committed nine turnovers.

NOTES: Francisco Garcia made his first start of the season in place of Evans. Garcia had played in only seven of the Kings' previous 17 games this season. ... Orlando missed all five of its 3-point attempts in the first half. ... Sacramento shot 32 percent in the third quarter and was outrebounded 13-7. ... Orlando concludes its five-game West Coast trip Sunday in Portland, while the Kings play five of the next six on the road, starting Saturday in Portland.

Source: Kings hire Perry as Executive VP of Basketball Operations

Source: Kings hire Perry as Executive VP of Basketball Operations

SACRAMENTO -- The changes keep coming in Sacramento. NBC Sports California has confirmed that the Kings have hired former Orlando Magic executive, Scott Perry, to fill the role of Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations.

Perry will report directly to Vlade Divac, who will retain final say in player personnel decisions.

Perry spent the last five seasons in Orlando as Vice President of Basketball Operations and Assistant General Manager. He was let go from the Magic last week following the dismissal of General Manager Rob Hennigan.

Perry, 53, began his career as an executive with the Detroit Pistons where he held the position of Director of Player Personnel from 2000-2007. He briefly left the Pistons, joining the Seattle Supersonics organization as an Assistant General Manager of the team for the 2007-08 season, before spending another four years as Detroit’s Vice President of Basketball Operations from 2008-2012.

Highly regarded around the league, Perry adds another experienced basketball mind to the Kings front office.

During his postseason media availability last week, Vlade Divac spoke openly about his willingness to accept additional help.

“We’re open always to improve - the team, the front office, everything is open for improvement,” Divac said. “I’m very happy and confident in what we have right now, but like I said, we should be open if something can you better.”

With the addition of Luke Bornn on Wednesday to head up the team’s analytics department, and Perry on Friday, the Kings appear to be building a stronger infrastructure as they move into a full youth movement.

Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical was first with the information.

Kings add new stat guru Luke Bornn to front office

Kings add new stat guru Luke Bornn to front office

SACRAMENTO -- Changes are coming to the Sacramento Kings. The team quietly made news on Monday evening when it was reported that Roland Beech, the Kings VP of Basketball Results, will not return after two years on the job.

But Sacramento hasn’t abandoned the analytics movement. In fact, they are about to invest heavily in a new group, with a new face at the helm. -- Luke Bornn, who will join the Kings front office as the new VP of Analytics and Strategy, NBC Sports California has learned.

In accepting the role, Bornn, 31, will leave soccer giant A.S. Roma as well as his positions as an assistant professor at Simon Fraser University and visiting scholar at Harvard University. He’ll be taxed with building a new department in Sacramento that will look to bring in some of the brightest minds in the field of analytics.

He is a stat head for sure, but one with a focus on creating a system of sketching and mapping the spatial movements of players using the incredible technologies now available to teams through the NBA’s SportVU system.

“We’ll be looking at more advanced modeling tools often with the player tracking data to try and get a deeper understanding of player performance,” Bornn told NBC Sports California. “There is a lot of what happens on the court that really is not picked up by the box score. A lot of players that make big contributions make it in ways that don’t appear. It’s not an assist, it’s not a rebound, it’s not a block.”

According to their site, “SportVU utilizes a six-camera system installed in basketball arenas to track the real-time positions of players and the ball 25 times per second. Utilizing this tracking data, STATS is able to create a wealth of innovative statistics based on speed, distance, player separation and ball possession.”

Introduced to the basketball data world while working at Harvard in 2012 by Kirk Goldsberry, who now works for the San Antonio Spurs front office, Bornn is already well known in the basketball world for his work.

“Kirk and I sort of hit it off,” Bornn said. “He had just gotten SportVU data and he basically said to me, ‘I have this data, but I have no idea what to do with it, I have the basketball side, but I don’t have the technical side.’ I had the technical side and so it started a long collaboration of working with player tracking data.”

Bornn has co-authored papers presented at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in each of the previous four years, including four straight Sloan finalist papers.

Every team in the league has someone looking over this data, but Bornn hopes to tailor the information to the needs of the Kings’ staff.

“It’s not about me coming in and saying, ‘Here is how to think about the game and here’s the magic numbers,’” Bornn said. “It’s really about me going to them and saying, ‘How do you think about the game, what is it that you care about, is there questions you want answered and can I help you with that?’”  

The plan is for Bornn and his team to build a database of sorts that is accessible to players, coaches and the front office that relies heavily on video to show information, instead of just numbers on a page. They will have your conventional statistics, but an array of other options as well specifically created for the team.

“My role with the Kings will be all encompassing,” Bornn said. “It’s player evaluation, opponent scouting, it’s performance - with the sports science group there. We’ll be looking at all aspects, from the basics of stats, all the way to the more advanced metrics.”

From developing oncourt strategies to charting player health, Bornn and his team will make information accessible to the Kings’ front office, coaching and medical staff with the hope of adding yet another resource for the franchise.

Predicting player injuries is one of the hot button topics in the NBA at this moment with the league going as far as elongating the All-Star break and taking another 10 days onto the schedule to help spread out back-to-back games. It’s a complex issue that is in its fledgling stages.

“In terms of injuries, that’s where everyone wants to go and I think that’s where we’ll aim to go as well, but right now, that’s very much an unsolved problem,” Bornn said.

It appears that the Kings are jumping into the analytics field with both feet. Bornn is moving to Sacramento with his family and will be on the ground as the Kings prepare for a very important 2017 NBA Draft and then free agency.