Kings

Can Kings end four-game road slide?

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Can Kings end four-game road slide?

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HOUSTON -- The Kings are looking to get back into the win column as they make their final visit to Houston this season.

Sacramento has followed a three-game winning streak by dropping two straight, including Saturday's 111-108 loss at Golden State. The Kings, 4-21 on the road, committed 15 turnovers, including a critical miscue by rookie point guard Isaiah Thomas with the team trailing by one in the final seconds.

"Mistakes that we make, growing pains, we got to go through them," coach Keith Smart said. "Hopefully, these games will help us as we move forward."

Improved play from Marcus Thornton could help the Kings (17-31) end a four-game road losing streak. He has 32 total points on 13-of-33 shooting in the last two contests after averaging 30.3 in the previous three.

Thornton missed the only game against Houston this season - a 103-89 loss Jan. 13 - with a thigh injury.

Tyreke Evans finished with a team-high 27 points in that contest, but DeMarcus Cousins had just four with four rebounds as the Kings lost for the eighth time in 10 visits to Houston.

Former King Samuel Dalembert helped the Rockets win for the fifth time in six overall meetings with Sacramento with a season-high 21 points and 16 rebounds.

The Kings, who could be without forward Jason Thompson (sprained left ankle) for a second straight game, will also have to deal with newcomer Marcus Camby, who is averaging 5.0 points and 7.8 boards in four games since being acquired from Portland.

The Houston Rockets aren't making excuses for their depleted lineup.

They're too concerned about getting through a rough portion of the schedule and keeping pace in the crowded Western Conference playoff race.

Houston finishes a four-game homestand Monday night when the struggling Sacramento Kings try to improve their conference-worst road mark.

Despite missing Kyle Lowry the last nine games with a bacterial infection and former King Kevin Martin the last seven with a shoulder injury, the Rockets (26-23) have earned some big wins with Goran Dragic and Courtney Lee as the starting guards, defeating West-leading Oklahoma City on March 13 and the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday to open their homestand.

Houston had a chance to knock off Dallas on Saturday and move into fifth place in the West, but instead lost for the first time in three games, 101-99 in OT.

"We battled hard out there, but we just could not get it," said coach Kevin McHale, whose team finished the night ninth in the standings.

With the fourth through 13th spots in the West separated by just a handful of games, the Rockets could certainly use Lowry and Martin in the mix. However, there is no timetable for either to return.

Still, the Rockets could make a run without their starters. Dragic is averaging 17.0 points and 9.4 assists with Lowry out, while Lee is chipping in 14.6 points per game in place of Martin.

Rookie Chandler Parsons recorded his second consecutive double-double on Saturday with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

"I feel we have a lot of players that can play," Luis Scola told the Rockets' official website. "Everybody has injuries and we do have them, too, but we just have to keep playing. ... we needed this one big time, now we have Sacramento coming up at home and we need that one even more."

That's especially true as Houston follows with matchups against the Mavericks, Memphis, Indiana, Chicago and the Lakers before closing out the season series with the Kings in Sacramento on April 8.

DeMarcus Cousins: 'Take all them motherf****** down'

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DeMarcus Cousins: 'Take all them motherf****** down'

Some professional athletes take a stand by kneeling on the sidelines or raising a fist into the air. Some write succinct tweets expressing their dismay with the current political climate in the United States of America. Others just get right to the point with a poignant off the cuff statement to a waiting camera.

Former Sacramento Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins has certainly mastered the art of the cryptic tweet, but he’s also never been one to shy away from a direct question when asked. When an inquiry was thrown his direction about confederate statues in New Orleans and his home state of Alabama, Cousins was brief with his words, but very clear.

"Take all them mother****ers down," Cousins told TMZ while navigating a security line at the airport. "Take 'em all down.”

Cousins may not have chosen the most eloquent words, but his point of view is shared by plenty of others. He isn’t the first athlete to take a stand with regards to race in America over the last week as racial tensions have spilled out into the streets in Charlottesville, Virginia. Social media is filled with professional athletes adding their thoughts to the conversation.

The Warriors’ Kevin Durant has made it clear that he will not visit the White House and President Donald Trump, a visit most teams make following an NBA championship.

"Nah, I won't do that," the 8-time All-Star told ESPN on Thursday. "I don't respect who's in office right now.”

"I don't agree with what he agrees with, so my voice is going to be heard by not doing that,” Durant continued. “That's just me personally, but if I know my guys well enough, they'll all agree with me."

Garrett Temple has used Twitter to make his thoughts known as well. Recently named the Kings’ Players Voice Teammate of the Year by the National Basketball Players Association, Temple has used his position as an NBA player to speak out multiple times.

Over the last week, he’s fielded questions and had plenty of discussions through social media on the issues of race and equality. His Twitter timeline is littered with thoughtful replies and some not so thoughtful ideas as well. Plenty of fans thanking him for using his position to further the conversation and of course, there is the occasional, “stick to sports” comment.

Agree or disagree, today’s athletes have huge platforms to share their opinions. From Cousins to Temple, there are varying degrees of engagement, but the time of players staying out of the discussion is long gone.

The Maloofs' colossal charity bet on Mayweather-McGregor circus act

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The Maloofs' colossal charity bet on Mayweather-McGregor circus act

Gavin and Joe Maloof have gambled plenty in their lives, which is in part how they ended up losing the Sacramento Kings. They ran big, they hit a dry well, and they ended up selling the works.

So their decision to bet $880,000 on Floyd Mayweather in his “thing” with Conor McGregor for a $160,000 payout seemed the perfectly daft idea for two guys who were painted as perfectly daft when they were running the Kings and their other businesses into a freeway abutment on I-80.

In fairness, they are planning to donate their winnings to a number of charities in the name of their hangover drink (Never Too Hungover, although I might have gone with the more lyrical HurlNoMore), so it’s not like their hearts aren’t a place close to the mythical “right place.”

But it does beg the question, “Why don’t they just give $160,000 and skip the scam?” Because it wasn’t about charity, it was about promotion, and while there’s nothing wrong with promotion, attaching it to one of the seediest carnival events of the modern era makes it seem, well, kind of creepy.

Or maybe “creepy” is too strong. Maybe’s it’s just opportunism, which is more, well, Vegas-y.

Kings fans will remember the Maloofs as the family that saved the foundering team from the clutches of owner Jim Thomas, and then remember them as the family whose clutches Vivek Ranadive had to save the team from 15 years later. It’s the nature of most ownerships – you do good to eliminate a prior evil, and eventually become evil yourselves when the fans turn on you.

But the Maloofs aren’t evil – even their most strident critics will say that. They just saw an opportunity to scratch a bunch of itches at once – good-heartedness, advertising, gambling and Vegas’ most important product – selling you things you could never imagine wanting.

It almost makes you wonder if they harbor a secret itch to take the $160,000 and double down on behalf of the charities for another of their pet projects – the Vegas Golden Knights. If they put it on the Knights to win the Stanley Cup at 200-1, that’s $32,000,000. Then if they took that and . . .

. . . and before you know it, they’re trapped in the fantasyland of Las Vegas at its weirdest. Maybe it’s just performance art with more money than most of us can eat.