Game-by-game look at longest homestand of season for Kings

Game-by-game look at longest homestand of season for Kings

The Sacramento Kings have been strangers for much of the season, playing 20 of their first 34 games away from the newly opened Golden 1 Center. Beginning Tuesday with the Miami Heat, they play a season-high seven straight at home.

Here is a quick look at the teams slated to come through Sacramento over the next 14 days.

1 - Miami Heat (10-26) - The Heat are besieged with injuries and come into Sacramento riding a six-game losing streak. They played in Phoenix on Tuesday night, making this a tough back-to-back start for a group missing at least three starters. If the Kings lose here, there's no telling where this homestand goes.

2 - Los Angeles Clippers (23-14) - Two weeks ago the Clippers were listed amongst the contenders for the Western Conference title. But like Miami, the injuries have begun to pile up and so have the losses. Los Angeles knocked off the Suns last time out to break their six-game losing streak, but without Blake Griffin and potentially Chris Paul, this team isn’t nearly as scary.

3 - Golden State Warriors (30-5) - The Warriors are the best team in basketball and they are rolling. Golden State has won three straight and 10-of-11 and they haven’t even hit their stride. They have no way to stop DeMarcus Cousins, but Sacramento struggles to guard the 3-point line where the Warriors feast. Is this a first round playoff preview?

4 - Detroit Pistons (16-21) - This was supposed to be the year that the Pistons joined the Eastern Conference elite, but Stan Van Gundy and his crew are scuffling. Detroit is 2-8 over its last ten and struggling to integrate leading scorer Reggie Jackson back into the mix after a prolonged layoff. This game looked much tougher on paper when the schedule came out.

5 - Cleveland Cavaliers (26-7) - The Champs roll through Sacramento for game five of their season-long six game road trip. Will they look past the Kings to their game against the Warriors three days later? This is a bruising team, but coach Tyronn Lue has sat his stars in plenty of games this season. It will be interesting to see which Cavs team shows up.

6 - Oklahoma City Thunder (21-14) - Russell Westbrook will likely post a triple-double in this game, but the Kings have played the Thunder tough over the past few seasons. If you want to be a playoff team, you have to go .500 against teams like this. OKC is a tough, but beatable as Sacramento showed earlier in the season when they came away with a 116-101 win at Golden 1 Center.

7 - Indiana Pacers (18-18) - When this team was assembled over the summer, they looked like they might be a team on the rise. The Pacers have a soft schedule leading up to the showdown in Sacramento, so their record will likely look much better than it does today. Again, this is one of those 50/50 games that good teams find a way to win on their home floor.

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


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


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.