Homemade recipe for disaster bites Kings again in loss to Warriors

Homemade recipe for disaster bites Kings again in loss to Warriors

SACRAMENTO -- How to lose a game in seven minutes or less. Step 1: Miss shots. Step 2: Argue with officials. Step 3: Allow your opponent to score easy buckets in transition while you are still arguing about your missed shot.

The Sacramento Kings played a really solid first half Sunday night against the Golden State Warriors, leading by as many as 16 points.

And then they fell apart in the first seven minutes coming out of the break. They never recovered from their third quarter woes and fell to the best team in the Western Conference by a final of 117-106.

“They’re not difficult to guard in transition if you communicate and you’re focused and you’re not arguing at the referees after turnovers and missed shots,” Garrett Temple told media members following the Kings’ third straight loss.

Golden State trailed by seven at the half, but just after the midway point of the third, they had already wiped out the Kings lead and held a 10-point advantage.

“We’re losing them ourselves,” veteran point guard Ty Lawson said. “Just from little things like arguing with the refs and stuff like that. And they’re running out and getting dunks and layups.”

This is a recipe for disaster that the Kings have become experts at creating. They play well for stretches and then have momentary lapses that lead to massive deficits. Against a team like the Warriors, there is no margin for error, let alone room for a 39-13 run between the late second quarter and the mid-third quarter.

“We talk about it all the time,” Temple added. “The officials seemingly aren’t on anyone’s side at the end of the day. Both teams always argue with the officials, but, especially in that third quarter, we seemed to let it get to us even more than usual. They’re a different team on the break. They have three dead-eye shooters and a power forward that can pick people apart.”

The Warriors finished the night with a 28-3 advantage on the break. Once they turned the game into a track meet, Steph Curry and Kevin Durant started knocking down 3-balls and the game got out of hand.

“I think we did everything right in the beginning,” DeMarcus Cousins said of Sacramento’s fast start. “As usual, we always have that one quarter or that one little stretch where we have bad basketball. It kind of comes back to bite us in the end.”

Cousins struggled to find his game, finishing with 17 points on 4-of-11 shooting. He turned the ball over seven times, including three fumbles in the third as the game spun out of control. Cousins has played big minutes all season long and carrying more weight than most.

“He’s exhausted,” head coach Dave Joerger said following the game. “He’s been carrying the torch for a long time. It seems perhaps maybe longer than just this year. Is there a night off coming or something? He had a tough night. At the same time, I don’t think Golden State gets enough credit for their defense.”

Sacramento has now lost three straight and four of the last five. With the Detroit Pistons coming through town on Tuesday night, sitting the team's best player seems like a stretch.

The Kings needs a win to keep pace in the Western Conference playoff race. They also need a victory to avoid a complete meltdown, which has happened more than once for this team over the last few seasons.

Rudy Gay had another solid performance since returning from injury. The 30-year-old forward scored 15 of his 23 points in the first quarter as the Kings built their early lead.

Joerger went with a new starting group, giving Garrett Temple and Anthony Tolliver a look alongside Cousins, Gay and Darren Collison. Both had solid performances.

Tolliver dropped in 16 points on 3-of-4 shooting from long range and Temple finished with 14 points in 42 minutes of action while limiting Klay Thompson to 8-of-19 shooting.

The Kings have dropped the first three games of their season-long seven game homestand. They draw the Pistons on Tuesday, before facing the NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night.

Kings finish 2017 NBA Draft with night that can turn franchise around

Kings finish 2017 NBA Draft with night that can turn franchise around

SACRAMENTO -- The Kings had a big draft night. The kind of night that might turn a franchise around. They entered the evening with three picks, including two in the top 10. With their first selection, they filled the franchise’s biggest need when they drafted De’Aaron Fox and then they went to work.
 
Vlade Divac and his team of front office execs jumped on an early trade, dealing the No. 10 overall selection to the Portland Trail Blazers for No. 15 and No. 20. North Carolina’s Justin Jackson was too appealing to pass on, and like Fox, he fit a major position of need. 
 
Sacramento came back with the 20th selection, taking one of the biggest risk/reward picks in the draft. Duke’s Harry Giles is playing on rebuilt knees, but before that, he was one of the top prospects in all of basketball. If he can stay healthy, the Kings may have drafted the biggest steal of the night. 
 
They topped off the evening with the selection of Wooden and Naismith Award winner Frank Mason III with the 34th overall pick. The Kings entered the night without a single point guard and they ended it with two very exciting options. 
 
“I’m very excited about the talent that we brought here tonight,” Divac said. “They’re going to just be an addition to what we’re trying to build here in the second half of the season.”
 
The Kings turned down overtures to move up to draft Fox. The 19-year-old speedster will step in and immediately compete for the starting point guard spot and he’s very excited to be a King.
 
“It’s just the vibe that I got when I was out there,” Fox told local Sacramento media via phone. “I felt like they really wanted me.” 
 
John Calipari is known for his bevy of All-Star bigs throughout the league, but he’s also produced a long line of big-time guards. Sacramento is hoping that Fox can live up to the billing of other former Calipari guards like Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans and John Wall. According to Divac, the Kings were so high on Fox, they would have taken him higher. 
 
“Screaming,” Divac said about the reaction in the room to Fox falling in their lap. “It was a guy that we all loved and in some way, if we had the number 1 pick, he would’ve been our guy.”
 
“De’Aaron is our future,” Divac added.
 
Without a perfect fit at 10, Divac made an adjustment on the fly to add more assets. The decision to trade 10 for 15 and 20 was very similar to the last season when the Kings dealt the eighth overall pick for No. 13, 28 and the draft rights to Bogdan Bogdanovic. By splitting the pick in two, the Kings were able to land two talented pieces that mesh with the current roster build.
 
Jackson and Fox know each other well. The duo played AAU ball together and Fox says he considers Jackson an older brother.  He is friends with Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere from their Kentucky connection.
 
“I feel like we can grow together,” Fox said of the Kings’ young core. “Of course, it’s going to take some time, but every franchise takes time.”
 
Fox is the jewel of the night and Jackson will compete for time at the wing, but Giles is the wildcard. The 19-year-old big can play the four and the five and has elite potential. 
 
“I’m so excited he was there for us at the 20,” Divac said. “That kind of talent you can’t pass.”
 
The Kings have done their homework on Giles. The type of knee injury that he sustained is similar to former NBA players Danny Manning, Amaré Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin. Manning and Martin each played 15 years in the league and Stoudemire lasted 14 seasons before retiring in 2016. After meeting him in person in Sacramento and working him out, they are very confident that he will be able to overcome his injuries and have a successful career in the NBA. 
 
Mason III will remind Kings fans of Isaiah Thomas, another undersized point guard that fell to the second round. The Kansas star posted 20.9 points, 5.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds for the Jayhawks last season. He’s a hard-nosed leader that can jump out of the gym and will instantly become a fan favorite in Sacramento. 
 
It’s a huge haul. Sacramento added two points guards, a wing and a big from some of the best basketball schools in the country. More than that, they added high character winners to a changing culture. 
 
For the first time in a while, the Sacramento Kings have accumulated assets. They have hit the ground running in their attempted rebuild and for one night, they are the talk of the NBA.

Kings select PG Frank Mason III No. 34 overall in the 2017 NBA Draft

Kings select PG Frank Mason III No. 34 overall in the 2017 NBA Draft

With the No. 34 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, the Kings selected the 2016-17 Player of the Year in point gaurd Frank Mason III.

Mason averaged 20.9 points and 5.2 assists per game as a senior at Kansas. 

The Kings wrapped up the 2017 NBA Draft with point guard De'Aaron Fox at No. 5, small forward Justin Jackson at No. 15, power forward Harry Giles at No. 20 and Mason at No. 34.