Instant Replay: Kings beat Magic, make losing streak disappear

Instant Replay: Kings beat Magic, make losing streak disappear


SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings sat four veterans Monday night at Golden 1 Center, suiting up just nine players against the Orlando Magic. It didn’t matter. Behind a ruckus crowd, seven Kings scored in double-figures as the home team snapped their eight-game losing streak by a final of 120-115.

The Thin Towers put on a show. Starting together on the frontline for the first time, Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere gave fans a glimpse of the future in Sacramento.

Cauley-Stein went to work in the post, scoring 18 points and grabbing seven rebounds. Labissiere produced on both ends of the floor, coming away with 11 points, seven rebounds and four blocks in 20 minutes of action.

Veteran point guard Darren Collison orchestrated the offense, hitting the Magic for 19 points and 13 assists. His work with Cauley-Stein in the pick-and-roll opened up the perimeter shot for Sacramento’s shooters.

Anthony Tolliver made it rain from downtown, dropping in 5-of-7 from behind the arc on his way to 19 points and six assists.

Buddy Hield let it fly. The rookie shooting guard isn’t shy about hoisting up shots. Against the Magic, he finished with 17 points on 6-for-13 shooting from the field and added six rebounds.

Veterans Garrett Temple scored 14 points and grabbed two steals and Ben McLemore scored 14 on 3-for-6 shooting from long distance.

During the 2014 NBA Draft, the Kings chose Nik Stauskas over Elfrid Payton. Payton went two picks later to the Magic and in his third season in the league, he’s growing into a solid pro for Orlando. Monday against Sacramento, he pushed the tempo, finishing the night with a 13-point, 13-assist, 10-rebound triple-double.

Nikola Vucevic hurt the Kings in the post. The veteran big dropped in 23 points and added nine rebounds as the Magic fell to 24-44 on the season.

Evan Fournier got hot from the perimeter, scoring 21 points on 4-of-11 from deep. Aaron Gordon finished with 17 points and three rebounds and Mario Hezonja added nine off the Magic bench.

Sacramento dropped in 16-of-30 on the night, including makes from six different players. The ball movement was good and so was the spacing.

The short-handed Kings put on a gritty performance, using all 48 minutes to come away with the win and snap their eight-game losing streak.

Tyreke Evans missed the game with a sore left ankle. Kosta Koufos, Ty Lawson and Arron Afflalo all sat for “planned rest.” Rookie Malachi Richardson is out another week or two with a right hamstring thickness tear. Rudy Gay is out for the year with a torn left Achilles.

The Kings travel to Phoenix following the game where they’ll take on the Suns Wednesday in the first of three on the road.

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.