Instant Replay: Kings can't close Wizards out, fall in OT as losing streak reaches seven

Instant Replay: Kings can't close Wizards out, fall in OT as losing streak reaches seven

BOX SCORE

SACRAMENTO -- A familiar feeling. After blowing a 28-point lead Wednesday against the San Antonio Spurs, the Sacramento Kings stumbled down the stretch again Friday night against the Washington Wizards. Sacramento squandered a 15-point fourth quarter lead as the Wizards forced overtime. In the end, Washington was too much for the home team, coming away with the 130-122 victory to send the Kings to their seventh straight loss.

The high-powered backcourt of the Wizards put on a show. John Wall broke the Kings defense down off the dribble and found open teammates for easy buckets. The All-Star point guard finished the night with 25 points and 12 assists in the win.

Bradley Beal found his rhythm in the second half, scoring 28 of his 38 points after the intermission. Beal knocked down 5-for-9 from long range and chipped in 10 rebounds.

Otto Porter hurt Sacramento from the perimeter, scoring 18 points on 7-for-10 shooting. Newly acquired Bojan Bogdanovic went off for 17 off Scotty Brooks’ bench and veteran big Jason Smith added nine points and six boards.

Welcome to the starting lineup Buddy Hield. Getting his first opportunity with the first unit after coming over from the New Orleans Pelicans, the rookie shooting guard put on a show early, scoring 16 of his 18 points in the first half.

Willie Cauley-Stein hammered home one pick-and-roll dunk after another on his way to 20 points. He added a game-high 13 rebounds while picking up the start at the power forward spot.

Darren Collison worked well with Cauley-Stein, handing out 10 dimes, many of which came at the rim. The veteran point guard added 14 points on 5-of-12 shooting.

Arron Afflalo started at the small forward spot and managed to score in 18 points on an efficient 6-for-10 shooting.

Ben McLemore got it going after the half, scoring 8 of his 11 points in the third quarter and Anthony Tolliver hit 4-for-5 from the field for 10 points.

Rookie Skal Labissiere continued his strong play, finishing the night with eight points and five rebounds in 14 minutes off Dave Joerger’s bench.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

Beal went nuts in second half. The sharpshooting wing is a tough guard for most teams, especially with Wall drawing all of the attention, but he was special in the second half Friday at Golden 1 Center.

TURNING POINT

Sacramento took a 97-82 lead into the fourth, but they couldn’t hold off the charging Wizards. The Kings held their own early in the overtime session, but they couldn't get the stops they needed to come away with the win.

INJURY UPDATE

Rookie Malachi Richardson is out 4-6 weeks with a right hamstring thickness tear, but hopes to return before the season is finished. Rudy Gay is out for the year with a torn left Achilles.

WHAT'S NEXT

The Kings take on the Denver Nuggets Saturday night at Golden 1 Center in the second night of a home-and-home back-to-back.

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.