Instant Replay: Kings' late surge not enough, drop home stand opener to Heat

Instant Replay: Kings' late surge not enough, drop home stand opener to Heat

BOX SCORE

SACRAMENTO -- Consistently inconsistent. After a huge win against the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night, the Sacramento Kings overlooked a beat up 10-26 Miami Heat team Wednesday night on their home floor. The Kings rallied to erase a huge deficit late, but faltered down the stretch, losing to the Heat by a final of 107-102.

Tyler Johnson shook off a migraine that kept him out of Miami’s loss to the Suns on Tuesday and hit the Kings for 23 points on 7-for-11 shooting.  

Goran Dragic, the lone healthy starter for Miami, ran circles around the Kings. The veteran point guard dropped in 19 points and added seven assists in the win.

Former King James Johnson added 14 points, six rebounds and six assists before fouling out. Reserve Wayne Ellington hit 4-for-5 from deep on his way to 13 points and Luke Babbitt scored nine on a perfect 3-of-3 from 3-point land.

Welcome back Ty Lawson. Despite struggling with a facial fracture, the pint-sized point guard attacked Miami’s defense, energizing the Sacramento crowd with 15 points and six assists.

Garrett Temple has a knack for knowing what his team needs. Some nights it’s just defensive help. Against Miami, they needed him to spark the offense. The versatile, wing scored 15 points off the Kings bench on 7-of-11 shooting.

For the second straight night, Arron Afflalo looked like the Arron Afflalo of old. The veteran shooting guard has had his struggles this season, but he couldn’t miss against the Heat early, scoring all 15 of his points in the first half.

Anthony Tolliver gave the Kings a nice lift off the bench, scoring 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Sacramento’s second unit dropped in a season-high 61 points in the loss.

Both DeMarcus Cousins and Darren Collison struggled to find their games. Cousins finished the night with 13 points and six rebounds, but shot just 4-of-15 from the field. Collison chipped in 10 points and three assists.

Matt Barnes struggled early as well, but woke up in the final minutes to give the Kings quality minutes. The 36-year-old forward scored 12 points, grabbed seven rebounds and handed out five assists.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

In an NBA world where players miss games due to the smallest of ailments, Lawson shook off a broken face to lead the charge for Sacramento. He may not yet be the same player he was a few years ago in Denver, but he’s getting closer and he’s leading a very good Kings second unit.

TURNING POINT

Tyler Johnson’s circus shot basket and foul with 27.8 seconds remaining gave the Heat a three point lead and the Kings never scored again.

INJURY UPDATE

Rudy Gay missed his fourth straight and has now sat in 10 of the Kings previous 11 games with a right hip flexor strain. Despite suffering a maxillary sinus fracture on Saturday and then struggling with blurry vision on Tuesday night, Lawson returned to action off Dave Joerger’s bench.

WHAT'S NEXT

The Kings continue their season-long seven game homestand Friday night against the Los Angeles Clippers.

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.