Kings

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.

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

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AP

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

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AP

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.