Instant Replay: Kings ride Lawson, Hield past Suns in home finale

Instant Replay: Kings ride Lawson, Hield past Suns in home finale


SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings finished their 2016-17 home schedule in style Tuesday night against the Phoenix Suns at Golden 1 Center. With both teams on the outside looking in of the postseason picture, the Kings found a way to pick up their 32nd win of the season with the 129-104 victory.

Auditioning for all 30 teams after the season, free agent-to-be Ty Lawson ran circles around the Suns guards. Lawson, 29, notched his first triple-double of his career, finishing with 22 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists in the win.

Buddy Hield looked like a man on a mission. The first-year guard dropped in 12-for-20 from the field on his way to a new career-high in points with 30.

Skal Labissiere didn’t have another 32-point game against Phoenix, but he found a way to play his way into the action, scoring 12 points and grabbing six rebounds in the blowout.

Fellow rookie Georgios Papagiannis added 13 points, seven rebounds and picked up his first technical foul of his young career.

Willie Cauley-Stein put up 13 points and four rebounds in 20 minutes. Ben McLemore chipped in 13 points and nine rebounds and Anthony Tolliver went for 12 points and seven rebounds.

With starting guards Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker shutting it down, rookies Tyler Ulis and Derrick Jones Jr. got the nod in the backcourt. Ulis used his speed to score 27 points and hand out six assists. Jones Jr. added 10 points and four rebounds in the loss.

Sacramento native Marquese Chriss managed 22 points, seven rebounds and two blocks. T.J. Warren scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds and Allen Williams worked the paint for 14 points and 11 rebounds as the Suns finished 24-58 on the season.

Papagiannis clearly doesn’t care for fellow rookie Dragan Bender. The rookie bigs almost went to blows in the first half, resulting in a double tech. Rarely does a player get the standout performer call for picking up a technical foul, but it was good to see Papagiannis show some fire.

Phoenix laid down before the game even started when they decided to sit Booker. The Kings led by 19 at the half and finished the game off early in the third quarter.

Veterans Arron Afflalo, Kosta Koufos and Tyreke Evans sat out for scheduled rest. Darren Collison missed the game with a migraine headache. Rookie Malachi Richardson is officially out for the season with a right hamstring thickness tear. Rudy Gay is out for the year with a torn left Achilles.

The Kings finish the season Wednesday night with a battle against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center.


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.