Instant Replay: Kings start fast, lose close one to Clippers

Instant Replay: Kings start fast, lose close one to Clippers

BOX SCORE

SACRAMENTO -- Close, but no cigar. The Sacramento Kings shook off a disastrous second quarter to make it a game. But like so many other nights this season, they ran out of gas in crunch time and fell to the Los Angeles Clippers by a final of 106-98.

With all eyes focused on Chris Paul and J.J. Redick, the coach’s son got loose. Austin Rivers lit the Kings up for 18 of his 24 points in the first half. He attacked the rim and when Sacramento gave him space, he drilled them from the perimeter.

Paul orchestrated the Clippers offense, dropping 12 assists and 14 points on the night. J.J. Redick got hot from the perimeter, scoring 19 points on 6-for-13 shooting and DeAndre Jordan went off for 20 points and nine rebounds.

Dave Joerger mixed up his starting lineup, turning to Ty Lawson, Darren Collison, Rudy Gay, Matt Barnes and DeMarcus Cousins to begin the game and they responded with a 29-19 first quarter. But then the wheels fell off the Kings’ bus leading into the half.

The Kings couldn’t find a bucket in the second quarter and their defense completely fell apart. Los Angeles used a 34-12 quarter to take a 12 point lead into the intermission. Sacramento battled late, but they didn’t have the legs to finish the comeback.

Cousins looked uncomfortable early against DeAndre Jordan, but got it going in the third quarter. Sacramento’s All-Star big stuffed the stat sheet, finishing the night with 25 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and two blocks in the loss.

Gay returned to action after missing 10-of-11 games with a hip flexor injury and looked like he hadn’t missed a beat. The veteran forward posted 18 points and seven rebounds in 33 minutes of action.

The starting backcourt of Collison and Lawson worked for stretches. Collison scored 20 points and grabbed five rebounds, while Lawson chipped in 17 points and six assists.

Garrett Temple added five points and nine rebounds and Matt Barnes handed out six assists and grabbed six rebounds.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

Rivers put on a show in the first half and then showed up again in the fourth. Sacramento made adjustments to slow him down, but the 24-year-old guard did some major damage.

TURNING POINT

The Kings overcame an atrocious second quarter to make it a game, but the Clippers hit three straight triples in the mid-fourth quarter to take an eight point lead and steal the momentum. Sacramento had a few chances late, but a couldn't complete the comeback.

INJURY UPDATE

After missing four straight, Gay returned to action against the Clippers and made a nice contribution.

WHAT'S NEXT

The Kings continue their season-long seven game homestand Sunday afternoon when the Golden State Warriors swing by for a 6pm start.

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.