Kings can't complete comeback vs. Kobe, Lakers

689862.jpg

Kings can't complete comeback vs. Kobe, Lakers

BOX SCORE
LOS ANGELES (AP) With a 20-point lead over lowly Sacramento in the fourth quarter, perhaps the Los Angeles Lakers started thinking 36 hours ahead to a visit from the Miami Heat.The Kings capitalized on that wandering focus for an impressive comeback until the Masked Mamba finished them off.Kobe Bryant scored 38 points in his second straight big game in a protective mask, and the Lakers blew most of a 20-point lead in the fourth quarter before holding on to beat Sacramento 115-107 Friday night in their highest-scoring performance of the season.Bryant warmed up for Miami's Sunday afternoon visit with eight rebounds, three assists and 13-for-24 shooting in his second game since Dwyane Wade gave him a concussion and a nasal fracture with a hard foul in the All-Star game.Kobe wasn't thinking about the guy who broke his nose while making sure the Lakers didn't stub their toes against Sacramento."We played well, (but) we didn't come in with the right sense of urgency and focus in the fourth quarter, and it almost cost us," Bryant said.Andrew Bynum had 19 points and 15 rebounds for the Lakers, who improved to 16-1 at home since losing their season opener on Christmas. Pau Gasol added 15 points, and Metta World Peace scored eight of his 15 points in the final 5 minutes when the Lakers finally countered a lengthy rally by Sacramento's reserves."We were doing good things offensively," Gasol said before recalling the Lakers' similar fourth-quarter woes two nights earlier against Minnesota. "But the last two games, we got such a big lead, we stopped doing the things that got us such a big lead. Against Miami, we can't afford to let up at any time."Francisco Garcia scored 18 points to lead seven Kings in double figures in their eighth loss in 10 games.After Sacramento trailed 94-74 early in the fourth quarter, its reserves scored 11 consecutive points during a 21-6 run that trimmed the Lakers' lead to 100-95 on Jimmer Fredette's 3-pointer with 5 minutes to play."It was a great confidence-builder for myself, but ultimately we wanted to win the game," said Fredette, who scored all 12 of his points in the fourth quarter. "We were coming back, and we had a few things that didn't go our way, and a couple of shots that didn't go down that could have put us really close."World Peace and Bryant both hit key 3-pointers down the stretch to counteract big baskets by Fredette and John Salmons, who had eight of his 12 in the final period.Marcus Thornton scored 15 points for the Kings, who have lost two straight since California's capital city announced its financing plan for a 391 million downtown arena to replace Arco Arena. Sacramento couldn't keep up with the Lakers despite committing just five turnovers, their fewest in a game since Dec. 1, 2007."These guys could have folded and said, It's over, we're going to roll over,'" Sacramento coach Keith Smart said. "But they played hard and got themselves back in the game, and that's why this group is going to be OK. This group is going to come around as we continue to get familiar with each other, and they're going to play hard every single night."Two nights after scoring 31 points in a win over Minnesota in his first game in the mask, Bryant had 31 points through three quarters against the defense-deficient Kings. The NBA's leading scorer had 20 points in the first half, but didn't score in the fourth until hitting a rally-killing 3-pointer with 2:43 to play.Bryant is sticking with his clear plastic mask until his nose is less tender, although he says the protection feels like "a sauna on my face."The mask hasn't affected his vision or his shooting stroke: He's 20 for 24 on free throws since donning the mask, even though he banked in his last foul shot with 9.5 seconds left."The mask felt fine," Bryant said. "It felt fine last game, it felt fine tonight."The Lakers have had trouble with their upstate rivals in recent months, starting with Sacramento's 100-95 win at Staples Center in January 2011 to snap a six-game skid in the series. The Kings then beat the Lakers at home on Dec. 26 while Bynum served a suspension, sending Los Angeles off to a 0-2 start to the season.Notes: Before the game, Sacramento announced forward J.J. Hickson will miss the next three games to rest a bruised hip. The fourth-year backup was hurt during the Kings' loss to the Clippers earlier this week. ... Derek Fisher got a technical foul for arguing a foul called against him after Isaiah Thomas hit him in the head with his elbow and then pulled Fisher down to the court in the third quarter. ... Eddie Murphy watched the game from courtside.

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.