Kings

Kings can't complete comeback vs. Kobe, Lakers

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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.

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.