Kings come back to win 103-100 over Milwaukee in Smart's debut


Kings come back to win 103-100 over Milwaukee in Smart's debut

Box Score

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) Tyreke Evans made four free throws in the final minute to finish with 26 points, and Sacramento overcame a 21-point halftime deficit to stun the Milwaukee Bucks 103-100 on Thursday night hours after the Kings fired coach Paul Westphal.Evans hit the go-ahead free throws with 18.1 seconds remaining and followed with two more to make former assistant and Golden State Warriors coach Keith Smart a winner in his Kings head coaching debut. Sacramento ousted Westphal following a slow start and an escalating feud with young center DeMarcus Cousins.Marcus Thornton scored 27 points and Cousins finished with 19 points and 15 rebounds for the Kings, completing a stretch of three games in three nights with the lone victory.Brandon Jennings scored 31 points, and Drew Gooden had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Bucks in place of center Andrew Bogut, who missed his second straight game for undisclosed personal reasons.A day that began with turmoil in California's capital ended in jubilation.The Kings fired Westphal in the morning after two-plus seasons as coach, cutting ties amid a slow start and an escalating dispute with Cousins that threatened to consume the locker room. Smart, let go by the Warriors in April after one season at the helm, signed a deal to become the team's new head coach.Sacramento gave Smart the perfect start with a frantic fourth-quarter rally.Thornton made consecutive running layups to bring the Kings within two, and former Bucks standout John Salmons sliced the deficit to a point with a steal and a free throw with 1:20 remainingAfter Jennings made a jumper, Salmons matched him with another. Evans grabbed the next Milwaukee rebound and sprinted up court, getting fouled by Stephen Jackson with 18.1 seconds left. He made both free throws to put the Kings ahead 101-100 and converted another pair to extend the cushion.Jennings missed an open 3-point attempt at the buzzer, and Smart waived to the crowd and pumped his fist in celebration. Jennings pulled out his jersey and walked to Milwaukee's locker room in disgust.With so much attention on Sacramento's young center following Westphal's firing, Cousins came out ready to hustle and start Smart's tenure strong.He scored five points in the first 5 minutes, including a three-point play on a layup over Carlos Delfino, and sprinted and soared for several loose balls. Cousins also picked up two quick fouls and sat for the final 7 minutes of the quarter after Gooden drew a charging call on a layup attempt.The Bucks busted out big in the second quarter, outscoring Sacramento 28-12 in the period behind Jennings and Gooden in what turned out to be a stampede past the usually quicker and more athletic Kings. Milwaukee shot 60 percent from the floor in the first half to take a 58-37 lead at the break.As if Smart's debut in Sacramento didn't have enough hurdles to clear, big man Chuck Hayes also dislocated his left shoulder reaching in to foul Gooden in the quarter. He's out indefinitely.Smart's squad did show some promise.A sudden and surprising run by the Kings sliced Milwaukee's lead to eight late in the third quarter, capping a 26-13 spurt when Cousins rebounded his own miss and curled in a put-back shot off the backboard from under the rim. After the Bucks began to pull away, Cousins grabbed a rebound and converted a three-point play over Larry Sanders to bring Sacramento within eight with 8:51 left to star the comeback.Notes: The Kings went 4 for 21 from 3-point range but held a 55-31 rebounding advantage, including 23 on the offensive glass ... Milwaukee had 20 turnovers that led to 24 points for Sacramento.

Lawson survives cut day, ready to help Kings: 'Go hard or go home'

Lawson survives cut day, ready to help Kings: 'Go hard or go home'

SACRAMENTO -- Cut day came and went in Sacramento without any major surprises. That is, unless you consider veteran point guard Ty Lawson’s inclusion as a shock. Lawson is packed with talent, but he’s struggled to stay out of his own way over the last few seasons, including a missed flight to Kentucky earlier in the preseason.

It was fitting that the seven-year NBA vet joined the media for a chat after practice on Monday. While it was a forgone conclusion that Lawson would make the roster for the better part of two weeks, he came into camp in a fight with four other players for the 15th and final spot.

“It’s tough, it’s been a month, we’ve grown a bond with each other,” Lawson said of cut day. “We’ve been playing with each, practicing with each other, just getting to know everybody. Cut day is always the toughest.”

Now that he’s assured a roster spot, it’s go time for Lawson. The 28-year-old lead guard is trying to resurrect his career in Sacramento. He’ll get an 8-game run as the starter while Darren Collison sits out.

“I’m ready to go, games start tomorrow, our first game is Wednesday, you know, the season’s here,” Lawson said. “Go hard or go home, I’m excited.”

After playing sparingly down the stretch last season for the Indiana Pacers, Lawson will be counted on to play huge minutes early on. He’ll have Garrett Temple backing him up, but the focus will be on the speedy guard out of North Carolina.

“I’m going hard in practice to get my wind up,” Lawson said. “Coach is telling me I’m going to play a lot of minutes - 30 to 40.”

With Lawson in, that means that three other players are out. Jordan Farmar, Isaiah Cousins and Lamar Patterson received pink slips on Monday. It’s never an easy time in the NBA world as players of all ages are faced with their NBA mortality.

“We have a full roster, it’s pretty difficult (to make the team),” coach Joerger said. “Guys are doing it for different reasons - to get experience, to get exposure back to the league, to get familiarity with our organization and with what we’re doing here.”

It appears that Farmar came into camp as Plan B, incase Lawson wasn’t up for the task. He performed well in his limited time off the Kings’ bench and he could become an option down the road if Sacramento is in the market for a seasoned NBA guard with 3-point shooting skills.

As for the Kings’ two young players, both Isaiah Cousins and Lamar Patterson are eligible to join Sacramento’s D-League affiliate in Reno if they choose to join the NBA’s minor league program.

Taken with the 59th pick in the second round of the 2016 NBA Draft, Cousins is a big physical guard that might find success with the Bighorns under head coach Darrick Martin. He can play both the one and the two, but it was clear early on that he was lost in a numbers game.

After four seasons at Oklahoma, Cousins has the physical maturity to play at the NBA level, but he needs more seasoning. When Sacramento waived him, they gave up his rights after signed him to a partially guaranteed deal over the summer. If he goes unclaimed over the next 48 hours, he will decide between playing overseas or joining the D-League.

Patterson is an interesting player. The 25-year-old wing has already experienced the D-League, playing 19 games last season between the Austin Spurs and the Canton Charge. Patterson posted 12.8 points, 4.3 assists and 3.8 rebounds in 26.9 minutes per game in his two stops.

He was waived on Wednesday by Sacramento, but resigned on Friday afternoon, which helped the Kings retain his D-League rights moving forward.  

The Kings will practice one more time on Tuesday before boarding a plane for Phoenix in the afternoon. They’ll face a young Suns team on Wednesday night in their opener, followed by a the first official game in the Golden 1 Center against the Spurs on Thursday night. Preseason is officially over and now it gets real for a newly formed team looking to get off to a fast start.

Source: Lawson makes Kings' roster; draft pick among cuts

Source: Lawson makes Kings' roster; draft pick among cuts

SACRAMENTO -- The roster is set. With opening night just days away, the Sacramento Kings made their final cuts on Monday morning. Despite a rocky camp that included a missed flight to Kentucky, a source has confirmed to CSN California that point guard Ty Lawson has made the team, leaving Jordan Farmar, Lamar Patterson and rookie Isaiah Cousins on the outside looking in.

At 28-years-old, Lawson was able to show enough during the preseason to warrant a longer look. He is expected to start the first eight games of the season at the point while Darren Collison serves his league mandated suspension. He enters the 2016-17 campaign with career averages of 13.1 points and 6.2 assists in seven seasons in the league.

Farmar, 29, played for Joerger last season in Memphis. He has suited up for four different teams over his nine-year NBA career before signing with Sacramento this summer.

He posted solid numbers in his four preseason appearances averaging 6.5 points on 47.1 percent shooting from the floor and 45.5 percent from long range in 14 minutes per game.

Cousins came into camp a long shot to make the roster. Taken with the 59th selection in the 2016 NBA Draft, the 6-foot-5 guard out of Oklahoma has the physical tools to play in the league, but his path to the NBA will likely go through the D-League.

He appeared in just two games for the Kings during the preseason, recording just two points in 12 minutes of action. As one of the final cuts by the Kings, Cousins is eligible to go to the Reno Bighorns, if he chooses to play in the D-League this season.

Lamar Patterson re-signed, waived
Sacramento started their roster cutdown on Wednesday when they waived wing Lamar Patterson. But according to a league source, the Kings re-signed Patterson on Friday after he cleared the NBA’s waiver system.

The 25-year-old out of the University of Pittsburg practiced with the team on Sunday. But he was waived before Monday’s 2pm PST league cutdown time, as expected, and he is now eligible to join the Bighorns if he chooses to sign a D-League contract.

Patterson joined the Kings earlier this summer as a waiver claim after being dropped by the Atlanta Hawks. The high-flying guard/forward averaged 5.8 points in 9.3 minutes over four preseason games.