Kings hold court at home with OT win over Warriors


Kings hold court at home with OT win over Warriors

SACRAMENTO The Sacramento Kings held the Warriors scoreless for the first three minutes and 43 seconds of overtime and wound up snapping Golden States two-game winning streak. For the Kings, the victory avenged their 93-90 loss to the Warriors on Tuesday at Oracle.Kings 114, Warriors 106 (OT)Player of the game: DeMarcus Cousins finished with 21 points and 20 rebounds. He also knocked down a back-breaking straightaway 18-foot jumper which banked in with 2:06 left in overtime, giving the Kings a 109-102 lead.

We got manhandled on the boards, Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. Their four and five positions just dominated the glass. We didnt step up to the challenge. At times its individual and at times its collective. Awfully frustrating when a guy like Dominic McGuire can tie for our rebounding lead (5) in a little under 15 minutes. Its a mentality, a mindset.Key stretch: The start of overtime did the Warriors in and nobody struggled more than Stephen Curry. He missed three shots in the first two minutes of the extra period and also committed a turnover.Curry wouldnt have started the overtime according to Jackson had Nate Robinson been back in the locker room nursing a groin injury.Robinson sustained the injury early in the fourth quarter but ended up playing until the end of regulation. At the end of regulation, he went back into the locker room to get treatment.(Robinson) went in the back and got taped and then said he was ready, Jackson said. In fairness to Steph, I told him I shouldnt have gone back to him even if Nate was not ready. It wasnt fair to him especially coming off ankle issues and all that. Obviously he wasnt going to be loose and clearly he wasnt himself when he went back in. Thats on me.Said Curry: Im not used to it, but if he calls your number youve got to do the best you can. My legs werent normally where theyd be on the shots I did take, but its one of those situations where Nate was injured a little bit, and I had to go in there and play. Tried to do my best.

Huge shot: Rookie Klay Thompson hit the biggest shot of his career, burying a corner 3-pointer with nine seconds remaining to tie the game 102-102.That was the play if I could get a layup, get a layup, said Robinson, who finished with 20 points. But we wanted a three, Klay was wide open, baseline drift, wide open. works every time.

Bench again: For the second time in the past two games, Warriors coach Mark Jackson played primarily his substitutes in the fourth quarter. That unit rallied from an 11-point deficit to force overtime.Our bench was incredible, Jackson said. Their effort was outstanding and I look forward to the day where Im not a coach standing over there thinking: Do I stick with these guys or do I get my starters back in the game? Thats not a good feeling. Youre supposed to have guys you can rely on that can pick it up when needed.

Thorntons third: Thornton really got it going in the third quarter, and it helped the Kings gain some separation from Golden State. Thornton had 18 points in the period, which was the big reason the Kings turned a one-point halftime deficit into an 87-76 lead after three periods.Wright on: Dorell Wright had a spring in his step and it seemed obvious. He had a terrific put back dunk off a rebound and also had his long-range game going.Wright had 19 points in the first half, going 6-for-7 from the field, including 3-for-3 from beyond the arc. He finished with 24 points but didnt play in the fourth quarter or overtimeIts very frustrating because the No. 1 thing is Im a team player, Wright said. If guys are rolling theyre rolling. But me being a competitor I want to be in there. But youve got to roll with the coachs decision. Im a vet so Ive been there, seen it all. Im not worried. I just got to stay ready so that when he does call me Ill be ready. It is what it is.

Tight first half:Neither team led by more than five points through the first 24 minutes. The Warriors went into halftime up 54-53, and did so despite struggling on the glass.Sacramento had 27 rebounds to the Warriors 16. But the Warriors made up for that by shooting 50 percent to the Kings 40 percent.Bar raised: Jackson was asked before the game if he was concerned that by putting too much of an emphasis on Saturdays game he called it a big game on Friday that a loss would be more of a setback than a regular-old loss would be.Not all, Jackson said. It is a very important game for us and if we leave here with a loss we should feel like its a letdown, we should be disappointed, we should be upset and some of the air should be taken out of us. But were not looking forward to that feeling. We expect to accomplish what we came for.

NBA Gameday: Kings open campaign against young, talented Suns

NBA Gameday: Kings open campaign against young, talented Suns

The beginning is here. The Sacramento Kings open their 2016-17 campaign Wednesday night in Phoenix when they battle the young, but talented Suns.

Opening night marks the official start of the Dave Joerger era of Kings basketball. Joerger ran a 147-99 record with the Memphis Grizzlies over three seasons, including back-to-back-to-back playoff appearances. He’s taxed with ending the Kings decade long playoff drought, which has slayed the previous eight head coaches in Sacramento.

Eight new faces don the Kings’ purple and black, including two starters and five rotational players. A new coach. A new roster.  A new offense. A new defense. None of that matters when the ball gets tipped. The NBA schedule waits for no one.

[HAM: Player-by-player examination of the 2016-17 Kings]

The Suns have made subtle tweaks to a roster that won just 23 games last season. But they come into the season mostly healthy and ready to prove that 2015-16 was the beginning of a build in Phoenix.


Suns by 2.5


Ty Lawson vs. Eric Bledsoe -- Lawson is getting a career re-boot in Sacramento and a golden opportunity to shine during the team’s first eight games as a starter. He’ll face the high-scoring, but injury-prone Bledsoe that suited up in just 31 games last season. Bledsoe is an explosive and powerful athlete. Lawson is quick and will look to set up others.


Kings: G Darren Collison (league suspension) out.

Suns: F P.J. Tucker (back) questionable.


The Kings won the season series 3-1 last year, including the final three contests. Phoenix leads the all-time series 130-88 and they hold an 83-49 advantage during the Sacramento-era.


“I have one goal, that’s playoffs. That’s success for me right now.” -- DeMarcus Cousins

Player-by-player examination of the 2016-17 Kings

Player-by-player examination of the 2016-17 Kings

Opening night is finally upon us. When the Sacramento Kings take on the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night, they do so with plenty of new faces from the team that finished last season 33-49. Here is a quick look at the team that will take the floor during the 2016-17 campaign with the hopes of snapping the Kings’ decade-long playoff drought.

Who’s Gone

After Sacramento decided not to pursue Rajon Rondo, the former All-Star took big money to join the Chicago Bulls. Darren Collison and Ty Lawson will be asked to fill the void left by the NBA’s leading assist man from last season. Also leaving the Kings are Seth Curry (Mavericks), Quincy Acy (Mavericks), James Anderson (Turkey), Caron Butler (free agent), Eric Moreland (free agent), Duje Dukan (Croatia) and Marco Belinelli (traded to Hornets).  

Who’s New

With Rondo leaving, Vlade Divac took a one-year, league minimum gamble on Lawson with the hopes that he can turn around his career. Veteran shooting guard Arron Afflalo was inked to a 2-year, $25 million deal with a team option in year two at $1.5 million. At the wing, Garrett Temple (3-years/$24 million) and Matt Barnes (2-year/$12.5 million) were added for depth. Anthony Tolliver was brought in to play the stretch four position. He’s on a two-year $16 million deal with a team option at $2 million in year two. With two draft day deals, the Kings were able to make three selections in the first round, drafting big man Georgios Papagiannis (13th overall), wing Malachi Richardson (22nd overall) and power forward Skal Labissiere (28th overall).  

Who’s Left

DeMarcus Cousins is entering his seventh season with the Kings and expected to play a huge role in the upcoming season. Despite politely asking for a new address during the summer, Rudy Gay is back for another season in Sacramento. Ben McLemore is entering his fourth season with the Kings after being selected with the seventh overall selection in the 2013 NBA Draft. Forward Omri Casspi returns for his third straight season in Sacramento, although he’s played for the Kings for five of his eight NBA seasons. Point guard Darren Collison is in the final year of his 3-year, $15 million deal that he signed in the summer of 2014. Big men Willie Cauley-Stein and Kosta Koufos are back for year two. Cauley-Stein was selected with the sixth overall pick last year and Koufos is in the second season of a 4-year, $33 million deal.   

The Starters

Ty Lawson - Point Guard

The 28-year-old veteran will man the point guard position while Collison is out for the first eight games of the season (league suspension).  Lawson spent last year bouncing between Houston and Indiana, playing in a combined 66 regular season games. The speedy guard is coming off a down year and looking to get back to the player that averaged 15.2 points and 9.6 assists during the 2014-15 season in Denver. He is expected to lead the second unit once Collison returns to action Nov. 8 at home against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Arron Afflalo - Shooting Guard

Afflalo joins the Kings after playing last season for the New York Knicks. The 31-year-old shooting guard brings a stabilizing influence to the Kings’ backcourt. He’s bounced around the league a bit, but he can shoot from the outside (career 38.5 percent from 3-point range) and has a nice post game for a guard. He’ll be asked to play major minutes early in the year

Rudy Gay - Small Forward

When Gay signed a 3-year extension in 2014, it was with the understanding that he would form a nice 1-2 punch with DeMarcus Cousins under head coach Michael Malone. Three coaches later, Gay has already informed the team that he will opt out at season's end. He is coming off a down offensive season, but his role in George Karl’s system was limited a season ago. The 30-year-old forward has every reason to put up big numbers as he approaches free agency next summer.

DeMarcus Cousins - Power Forward

The franchise cornerstone big man is fresh off Olympic gold and looking for his first playoff berth. After averaging 26.9 points and 11.5 rebounds per game last season, Cousins has clearly cemented himself as the game’s best pivot. He’ll be asked to open the game at the power forward spot, but will spend most of his season manning the center position. He’s taylormade to play in Joerger’s high-post style of play and primed for his third straight All-Star bid.

Kosta Koufos -- Center

Teams around the league like to start big and then make mid-quarter adjustments. Koufos knows Joerger’s system from their time together in Memphis. He will get the nod early, but expect plenty of Willie Cauley-Stein, Matt Barnes, Anthony Tolliver and Omri Casspi alongside Cousins as Joerger looks for the right mix. Koufos is a defensive-minded big that can rebound and score efficiently around the hoop. He’s in the best shape of his career and will likely be asked to open the game guarding the opponent's tough big.

The Rotation

Garrett Temple

While Collison is out, the Kings will ask Temple to play plenty of point guard minutes behind Lawson. After game eight, the versatile wing will play minutes at the 1, 2 and 3 as a perimeter stopper. He’s not a scorer, but Temple is a great locker room influence and plays with an infectious tenacity that fans will instantly appreciate.    

Ben McLemore

After starting 190 games in his first three seasons in the league, McLemore will get an early shot to play behind Afflalo at the two. He’s had plenty of struggles, but the former first round pick can shoot, he’s a big time leaper and he has the tools to be a very good NBA defender. If he can’t show that he’s ready to play rotational minutes during Collison’s absence, it could be a long season on the bench for the 23-year-old guard.

Omri Casspi

Casspi was a lethal weapon last season as both a starter and a reserve for Karl. He shot an impressive 40.9 percent from 3-point land and 48.1 percent from the floor on his way to a career-best 11.8 points per game. Casspi is in a dogfight for minutes with Tolliver, Barnes and Temple. He missed time during camp with a hip issue and an illness, but he finished camp strong. When the Kings go small, expect Casspi and Barnes to form a strong forward combination.  

Matt Barnes

At 36, Barnes showed that he has plenty left in the tank last season playing for Joerger in Memphis. Not always the most popular player amongst the fans, the Sacramento-native plays a gritty brand of basketball that has earned him the trust of his coaches and teammates. He’s likely not going to log 28.8 minutes or average 10.0 points per game like last season, but he’s a quality veteran presence that can still run the floor like a gazelle and lock down forwards on defense.

Anthony Tolliver

The Kings shocked the NBA world a bit with their investment this summer in the 31-year-old Tolliver. Another team-first guy, Tolliver can hit the open 3-ball, play defense and shock you with a sneaky block here and there. Joerger loves veterans and this is one handpicked by new assistant GM Ken Catanella. Can he bring the “Tolliver Effect” to Sacramento?

Willie Cauley-Stein

It’s not that Cauley-Stein has fallen out of favor in Sacramento, but he’s up against some serious veteran contenders for minutes this season. The lanky defensive stopper still looks slightly uncomfortable in the Kings’ new system. He will get his bearings eventually and make a nice addition to Joerger’s small ball lineups. Cauley-Stein has never been asked to run a high post or hit a 20-foot jumper in his young career. He’ll get minutes, but how many will depend on quickly he can acclimate to the new offensive and defensive schemes.

The Rest

Skal Labissiere

The rookie out of Kentucky has been the talk of camp. He has tremendous length and athleticism, but he’ll need time to develop. Labissiere will see time in Reno with the Bighorns, but expect the Kings to keep him around the team so their staff can develop this top tier talent.

Georgios Papagiannis

Another young big that needs development time in Reno, Papa G has trimmed down considerably since we first saw him walk in the door. The Kings will be patient in bringing the 7-foot-1 center along. He is a giant with a soft touch both inside and outside. If he can learn the high-post system and continue to show improvement in his physique, the Kings might be onto something in year two and three.

Malachi Richardson

Lost in a numbers game at the wing, Richardson will commute back and forth from Reno with his fellow rookie class. The smooth shooting guard/forward has great size and length to play the two, but his shot selection and accuracy must improve to make an impact at the NBA level. Coaches rave about his demeanor and he routinely beats veterans in 3-point shootouts after practice.