Kings

Kings seek season-high win streak vs. Clips

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Kings seek season-high win streak vs. Clips

While struggling to close out games recently, the Los Angeles Clippers have watched their lead in the Pacific Division shrink.Visiting the team at the bottom of the division might not help.The Clippers will try to get a six-game road trip off to a good start Thursday night when they begin their season series with the Sacramento Kings, who have played well at home lately.Los Angeles suffered its third loss in four games Tuesday, 109-97 to Minnesota.

The Clippers led by seven late in the third quarter but faded, unable to keep up with the Timberwolves depth. Minnesota, which opened the fourth quarter on a 17-6 run, received 72 bench points compared to 11 for Los Angeles.Blake Griffin had 18 points and five rebounds in the first quarter before finishing with 30 points - one in the fourth - and seven boards. Chris Paul had 27 points, his average during the Clippers' 1-3 slump.Caron Butler was 1 of 10 from the field for two points and is averaging 7.0 on 29.8 percent shooting over the last five games.Trying to fend off the Los Angeles Lakers in the Pacific, the Clippers (20-12) look to end their late-game struggles. They were held to nine points through the first eight minutes of the fourth quarter Tuesday, went scoreless in the final three minutes of a 104-97 defeat to Golden State on Feb. 20 and blew a 13-point lead in a loss to San Antonio two nights earlier."That's something we've got to learn, how to put teams away," Paul said.Los Angeles allowed at least 103 points in each of those three defeats - about seven above its average - and now faces a Kings team which has scored more than 100 in a season-high three straight games.The Clippers have lost seven of eight and 23 of 26 in Sacramento, where they'll play the first of six road games in nine nights."We'll see what we're made of now," coach Vinny Del Negro said. "We have a tough road trip coming up. We're going to have to play on a higher level, especially on the road now, but maybe that will help us come together more."Los Angeles may not enjoy playing in Sacramento, but it's looking like the Kings won't be leaving in the near future. On Monday, the Kings and the NBA announced a tentative deal to keep the team in Sacramento, quieting rumors about a potential move.The Kings are in last place in the Pacific but have won four of five at Arco Arena, including a victory over West-leading Oklahoma City, and are 7-3 there since the calendar flipped to 2012.Now they'll try to match a season high with a third straight win overall."All I want to do is keep this team in close games because in close games anything can happen," coach Keith Smart said.Sacramento (12-22) had dropped six straight before winning at Washington last Wednesday, then came out of the All-Star break with a 103-96 victory over Utah on Tuesday.DeMarcus Cousins had 22 points and 18 rebounds, including eight offensive boards. He's averaged 19.9 points and 12.8 rebounds in his last 12 games."I think as he grows as a pro there's going to be a lot of nights where people won't have an answer for him," Smart said.Cousins, though, averaged 7.8 points on 30.0 percent shooting in four matchups with the Clippers last season.

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.