Kings

Kings snap skid with win over Lakers

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Kings snap skid with win over Lakers

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SACRAMENTO (AP)The Los Angeles Lakers had talked about bringing Showtime back to the franchise when they hired Mike D'Antoni to implement his fast and flashy offense.The curtains are still waiting to be raised on that act.Kobe Bryantscored an efficient 38 points butDwight HowardandPau Gasolstruggled inside, and the lethargic Lakers lost 113-97 to the struggling Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night to snap a three-game winning streak."If we're going to play Showtime, my God, they just closed the whole theatre on us," D'Antoni said. "Showtime, are you kidding? It was Muppet Time."Marcus Thorntonscored 23 points andTyreke Evanshad 18 to pace Kings, who had lost five straight games.Jason Thompsonadded 13 points and 10 rebounds to help Sacramento run away in the fourth quarter and cement the latest Lakers setback.Los Angeles seemed to be turning things around since hiring D'Antoni. Instead, the Lakers looked lost and listless against the Western Conference's worst team, showing all the same problems that got coach Mike Brown fired."The first half might have been the worst basketball I've seen in 10 years," D'Antoni said. Later, he added, "It was like we were wrestling in mud."Bryant finished 11-of-20 shooting andJodie Meekshad 15 points off the bench as D'Antoni lost for the first time on the Lakers bench. A night after beating Brooklyn in Los Angeles, the Lakers might've been bad enough to give D'Antoni a headache to go with the pain still throbbing in his surgically replaced knee.Bryant still almost willed his tired team back.After the Lakers went down by 10 points early in the fourth quarter, he converted a three-point play overDeMarcus Cousinsthat sliced Sacramento's lead to 96-92 with 3:06 remaining. Thornton thwarted the rally in a hurry, swishing a 3-pointer from the top of the key on the next possession.Officials whistled Gasol for a flagrant foul when he swatted Thompson in the face going for a rebound. Thompson made one of two free throws, Cousins added a pair of driving layups and a free throw to put Kings ahead 105-93, and the home fans chanting "Beat L-A! Beat L-A!" while Bryant finished the game on the bench with a towel over his head."It always feels good beating the Lakers," Thornton said. "Our fans were into it so we don't really want to let them down. So we came out and played hard, I don't know what for, but we played extremely hard against the Lakers."Though point guardsSteve NashandSteve Blakeare expected to be out with injuries for at least another two games, the limited Lakers talent was hardly an excuse in this matchup.The Lakers held Sacramento to 31 percent shooting in the first quarter. Kings big manChuck Hayesalso had to go back to the locker room to receive stitches after he was cut around his right eye and had blood dripping down his cheek, and yet Los Angeles still only led by six.Aaron Brooksstarted Sacramento's spurt in the third quarter when he floated an underhand layup over Howard and drew a foul for a three-point play on the new Lakers center, who tumbled hard into a row of photographers under the baseline. Brooks added a jumper and a 3-pointer to highlight the 17-5 run that put the Kings ahead 69-58."Our team went on a whirlwind," Kings coach Keith Smart said.D'Antoni kept yelling and motioning for the Lakers to sprint up court to match Sacramento's speed. Instead, they often kept the pace at a slow crawl.Howard finished with seven points on 2-of-4 shooting. Gasol scored eight points on 3 of 10 from the field, and the Lakers were outscored 50-22 in the paint."It seemed like we were a little lethargic for whatever reason," Bryant said. "We just have to push through it, particularly the second unit, especially while Dwight is in there. You don't have to go to as many pick-and-rolls, really, just dump the ball down to him and let him operate."Never happened.After the Lakers closed within a point,James Johnsonmade three straight layups during an 11-2 run that put the Kings ahead 88-78 early in the fourth quarter. D'Antoni called a timeout in the middle of Sacramento's surge to put his starters back in the game and give his listless Lakers a chance to refocus.No chance for that now.D'Antoni's knee - and the Lakers mettle - will be tested even more. Los Angeles plays at Memphis on Friday and at Dallas on Saturday to complete a quick three-game trip."I think you always have a little bit of shock when a guy comes in new, and so you start off all like puppies out there," D'Antoni said of his team's turnaround when he was hired. "Now it's back to reality a little bit."NOTES: The Kings won all three preseason games against the Lakers. The series is 1-1 in the regular season, with the home team winning each time. ... Howard made 3 of 4 free throws after going 7 for 19 from the line a night earlier against Brooklyn. His first attempts came with 7:07 remaining in the fourth quarter.

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.