Kings, Thornton look to slow down Denver


Kings, Thornton look to slow down Denver

KINGS (12-25) vs.
DENVER (21-17)Programming Note: Kings-Nuggets coverage begins at 6 p.m. tonight on Comcast Sportsnet California!
(AP) -- Though still short-handed, the Denver Nuggets appear to have moved past their recent struggles.A matchup with the Sacramento Kings might help push those woes further into the rear-view mirror.The Nuggets will try to record their fourth straight win overall and continue their mastery of the Kings on Monday night in Denver.Before its current three-game win streak, Denver (21-17) had won only four times in its previous 16 games. The Nuggets have turned their fortunes around with balanced efforts. At least six Denver players have scored in double figures in each of the three wins, with Ty Lawson averaging 20.7 points and 11.7 assists to lead the way.The point guard, who returned from a sprained left ankle at the beginning of the streak, had a team highs of 22 points and 11 assists in Sunday's 99-94 victory at San Antonio.While Lawson is healthy again, the Nuggets' streak has come while leading scorer Danilo Gallinari (foot), starting big man Nene (calf) and reserve Rudy Fernandez (back) are all sidelined by injuries."It's huge. Huge for us," Lawson said. "Especially having three rotation players and two starters out. But we're starting to jell."With 11 points in a little more than 15 minutes, Lawson was one of seven Nuggets to reach double figures in a 122-93 rout at Sacramento on Jan. 25. Three weeks earlier, the Nuggets drubbed the Kings 110-83 at the Pepsi Center.Denver has six in a row at home over Sacramento (12-25) and four straight in the series overall. The Nuggets would appear to have a good chance to continue both of those streaks, as the Kings have dropped nine of their last 11 games overall and are 4-19 on the road this season.They suffered their third straight defeat Sunday, losing 96-88 at Phoenix to fall to 0-2 on their current three-game trip. Sacramento scored 32 points in the first quarter but didn't produce more than 20 in any subsequent period and shot 33 percent in the second half.While the offense struggled, Kings coach Keith Smart was generally pleased with his team's play at the other end of the floor.
NEWS: Owner says Smart will return to coach Kings next season
"You're going to give up something," he said. "I thought our guys did a great job to maintain and do the things necessary, but we had a few breakdowns late."Marcus Thornton, with 21 points, was one of the standouts for the Kings in the loss, and he's averaged 19.9 over his last 16 games. The swingman, who sat out the Jan. 25 home loss to Denver because of a bruised left thigh, has scored a combined 50 points in his last two visits to the Pepsi Center, including 23 in the Jan. 4 loss.Nine Nuggets have scoring averages in double figures against the Kings this season, but those nine include all three injured players.

The Maloofs' colossal charity bet on Mayweather-McGregor circus act


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.

Top seven Kings' games to watch during 2017-18 season


Top seven Kings' games to watch during 2017-18 season

The Sacramento Kings released their 2017-18 schedule Friday afternoon. While the league has added 10 days to the calendar, the Kings schedule is still packed with 16 sets of back-to-backs and a season-long six game road trip during the month of January. It’s a whirlwind of excitement that begins October 18 with at the Golden 1 Center. Here are seven games to look forward to as the Kings embark on their 33rd season in Sacramento.

Opening night 2017-18 - October 18 - Kings v. Rockets - Hope spring eternal with the tip off of another season of Kings basketball. Of the 17 players expected on the opening day roster, 10 are new to the team, including De’Aaron Fox, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Vince Carter and George Hill. It’s a young an exciting squad with only five players with more than two seasons of NBA experience. The Kings open their schedule at home against James Harden, Chris Paul and high-powered Houston Rockets.

DeMarcus Cousins comes home - October 26 - Kings v. Pelicans - After 6-plus seasons in a Kings uniform, the 3-time All-Star returns to Sacramento for his first game from the visitors locker room. He’ll bring along another familiar face in former Kings point guard Rajon Rondo, who inked a one-year deal in New Orleans over the summer. Expect a ton of emotion, both from Cousins and a packed full house of Kings fans.

The Process vs. The Rebuild - November 9 - Kings v. 76ers - The 76ers have spent the last decade working on a plan to accumulate great young players while piling up losses at an alarming pace. Sacramento pulled the plug on the DeMarcus Cousins experience, instead choosing to go with a full youth movement. Fultz vs. Fox will headline the night, but there is plenty of intrigue as two of the youngest teams in the NBA battle it out.

Fox vs. Ball - November 22 - Kings v. Lakers - The rivalry between these two young guards is only going to get better with age. Fox likely won’t start the season with the first unit, like Ball, but he’ll get plenty of opportunity to shine. For better or worse, it’s Ball’s show in LA. Let the trash talking begin.

Rudy Gay makes his return - December 23 - Kings v. Spurs - Rudy Gay took a huge gamble and an even bigger pay cut when he opted out of the final year of his contract with the Kings. He and his rebuilt Achilles tendon  landed in San Antonio on a two-year, $17 million deal. He’ll likely play for a playoff spot for only the second time in his 11-year career.

Dennis Smith visits Sacramento - February 3 - Kings v. Mavericks - The Kings jumped all over the chance to draft De’Aaron Fox with the fifth overall selection and in doing so, they passed on another incredibly talented young guard in Dennis Smith. Dallas may have stumbled on a superstar and Smith likely has a list of all of the teams that passed him over in the 2017 NBA Draft.

The Champs come to play - February 4 - Kings v. Warriors - The Warriors and Kings have taken turns being awful over the last 30-plus years. While the Kings are predicted to miss the playoffs for the 12th straight season, Golden State is the odds on favorite to take home their third ring in four years.With just 90 miles separating the two fanbases, it should be an interesting mix of purple and yellow in the crowd.

Here's the Kings' full 2017-18 schedule: