Kings win season opener, down Lakers 100-91

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Kings win season opener, down Lakers 100-91

BOX SCORE

Marcus Thornton scored 27 points, including 18 in the 2nd half, and his backcourt mate Tyreke Evans chipped in 20 as the Kings took their season opener over the Lakers 100-91.

After scoring 12 points in the first half on 4-13 shooting, Kobe Bryant finished with 29 points on 10-24 from the floor.

"It's not a rivalry," Kobe Bryant said. "We beat them every year. Oh my God. I don't care if they beat us tonight. I like (Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof). I hope they enjoy this."
Second-year big man DeMarcus Cousins recorded his 27th career double-double after delivering 13 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.

The game was played in front of a raucous crowd at Power Balance Pavilion, who almost saw their beloved Kings relocate to Anaheim this offseason.

"These fans are unbelievable," newly acquired forward Chuck Hayes said. "I thought they were loud on TV. I thought they were loud as an away player and I think they're even louder as a home player. It was just a great moment."

Hayes signed a four-year contract worth over 21 million with the Kings on Dec. 9, only to have it voided 10 days later after he failed a physical due to complications with his heart.

However, after Hayes was re-examined and passed several additional tests, he was re-signed by the Kings three days ago.

"Chuck Hayes is the glue of this team," Westphal said. "We knew he would be the glue when we signed him and he shows it every day. It was a phenomenal effort for Chuck with what he's been through."
The Lakers trailed by as many as 15 points early in the 4th quarter, but cut it to 89-87 with 4:24 remaining.

However, the man of the night, Marcus Thornton, nailed a deep 3 to give the Kings a five-point lead, and the Lakers never recovered.

The Kings used a 7-0 run over the final 2:06 of the 2nd quarter to take a 49-40 lead into halftime. They scored the first four points of the 3rd quarter to extend their lead to 13, but the Lakers battled back to pull within five at 62-57.

However, a 16-7 run over the final 5:34 of the third quarter gave the Kings a 14-point lead heading into the fourth.

Metta World Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest, tallied 19 points off the bench for the Lakers, who dropped to 0-2 for the first time since the 2002-2003 season.

John Salmons, who played with the Kings for two plus seasons from 2006 to 2009, scored 13 points after being re-acquired by Sacramento on a draft-day trade in June.

It wasn't a perfect game for the Kings by any means, as they shot 21-35 from the free throw line and allowed 16 offensive rebounds.

However, the difference in the game may have been from beyond the arc as the Kings nailed 9 of 18 3's, whereas the Lakers shot a woeful 1-for-16 from deep.

The Kings are back in action tomorrow night as they will fly to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Portland Trail Blazers at 7:00 p.m.

Prior to tipoff, Kings TV color commentator Jerry Reynolds laid out his three keys to the game. Let's take a look at what they were, and how the Kings fared.

1) The Newest Kings: Jimmer Fredette and Travis Outlaw scored six points each, J.J. Hickson scored three points to go along with five rebounds, the aforementioned John Salmons had 13 points, Isaiah Thomas scored five points and made some great passes for two key assists, and Chuck Hayes contributed seven points, nine rebounds, three blocks, and stellar defense. All in all, it's fair to say that the "new Kings" delivered on opening night.

2) Defensive Rebounding: The Kings lost the rebounding battle 45-40, and allowed 16 offensive rebounds. Fortunately for them, the Lakers shot just 42 percent for the game. Had the Lakers not shot 1-16 from 3-point range, the Kings could be 0-1 heading to Portland.

3) The Kobe Factor: At first glance, a 29 point, five rebound, six assist night for Kobe Bryant looks pretty good. However, when you take into account that he shot 10-24 from the floor, and 4-13 in the first half, it's not so good. Kobe entered tonight with 24 games of 30 or more points vs. Sacramento -- the most against any opponent. He didn't get to 25 tonight.

Drew Shiller is a Web Producer at CSNBayArea.com. You can follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Instant Replay: Kings shock Grizzlies late for second straight win

Instant Replay: Kings shock Grizzlies late for second straight win

BOX SCORE

SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings aren’t done fighting yet. In front of their home crowd, they pulled off their second consecutive shocker, this time dispatching the Memphis Grizzlies in dramatic fashion by the final of 91-90.

Darren Collison battled Mike Conley Jr. all night long at the point guard position. After scoring 19 against the Clippers on Sunday, Collison hit the Grizzlies for 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting and added a team-high seven assists. His free throw with 5.7 seconds remaining proved to be the game winner.

Rookie Buddy Hield continued his hot shooting, scoring 14 points on 5-for-12 shooting. The 23-year-old shooting guard is quickly establishing himself as a big time scoring option for the Kings moving forward.

Willie Cauley-Stein chipped in 12 points, nine rebounds and three assists. 7-footer Kosta Koufos found success against his former team, finishing with 11 points, five rebounds and three blocks before fouling out late.

Ty Lawson led the second unit with 10 points, while Anthony Tolliver went 4-of-7 from the field for nine points.

Conley Jr. received the biggest contract in NBA history during the offseason and he showed why Monday against the Kings. The veteran point guard dropped in 22 points and dished out nine assists as the Grizzlies fell to 40-34 on the season.

35-year-old big man Zach Randolph went to work in the post. The 16-year NBA vet dropped in 17 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, schooling the Kings frontline with the left-handed flip early in the game.

Brandan Wright came off the bench to score 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting and Troy Daniels added 10 points.  

STANDOUT PERFORMER:
Collison is heating up. Over his last two games, the veteran guard has scored 42 points on 16-for-24 shooting and kept his team in the ballgame.

TURNING POINT:
Despite leading by eight on multiple occasions in the fourth quarter, Sacramento couldn’t close the door on the Grizzlies. Collison drew a foul with 5.7 remaining and his team trailing by one. He knocked down both freebies and Randolph missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer to help the Kings improve to 29-45 on the season.   

INJURY UPDATE:
Arron Afflalo missed the game due to a personal matter and Tyreke Evans sat for scheduled rest. Rookie Malachi Richardson is officially out for the season with a right hamstring thickness tear. Rudy Gay is out for the year with a torn left Achilles.

WHAT'S NEXT:
The Kings are back at it Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center when the Utah Jazz roll through Sacramento. Following the matchup with Utah, the Kings travel to New Orleans to face former King DeMarcus Cousins on Friday evening.

 

Kings refute reported interest in ex-76ers GM Hinkie

Kings refute reported interest in ex-76ers GM Hinkie

UPDATE (6:30pm PT on Monday): The Kings issued a statement in response to a report that they had received permission to speak with former 76ers GM Sam Hinkie:

"The Kings are not hiring Sam Hinkie and have no plans to bring anyone in above Vlade."

***

Is "The Process" coming to Sacramento?

The Kings have reportedly received permission to talk to former Philadelphia 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie, according to ESPN.

Hinkie took over as GM in Philadelphia in the summer of 2013, but after three straight sub-20-win seasons, he stepped down from the role.

According to the report, a specific role for Hinkie is unknown.

More to come...