Kings

NBA Gameday: Youth takes center stage against Suns

NBA Gameday: Youth takes center stage against Suns

UPDATE (5:26pm PT on Wednesday): Roughly 90 minutes before tip-off, the Kings announced that PG Darren Collison and SF Anthony Tolliver will miss Wednesday's game due to planned rest. SG Tyreke Evans is listed as probable with a sore left ankle.

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After dropping eight straight games, the Sacramento Kings bounced back on Monday night against the Orlando Magic, coming away with the 120-115 win at Golden 1 Center. They travel to Phoenix trying to make it two in a row Wednesday evening against the young, but erratic Suns.

Seven players scored in double-figures for the Kings against Orlando, including a team-high 19 from both Darren Collison and Anthony Tolliver. The young core of Buddy Hield, Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere all started for Sacramento and chipped in a combined 46 points and 22 rebounds in the victory.

Phoenix is buoyed by a pair of scoring guards in Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker. Bledsoe bull rushes at opposing defenses, while Booker loves the 3-ball. Each player is averaging 21.1 points per game on the season for a team that sits near the bottom of the Western Conference standings. 

LINE 

Suns by 6

WHERE THEY STAND 

Kings: 26-41, third place Pacific

Suns: 22-45, fourth place Pacific

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Skal Labissiere vs. Marquese Chriss -- Vlade Divac drew the ire of plenty of fans and NBA talking heads when he traded down from the the no. 8 spot in the 2016 NBA Draft in a deal with Phoenix that included the No. 13 and No. 28 picks plus the rights to Bogdan Bogdanovic. The jury is still out on Georgios Papagiannis, the 13th overall selections, and Bogdanovic is currently playing for Fenerbahce of the Turkish league, but the 28th pick yielded Labissiere, who is quickly showing his value. 

Since the All-Star break, Labissiere is averaging 8.5 points and 5.6 rebounds in 15.6 minutes per game. Divac passed on Sacramento-native Marquese Chriss, who is averaging 8.1 points and 3.7 rebounds in 19.8 minutes per game on the season for Phoenix. Both of these young forwards have tremendous potential going forward and should see each other plenty of times over the next decade.

INJURY REPORT 

Kings: SG Malachi Richardson (right hamstring partial tear) out, F Rudy Gay (torn left Achilles) out for season.

Suns: C Alex Len (hip) questionable, F Dragan Bender (ankle) out.

SERIES HISTORY 

The season series between these two teams is all tied up at 1-1. Phoenix leads the all-time series 131-88 and they hold an 84-49 advantage during the Sacramento-era.

QUOTABLE

“It’s a good group and they get along and they go play hard. That’s kind of the identity that we’re hoping to have going forward. Whoever plays, this is how we do it here. We have great fans, a wonderful arena and we go out and and we play really hard.” -Dave Joerger following the win over Orlando

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.