Kings

Road trip continues as Kings visit Martin, Rockets

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Road trip continues as Kings visit Martin, Rockets

KINGS (4-7) vs.HOUSTON (3-7)
(APCSN) -- The Houston Rockets can finally settle in at home following a road-heavy portion of their schedule.The Sacramento Kings are looking for more success on the road as their five-game trip continues.Houston opens a stretch of nine of 11 at home Friday night when the Kings try to win two straight for the first time this season.Following Wednesday's 101-95 overtime loss at San Antonio, the Rockets (3-7) have won just once while playing a Western Conference-high seven road games.

Houston, playing its fifth road game in nine nights, shot 42.7 percent after missing eight of 10 in the extra session. The team is hitting 43.2 percent from the field on the road compared to 46.9 in three home games."That's just how the game goes," said former King Kevin Martin, averaging 14.1 points on the road versus 22.7 in Houston. "Percentages always catch up in this league, so that's just how it went. It wasn't in our favor."Sacramento (4-7) begins this season series on the heels of its first road win, 98-91 over Toronto on Wednesday. The Kings had lost their first four road games by an average of 23.3 points.
REWIND: Thomas, Cousins spearhead win
"I told our guys when you get a road win it's like winning two because you actually get the win and you get a confidence booster that you know you can play well on the road," coach Keith Smart said.Since Smart took over for the fired Paul Westphal last week, second-year forward DeMarcus Cousins is averaging 18.3 points and 13.5 rebounds while posting a double-double in all four games.He had 21 points and a career-high 19 boards Wednesday."He's a new player, man," said Tyreke Evans, scoring 24.5 points per game since the coaching switch. "I'm happy for him. He's done a great job just going out there and playing, helping us, not arguing with anybody on the team, just staying focused."Cousins averaged 17.8 points with 10.3 rebounds as the Kings dropped three of four to the Rockets last season. Cousins had 15 points and 15 boards as Sacramento snapped Houston's four-game home winning streak in the series with a 104-101 road victory April 5.Samuel Dalembert also had 15 rebounds for the Kings in that game, but they opted not to re-sign the veteran center and he joined the Rockets last month. Dalembert has been in Houston's starting lineup for the last three games, averaging 4.7 points and 6.3 boards.Rookie forward Chandler Parsons has scored 30 points while starting Houston's last three games in place of the injured Chase Budinger.Rockets forward Luis Scola has posted a double-double in each of the Kings' last six visits to Houston, averaging 20.7 points and 11.8 boards.Sacramento might be without leading scorer Marcus Thornton for a third straight game due to a thigh injury. He totaled 37 points in two games versus Houston last season after being acquired from New Orleans on Feb. 23.If Thornton is out, rookie Jimmer Fredette could make third straight start. He's gone 5 for 17 from the field in the first two.Martin is averaging 22.3 points in six games against Sacramento since being dealt to the Rockets on Feb. 18, 2010. He scored 30 in the Kings' last visit April 5.

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.

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

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USATSI

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: