Kings

Stuckey too much for Kings in loss to Detroit

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Stuckey too much for Kings in loss to Detroit

BOX SCORE
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Lawrence Frank loves defense. His Detroit Pistons managed to play just enough of it Friday night.After allowing 88 points through the first three quarters, the Pistons outscored the Sacramento Kings in the fourth to win 114-108."That was fun," Frank said after the Pistons scored 28 points compared to the Kings' 20 in the final quarter. "It wasn't exactly the kind of the grind-it-out defensive epic you used to see here in the 80s, but our guys made just enough stops at the end to win it."

Rodney Stuckey scored a season-high 36 points and rookie Brandon Knight added 23 points and 10 assists."I love playing with Brandon, and he is improving every day," said Stuckey, who missed a career high by four points. "We're going to have a lot of years together, and it is only going to get better."Detroit has won six of its last eight games after a 4-20 start."There's been a lot of improvement since Christmas," Knight said. "Our offense has been pretty good all along, but we're playing a lot better on the defensive end."Tayshaun Prince finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Stuckey was 12 for 20 from the floor and 11 for 12 from the free-throw line."We were getting easy buckets just by pushing the ball," Stuckey said. "We were getting out on the break, Brandon was pushing the ball, and I was getting rim attacks. That's my game."DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings with 26 points and 15 rebounds, while Marcus Thornton added 24."We did everything well until late in the game," Kings coach Keith Smart said. "We made some critical mistakes - just plays that we're not thinking the game all the way through. This was a tough loss, because we played so great and then gave it right back."The Kings threatened to pull away several times in the first three quarters, but couldn't stop Stuckey. His pair of free throws at the end of the third gave him 31 points and pulled Detroit within 88-86.Knight's layup put the Pistons ahead with 10:15 to play. After the teams traded the advantage several times, the rookie had a three-point play to make it 102-100 Detroit with four minutes left.The Kings scored the next four points, but Knight came through again, hitting a 3-pointer to put the Pistons up 105-104 with 2:17 left.Stuckey followed with a triple of his own on Detroit's next possession to make it a four-point game."That was just great teamwork all around," Knight said. "Tayshaun found me for a 3, and then Body (Ben Wallace) laid two perfect screens to open up the next two baskets. Everyone was doing their thing."Cousins and Knight traded baskets, and the Pistons clinched the game from the free-throw line."That was tough, man," Tyreke Evans said. "We have to learn to clean our game and close teams out. That's what good teams do."Notes: Isaiah Thomas made the first start of his career in the building where his namesake won NBA titles with the Pistons in 1989 and 1990. Thomas finished with 13 points and four assists. Isiah Thomas had 31 points in his first start, back in 1981. ... Cousins decisively won the battle of the second-year post players, as Detroit's Greg Monroe finished with three points and eight rebounds. Cousins was picked fifth and Monroe seventh in the 2010 draft.

DeMarcus Cousins: 'Take all them motherf****** down'

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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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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.