Thornton's gaffe leads to OT loss for Kings

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Thornton's gaffe leads to OT loss for Kings

BOX SCORE
DENVER (AP) Arron Afflalo hit three free throws with 0.6 seconds left in regulation, Ty Lawson made a 3-pointer with four seconds remaining in overtime, and the Denver Nuggets rallied for a 119-116 victory over the struggling Sacramento Kings on Monday night.Afflalo finished with a career-high 32 points for the Nuggets, who improved to 4-0 since the All-Star break.Lawson came up with the clutch basket for the second straight night, finishing with 16 points and 13 assists.Marcus Thornton and Tyreke Evans each had 27 points for the Kings, who dropped their fourth straight on the day they announced they had extended the contract of coach Keith Smart through the 2012-13 season.Thornton also had the foul on Afflalo in the closing seconds that allowed the Nuggets to get the game into overtime and pull out an improbable win.The Kings trailed by as many as eight points in the fourth quarter, only to storm back and take a 96-93 lead on a 3-pointer by Francisco Garcia with 4:23 remaining.From there, it was an exchange of 3-pointers between the teams, as Lawson hit one to tie it up, only to have Thornton answer right back. Evans gave the Kings some breathing room with a short jumper, extending the lead to 103-98 with 1:16 remaining.The cushion didn't last.Afflalo hit a 3-pointer with 9.7 seconds remaining to make it a one-point game.After Isaiah Thomas hit two free throws to extend the lead to 108-105, the Nuggets held the ball for one final shot.Just before the buzzer sounded, Afflalo launched a deep 3-point attempt, with Thornton grazing his arm. Afflalo drained the first two free throws and then had to patiently wait after the Kings called timeout.He returned to the line, where he made the final one to tie the score at 108.Jimmer Fredette's desperation heave was offline and the game went to overtime.In overtime, the Kings jumped out to an early lead, but the Nuggets quickly responded.Lawson hit a 3-pointer from the top of the circle to give the Nuggets the lead. Garcia's final shot fell short.Once a banged-up bunch, the Nuggets are steadily returning to health. Leading scorer Danilo Gallinari was back after missing 13 games with a left ankle sprain. So was Brazilian center Nene, who sat out 10 games with a calf strain.Not surprisingly, Gallinari and Nene both showed some early rust from their long layoffs.Gallinari didn't hit his first basket until swishing a 3-pointer with 4:04 remaining in the third quarter. He had just four points on the evening.Nene finished with six points in just over 15 minutes.When Gallinari hobbled off the court on Feb. 6, it appeared as if he might be sidelined for quite some time after tests revealed a chip fracture in his left foot. But further examinations later showed the fracture wasn't caused by his stumble and may have actually occurred before he joined the NBA in 2008.The versatile Italian forward proved to be a fast healer, returning nearly to the day the team had predicted.The Nuggets were 6-7 without Gallinari, one of the players they're counting on to deliver big shots at crunch time.But with the game on the line the healing Gallinari was on the bench, not the floor.Even with the return of Gallinari and Nene, the Nuggets are far from full strength. They were missing swingman Rudy Fernandez (back) and center Kosta Koufos (left knee).However, Timofey Mozgov played Monday despite an ailing left ankle. He had eight early points before appearing to hurt his ankle again. Mozgov didn't play in the second half.The Nuggets trailed by as many as 11 points in the first half, only to go on an 8-0 run to close out the half and tie the game at 53.Notes: Kings F J.J. Hickson missed the three-game road swing with a hip pointer. ... The Kings will begin a franchise-record nine-game homestand on Wednesday against New Orleans. ... Lawson was named the Western Conference player of the week Monday. ... The Nuggets are 13-3 against the Kings at home since 2003-04.

Joerger: Rebuilding Kings hope to make the playoffs in...

Joerger: Rebuilding Kings hope to make the playoffs in...

The Kings' playoff drought is at 11 years and according to head coach Dave Joerger, it's going to last a few more years.

Speaking on Sirius XM NBA Radio on Tuesday, Joerger was asked about the differences between his coaching gigs with Sacramento and Memphis, and outlined the Kings' timeline for reaching the postseason.

"It's different. It's been a great learning experience for me. It's going to be an interesting process. You know, three years from now we hope to be in the playoffs. And so how do we do that? We were just talking about Memphis and it's the same thing. So if you're management, there's a couple times a year, two or three times that are really hot. Trade deadline, draft, free agency, boom, boom, boom. We're in Memphis sitting there getting 50 wins a year. Okay, maybe the trade deadline came and went, maybe we got a guy, maybe not, not too stressful. Get the 23rd, 24th pick in the draft," Joerger said.

"It's different now. In this situation, it's a higher pick, now free agency has a little bit more focus on it. So how we execute in free agency, how we execute our draft picks and how we execute at the trade deadline as this thing builds, you try to go too fast, you can make mistakes. But I think slow and steady wins the race," Joerger concluded.

So Kings fans can look forward to the 2019-20 season when the team returns to the playoffs.

Joerger is at the helm of a Kings team that is in full rebuild mode. The team traded center DeMarcus Cousins during the All-Star break and turned the team over to several first and second-year players. They posted a 32-50 record during the 2016-17 season, good for a third-place finish in the Pacific Division.

The Kings hold the No. 5, 10 and 34 picks in the upcoming 2017 NBA Draft and will add to their stable of young players.

 

Kings to host six players in first 2017 Pre-Draft workout

Kings to host six players in first 2017 Pre-Draft workout

With the NBA Draft Lottery in the books, the Kings can now start hosting players and will bring in six prospects for a workout on Thursday, May 18.

Here are the six players that will participate in the workout in Sacramento.

Wesley Iwundu (G – 6’7” 205 lbs.) Kansas State
Brynton Lemar (G – 6’4” 195 lbs.) UC Davis
Landen Lucas (C – 6’10” 240 lbs.) Kansas
Eric Mika (C – 6’10” 233 lbs.) BYU 
Naz Mitrou-Long (G – 6’4” 203 lbs.) Iowa State
Tai Webster (G – 6’4” 188 lbs.) Nebraska

The Kings hold the No. 5, 10 and 34 picks in the 2017 NBA Draft, which takes place on Thursday, June 22.