Tyreke's 28 points not enough for Kings against Magic

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Tyreke's 28 points not enough for Kings against Magic

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SACRAMENTO -- Having foul-plagued star Dwight Howard sitting on the bench for much of the first three quarters wasn't funny to Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy during the game.Afterward, the veteran coach could laugh about it.Jason Richardson scored a season-high 22 points, Glen Davis added a season-best 20 and Orlando beat the Sacramento Kings 104-97 on Sunday with Howard playing only a minor role.The All-Star center, who entered the game averaging 20.3 points and 15.9 rebounds, had five points and four rebounds in 20 minutes and spent most of the first three quarters in foul trouble. He didn't get his first rebound until 4 minutes into the fourth and was scoreless before converting a three-point play with 6:35 remaining, putting the Magic ahead 87-85."I got Dwight a lot of rest in the first half. That was a (good) coaching move," laughed Van Gundy, who received 42 points from his productive bench.Davis earned a big share of the credit. Nicknamed "Big Baby" for his 289-pound frame and style of play, Davis consistently hit jumpers from the perimeter and used his muscle to score inside and grab eight rebounds, including five on offense. He shot 8 of 13 and had two assists in 28 minutes."These types of games are a tell-all for a team when you have your best player in foul trouble," said Orlando forward Ryan Anderson, who had 19 points and 11 rebounds. "We had a lot of guys back (Howard) up tonight. Glen did an amazing job off the bench."Tyreke Evans had a season-high 28 points and eight assists for the Kings. DeMarcus Cousins, also hampered by fouls, had 16 points and 10 rebounds. J.J. Hickson added 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Marcus Thornton scored 13 points.Guarding Cousins, Howard picked up his second foul at the 10:14 mark of the first quarter and promptly left the game. He was called for a third foul midway through the second quarter and had zero points and rebounds in 6 first-half minutes.Howard was whistled for his fourth foul at 9:57 of the third quarter. He also had a second-quarter technical for what he termed a harmless comment to the referees."I didn't curse and I didn't show them up," he said.Although Howard would have preferred playing with foul trouble, he said he understood Van Gundy's decision to sit him for more than half the game."It's smart. He didn't want me to pick up any more cheap fouls, especially early in the game," Howard said. "He would rather have me sitting than in the game and having to be tentative."With Howard on the bench, the Kings shot 52 percent to stay close throughout. But 17 turnovers and only 16 assists were partly to blame for the end to their modest two-game home winning streak."Obviously, he's the focal point of the team, an All-Star," Kings coach Keith Smart said. "It makes the game a little bit easier when the paint opens up and you don't have a guy shot-blocking and rebounding. So that was one of the keys to us staying in the game and having the lead. We just really couldn't hold onto it and extend it."Von Wafer made three 3-pointers and scored 12 points, and Hedo Turkoglu added 11 points for the Magic, who had 14 more field goal attempts than the Kings and committed only 10 turnovers.Turkoglu banked in a 3 with the shot clock running down to give Orlando a 93-89 lead with just less than 3 minutes remaining. Anderson's 3-pointer from the corner and Turkoglu's layup gave the Magic a 102-95 cushion with 35 seconds left.Even with Howard sidelined for a large portion of the game, Cousins also got into foul trouble. He picked up two fouls in just more than a minute in the third quarter and went to the bench at the 6:54 mark with five fouls."We've just got to get better with late-game situations," said Cousins, who had only four points and four rebounds in the second half when he was saddled with foul problems. "It's not something we can get overnight, but we have to continue to get better. We are taking steps forward."The game was the start of a four-game road trip for the Magic, which ends Jan. 16 against the Knicks.The Kings' next game is Tuesday in Philadelphia, the start of a five-game road trip in seven days.After struggling for much of the game, Anderson got going in the third quarter, scoring 11 points. Davis replaced Howard and proved to be trouble for the Kings again, scoring nine points as Orlando took an 81-79 lead into the fourth.Despite playing almost the entire first half without Howard, the Magic led 49-47. Davis and Richardson both scored 11 points, while Evans had 15 for the Kings and Cousins added 12. The Orlando bench had 28 first-half points.A slow starter much of the season, Cousins scored 10 points in helping the Kings to a 21-19 lead in the opening quarter.Notes: Anderson, who missed his first six shots, grew up in nearby El Dorado Hills, about 30 miles northeast of Sacramento. He got tickets for a group of family and friends. ... Turkoglu argued a first-quarter foul and was given a technical. ... Thornton missed all seven shots in a scoreless opening half, but finally scored on a jumper early in the third quarter, when he had 10 points.

How the four Kings rookies fit in heading into 2017-18 season

How the four Kings rookies fit in heading into 2017-18 season

SACRAMENTO - The Sacramento Kings swung for the fences during the NBA Draft Thursday night. They filled holes, took a gamble and might have even come away with a steal or two in their four selections. There are major roster questions that still have to be answered in free agency or through trade, but here is a look at how the new faces fit into the current situation in Sacramento.

De’Aaron Fox, point guard, University of Kentucky
Sacramento let it be known early that Fox was a target. The speedy point guard put on a show in his lone season in Kentucky, averaging 16.7 points, 4.6 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 29.6 minutes per game. He’ll need to improve his 3-point shooting (24.6 percent) to keep defenses from sagging off and clogging his running lanes, but his mechanics are sound.

According to Vlade Divac, “De’Aaron is our future.” Whether the team will look to add a veteran presence is still in question. Veterans Darren Collison and Ty Lawson have spoken about their willingness to return as a mentor, but Fox is expected to play major minutes in his rookie season as the Kings look to turn up the tempo.

Fox is a big time athlete with great size for the position. Standing a little over 6-foot-3 with a 6-foot-6.5 wingspan, the left handed point guard projects well on both ends of the floor. He’ll need to add weight to his 170-pound frame, but the Kings have a strong strength and conditioning team that has been working overtime all summer building on last season’s draft class.

With both Collison and Lawson entering free agency unrestricted, Fox is likely the Kings starter on Day 1.

Justin Jackson, small forward, University of North Carolina
Jackson tested the draft waters a year ago and decided to return to the Tar Heels for one more season. The gamble paid off as Jackson and his North Carolina teammates rolled through the NCAA tournament and were crowned champs.

In addition to winning it all, Jackson showed major improvement in his junior year under Roy Williams. The 22-year-old wing posted 18.2 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 32.2 minutes per game. Jackson’s biggest improvement came as a perimeter shooter where he converted 36.8 percent of his 3-point shots, compared to just 29.2 percent as a sophomore.

Like Fox, Jackson needs to add strength and weight to compete in the NBA for 82 games a season. He is a wiry athlete that stands 6-foot-8 with a 6-foot-11 wingspan, but he weighed in at just 201 at the Draft combine (up from his 192 a season ago).

As of today, Jackson is the only true small forward on the Kings roster. They have options in Garrett Temple and Malachi Richardson, but they will likely address the position in free agency or through trade. Jackson will play minutes as a rookie, but how many will be determined by how quickly he can adjust to the NBA level. He’s a mature scorer and he has defensive potential, but he will likely begin his career in a reserve role, at least initially.

Harry Giles, power forward/center, Duke University
There was a time when Giles ranked amongst the very best of high school player in the country. A series of bad breaks led Giles to tumble down the draft board where the Kings were more than willing to gamble at the 20th selection.

You can take his numbers at Duke and throw them out the window, he was never truly healthy in his time with Coach K. Standing 6-foot-10.5 with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, the 232-pound big has an incredible frame. Unfortunately, the frame is supported by two surgically repaired knees.

Giles tore his ACL in both knees as a prep athlete in separate incidents and he needed a third procedure to clean up one of his knees last year. If there is good news here, it is that both knees were damaged in contact injuries, as opposed to the knee giving out in a non-contact situation. The scope that occurred later is also not out of the norm as the body attempts to adjust to the changes in the joint.

Like the Duke medical staff, the Kings will need to show patience in years one and two as Giles continues to heal from the series of surgeries. The Kings knew the risk of drafting the talented 19-year-old and they also know that players like Danny Manning, Amar’e Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin went on to have very successful careers after bilateral ACL tears.   

Don’t expect Giles to play major minutes in year one, but the Kings fell in love with his talent in a pre-draft workout in Sacramento. The team has a bevy of bigs, including Skal Labissiere, Willie Cauley-Stein, Kosta Koufos and Georgios Papagiannis. This is a risk/reward pick for the future. If Giles can get right, he could be the best big man taken in the 2017 NBA Draft and maybe even a lot more than that.

Frank Mason III, point guard, Kansas University

Despite collecting a room full of trophies in his senior year at Kansas, Mason slid to the early second round where the Kings shunned trade offers and pounced. Like Fox, the high-flying guard was a major target of the Kings, even coming to Sacramento twice for visits before draft night.

The 23-year-old Wooden Award winner dominated in his final season under Bill Self, averaging 20.9 points, 5.2 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 36.1 minutes a night. He even shot 47.1 percent from behind the arc on 4.8 attempts per game. At 6-foot, 189-pounds, the biggest knock on Mason is his lack of size. He makes up for that with power and a 41-inch vertical.

Sacramento is in a tough situation when it comes to their point guard position. Fox was a no-brainer at number five and Mason is an NBA ready contributor at pick 34. But can they walk into a season with two rookies manning the point guard position? 

It’s possible. The Kings have Temple on the roster, who can steal some minutes, but Fox and Mason make an intriguing thunder and lightning pairing that should be a lot of fun to watch. Don’t be shocked if Mason earns a spot in the rotation in training camp and plays solid minutes in a sparkplug role off the bench as a rookie.

Purge of veterans continues as Kings waive Arron Afflalo

Purge of veterans continues as Kings waive Arron Afflalo

SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings continued their purge of veteran contracts Friday afternoon. NBC Sports California has confirmed that the team opted out of the second year of Arron Afflalo’s 2-year, $25 million deal. They will instead pay the shooting guard a $1.5 million buyout, saving $11 million and allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Afflalo, 31, posted 8.4 points and 2.0 rebounds in 25.9 minutes per game. The 10-year NBA veteran played in 61 games, including 45 starts for the Kings last season while shooting 41.1 percent from behind the arc.

The former UCLA star is the second Kings veteran to have his option declined, joining Anthony Tolliver in the ranks of unrestricted free agents. Both Rudy Gay and Langston Galloway have chosen not to exercise player options with the team as the franchise turns to a youth movement.

Garrett Temple and Kosta Koufos are the only remaining players players on the Kings’ roster with more than two years experience in the league. Sacramento will enter free agency with upwards of $55 million to spend in free agency once they sign their four rookies from Thursday evening’s NBA Draft.