Instant Replay: Kings come up short in battle with Lakers

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Instant Replay: Kings come up short in battle with Lakers

BOX SCORE

It looked like a rookie/sophomore game Friday night at Staples Center as the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers faced off for the last time in the 2016-17 season. It was a spirited affair, but in the end, the Lakers found a way to win on their home floor, coming away with the 98-94 victory.

Julius Randle used his strength advantage to abuse the Kings in the post. The third-year big finished the night with 25 points on 10-for-14 shooting and added six rebounds for the Lakers. 

No. 2 pick in the 2016 draft, Brandon Ingram, shook off a slow start to score 14 points on 6-for-14 shooting. Jordan Clarkson added 12 points and six assists and former King Thomas Robinson chipped nine points and five rebounds as the Lakers pulled away late.

Welcome to Tinseltown Mr. Cauley-Stein. Sacramento’s second-year big put on a show for the Kings, playing tremendous basketball on both sides of the court. The 7-foot center finished the night with 14 points, seven rebounds and three blocks in 22 minutes of action.

Rookie Skal Labissiere looked like he was trying out for the slam dunk contest. The smooth shooting big score 19 points on 8-for-13 from the floor and added three rebounds and two blocks in the loss.

Darren Collison started after sitting the previous game. The veteran point guard shot 5-for-7 from the field on his way to 15 points and a game-high 10 assists. 

Buddy Hield struggled from the field early, but still managed to drop in 17 points on 7-for-14 shooting. Georgios Papagiannis added 10 points and 10 rebounds and Ben McLemore went for nine off the bench as the Kings moved to 31-48 on the season.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

Labissiere continues to show he’s ready for the NBA stardom. The 21-year-old forward has big league potential. 

TURNING POINT

The battle of NBA babies came down to wire. Los Angeles went for the win late, gaining the lead in the final three minutes and holding on for their 24th victory of the season. Larry Nance Jr. hit a free throw to give LA the two-point lead with five seconds remaining and the Kings couldn’t come up with the play to even the score late.

INJURY UPDATE 

Kosta Koufos sat for his fifth straight game for planned rest. Ty Lawson and Garrett Temple sat as well as the Kings’ season winds down. Rookie Malachi Richardson is officially out for the season with a right hamstring thickness tear. Rudy Gay is out for the year with a torn left Achilles. 

WHAT'S NEXT 

The Kings return home following the game where they’ll face off with MVP candidate James Harden and the high-scoring Houston Rockets Sunday afternoon at Golden 1 Center. 

Instant Replay: Shorthanded Kings persevere, hold off Mavericks for win

Instant Replay: Shorthanded Kings persevere, hold off Mavericks for win

BOX SCORE

SACRAMENTO -- In a battle of two-shorthanded teams, the Sacramento Kings figured out a way to grind out a win. Riding the hot shooting of Ben McLemore and a huge rebounding night from Willie Cauley-Stein, Sacramento ran over the Dallas Mavericks late to come away with the 98-87 victory.

McLemore got hot in the second half to finish the night with 22 points on a perfect 5-of-5 from long range.

With nearly half the team sitting out, the youth movement was on full display. Center Cauley-Stein attacked former college teammate Nerlens Noel, finishing the night with 12 points and 16 rebounds.

Langston Galloway picked up his first start as a member of the Kings and he went off. The third-year guard posted 15 points on 5-for-9 shooting and added seven rebounds.

Rookie big Georgios Papagiannis is developing with each minute he sees on the floor. The 19-year-old giant sets a mean screen to clear space for his perimeter shooters. On the offensive end, he managed to put up 13 points and he added five rebounds off Dave Joerger’s bench.

Buddy Hield hit 4-for-7 from long range to score 16 points and he chipped in four rebounds and Skal Labissiere shook off a slow start to score 11 points and grab seven rebounds.  

With most of Dallas’ starters sitting out the night, Harrison Barnes had plenty of opportunities to shine. The first-year Mav scored 11 points on 3-for-10 shooting, but sat late as the Mavericks turned to their bench.

Nicolas Brussino scored 13 points grabbed seven rebounds and handed out four assists. Dwight Powell finished with 11 points and seven rebounds and veteran guard J.J. Barea hit 3-for-5 from long range on his way to nine points and four assists.

Noel played well against Cauley-Stein early, scoring nine points on 3-for-4 shooting while grabbing 10 rebounds and blocking two shots in 20 minutes of action.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

McLemore couldn’t miss in the second half. His five 3-pointers swung the balance of this game.

TURNING POINT

Dallas turned away from the veterans in the fourth and their inexperienced bench fell apart. Sacramento kept playing to come away with their 31st win of the season.

INJURY UPDATE

Kosta Koufos sat for his fourth straight game for planned rest. Arron Afflalo missed the game with a lower back strain and Anthony Tolliver was out of action due to a right hip strain. Rookie Malachi Richardson is officially out for the season with a right hamstring thickness tear. Rudy Gay is out for the year with a torn left Achilles.

WHAT'S NEXT

The Kings travel to Los Angeles where the 22-win Lakers will host them Friday evening at Staples Center.

In first game back against old team, Cousins sees progress in young Kings

In first game back against old team, Cousins sees progress in young Kings

Trial by fire. The Sacramento Kings have used a cautious approach to bringing along their young bigs, but that all ended Friday night in the team’s 117-89 loss in New Orleans. 

With Anthony Tolliver and Kosta Koufos both sitting for “planned rest,” Skal Labissiere and Willie Cauley-Stein started against All-Stars DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis, and rookie Georgios Papagiannis saw major playing time. 

“It’s only going to make them get better,” veteran point guard Darren Collison told reporters following the game. “I think it’s a good test for them. A couple of games ago, they played against Blake (Griffin) and DeAndre (Jordan), this game, Cuz and AD. Playing against these talented bigs is only going to get them better.”

The Pelicans featured Cousins in his first game against his former team. The three-time All-Star dropped a game-high 37 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in the win. Following the game, he was nothing but complimentary about the trio of young bigs the Kings threw at him.

“I’ve been keeping up with my young guys,” Cousins told NBC California’s Kayte Christensen during post game. “I see their progress. They’re taking their games to another level. They’re all workhorses, so I know it will eventually come.”

Cousins showed his entire arsenal against Sacramento, knocking down 5-of-8 from 3-point range and doing major damage in the post. He powered through the Kings' young players on more than one occasion and he had Papagiannis on skates for much of the night.

Papagiannis managed to score 11 points and grab three rebounds in 24 minutes of action. He even had a block on Cousins, which brought a smile to the 19-year-old 7-footer's face. 

Labissiere shot just 5-of-16 from the field, but he was aggressive and looked up for the challenge. He finished the night with 13 points, eight rebounds and a block in 36 minutes.

“I did okay, I could have done better,” Labissiere told reporters. “It’s all about experiences and that was a good experience for me tonight going up against those guys. I definitely think I can play against them and compete. Just learn from it and move on. I have a lot to work on.”

If there was one major takeaway for the smooth shooting power forward, it was that his body needs work to compete with the stars of the league. 

“I definitely need to hit the weight room harder this summer,” Labissiere said. “It’s all going to come. I’m not worried about it.”

Cauley-Stein had an impressive night starting at the center position for Sacramento. Since Cousins’ departure, the second-year big has been asked to do more. He scored 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting against his former mentor, but he hit the glass hard, coming away with a game-high 14 rebounds. 

Since the All-Star break, Cauley-Stein is posting 12.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game and over his last four games, the 7-footer is averaging 11.3 rebounds per game.

In his first game back in New Orleans since being traded, rookie Buddy Hield added 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds. Ben McLemore added 15 points as the Kings fell to 29-47 on the season.

The Kings return to the court Saturday night and it doesn’t get much easier. Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and the Minnesota Timberwolves will host Sacramento on the second night of a back-to-back. Expect big minutes for the young guys once again as the Kings finish out the final six games of the 2016-17 season.