From Comcast SportsNetNEW YORK (AP) -- Charles Barkley thinks LeBron James can be better than Michael Jordan.Jordan is considered by many the best player in NBA history, but Barkley believes his teammate with the Dream Team can be surpassed by James."I do think he can be better than Michael," Barkley said. "I thought I would never compare somebody to Michael Jordan. But this guy, LeBron James, he does everything well. Michael did everything well. LeBron James is just bigger, stronger, faster. That's the only difference."Barkley makes his comments on the first episode of NBA TV's "Open Court," to debut Tuesday at 11 p.m. EDT. The series features a round-table discussion of NBA TV and TNT commentators. They include Shaquille O'Neal, Reggie Miller, Kenny Smith, Steve Smith, Chris Webber, Steve Kerr and Ernie Johnson.James won his first NBA title and third MVP award last season, joining Jordan as the only players to win the NBA title, regular-season MVP, NBA Finals MVP and Olympic gold medal in the same year.Jordan won six championships during his Hall of Fame career."Unfortunately for LeBron, now that the monkey is off his back, he is going to be compared to two people: Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan," O'Neal said. "So now the question is how many championships can he get? We all know he is a competitor."
SACRAMENTO -- The new look Sacramento Kings might not be done just yet. Despite trading away All-Star DeMarcus Cousins over the weekend, the young and energetic Kings moved to within a half game of the eighth seed in the Western Conference playoff chase with a 116-100 drubbing of the Denver Nuggets.
Willie Cauley-Stein is ready for prime time. With plenty of extra opportunities to work with, the 7-footer went off for a career night, dropping in a career-high 29 points while grabbing 10 rebounds.
Welcome to Sacramento Buddy Hield -- the centerpiece to the trade that sent Cousins to the Pelicans put on a show for his new fanbase. The rookie out of Oklahoma dropped in 16 points on 6-for-10 shooting and grabbed six rebounds in the win.
Seldom-used rookie Skal Labissiere looked aggressive early, scoring eight of his career-high 12 points during the first half. He added three rebounds and two assists off the bench.
Darren Collison set up the youngsters, finishing the night with 10 assists and 12 points. Ben McLemore was overmatched at the small forward spot, but still managed to go for 10 points on 2-for-3 shooting from long range.
Tyreke Evans added 15 points in his first game back in a Kings uniform in nearly four years, while Kosta Koufos chipped in eight points and six rebounds.
Gary Harris got it going from the perimeter, dropping in 23 points on 5-of-11 from deep.
Sacramento played small ball and Danilo Gallinari made them pay. In his first game after an eight game absence, the Italian-born forward scored 15 points and handed out six rebounds.
Wilson Chandler added 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Jameer Nelson finished with 12 points and six assists and Will Barton tossed in 16 off the Denver bench.
Cauley-Stein put on an aerial assault with highlight reel dunks and pretty jumpers from the perimeter. The second-year big said he was ready to take off Tuesday when he spoke to media members, but no one saw this coming.
The Kings punched first and never stop hitting the Nuggets. Denver looked stunned as the Kings’ young players put on a show.
Arron Afflalo, Garrett Temple and Malachi Richardson are all out with varying degrees of hamstring issues. Afflalo sat with hamstring stiffness and is day-to-day. Temple is out for another few games with a left hamstring tear and rookie Richardson is out 4-6 weeks with a right hamstring thickness tear. Rudy Gay is out for the season with a torn left Achilles.
The Kings return to the court next Saturday for a mid-day matinee -- Kemba Walker and the Charlotte Hornets drop by Golden 1 Center for a 2 pm start.
MALIBU -- Jock Landale had 23 points and 14 rebounds to lead No. 20 Saint Mary's to a 78-49 victory over Pepperdine on Thursday night.
The Gaels (25-3, 15-2 West Coast) continued to roll in winning 10 of their last 11 games. Their only loss in that stretch was to No. 1 Gonzaga.
Lamond Murray Jr. had 17 points for Pepperdine (9-20, 5-12), which lost its third consecutive game.
A power outage caused the lights to go out with 18:41 left in the second half. Pepperdine official Roger Horne said power surges throughout campus caused the 15-minute delay. Players stayed loose by shooting in the dark.
The delay didn't slow down Saint Mary's, which led 41-21 before the lights went out. Landale, the junior center from Australia, had an empathic dunk for the first basket after play resumed and the Gaels cruised from there.
Saint Mary's did what it needed to do in recording another road victory. The Gaels and Landale continued to flex their usual muscles as they dominated in the paint and outrebounded the Waves 47-29.
Pepperdine has weathered the storm of an injury-plagued season and played with its 10th lineup of the season. Chris Reyes (heel) was ruled out for the season on Thursday, but the Waves still suited up nine players.
Saint Mary's returns home to play its regular-season finale against Santa Clara on Saturday, the final tuneup before the WCC Tournament. The Gaels won the last matchup, 72-59.
Pepperdine plays its last home game on Saturday against San Francisco. It's the final game at Firestone Fieldhouse for guard Jeremy Major, who is scheduled to make his 122nd career start, which would become most in school history.