Kings snap skid with win over Lakers

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Kings snap skid with win over Lakers

BOX SCORE

SACRAMENTO (AP)The Los Angeles Lakers had talked about bringing Showtime back to the franchise when they hired Mike D'Antoni to implement his fast and flashy offense.The curtains are still waiting to be raised on that act.Kobe Bryantscored an efficient 38 points butDwight HowardandPau Gasolstruggled inside, and the lethargic Lakers lost 113-97 to the struggling Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night to snap a three-game winning streak."If we're going to play Showtime, my God, they just closed the whole theatre on us," D'Antoni said. "Showtime, are you kidding? It was Muppet Time."Marcus Thorntonscored 23 points andTyreke Evanshad 18 to pace Kings, who had lost five straight games.Jason Thompsonadded 13 points and 10 rebounds to help Sacramento run away in the fourth quarter and cement the latest Lakers setback.Los Angeles seemed to be turning things around since hiring D'Antoni. Instead, the Lakers looked lost and listless against the Western Conference's worst team, showing all the same problems that got coach Mike Brown fired."The first half might have been the worst basketball I've seen in 10 years," D'Antoni said. Later, he added, "It was like we were wrestling in mud."Bryant finished 11-of-20 shooting andJodie Meekshad 15 points off the bench as D'Antoni lost for the first time on the Lakers bench. A night after beating Brooklyn in Los Angeles, the Lakers might've been bad enough to give D'Antoni a headache to go with the pain still throbbing in his surgically replaced knee.Bryant still almost willed his tired team back.After the Lakers went down by 10 points early in the fourth quarter, he converted a three-point play overDeMarcus Cousinsthat sliced Sacramento's lead to 96-92 with 3:06 remaining. Thornton thwarted the rally in a hurry, swishing a 3-pointer from the top of the key on the next possession.Officials whistled Gasol for a flagrant foul when he swatted Thompson in the face going for a rebound. Thompson made one of two free throws, Cousins added a pair of driving layups and a free throw to put Kings ahead 105-93, and the home fans chanting "Beat L-A! Beat L-A!" while Bryant finished the game on the bench with a towel over his head."It always feels good beating the Lakers," Thornton said. "Our fans were into it so we don't really want to let them down. So we came out and played hard, I don't know what for, but we played extremely hard against the Lakers."Though point guardsSteve NashandSteve Blakeare expected to be out with injuries for at least another two games, the limited Lakers talent was hardly an excuse in this matchup.The Lakers held Sacramento to 31 percent shooting in the first quarter. Kings big manChuck Hayesalso had to go back to the locker room to receive stitches after he was cut around his right eye and had blood dripping down his cheek, and yet Los Angeles still only led by six.Aaron Brooksstarted Sacramento's spurt in the third quarter when he floated an underhand layup over Howard and drew a foul for a three-point play on the new Lakers center, who tumbled hard into a row of photographers under the baseline. Brooks added a jumper and a 3-pointer to highlight the 17-5 run that put the Kings ahead 69-58."Our team went on a whirlwind," Kings coach Keith Smart said.D'Antoni kept yelling and motioning for the Lakers to sprint up court to match Sacramento's speed. Instead, they often kept the pace at a slow crawl.Howard finished with seven points on 2-of-4 shooting. Gasol scored eight points on 3 of 10 from the field, and the Lakers were outscored 50-22 in the paint."It seemed like we were a little lethargic for whatever reason," Bryant said. "We just have to push through it, particularly the second unit, especially while Dwight is in there. You don't have to go to as many pick-and-rolls, really, just dump the ball down to him and let him operate."Never happened.After the Lakers closed within a point,James Johnsonmade three straight layups during an 11-2 run that put the Kings ahead 88-78 early in the fourth quarter. D'Antoni called a timeout in the middle of Sacramento's surge to put his starters back in the game and give his listless Lakers a chance to refocus.No chance for that now.D'Antoni's knee - and the Lakers mettle - will be tested even more. Los Angeles plays at Memphis on Friday and at Dallas on Saturday to complete a quick three-game trip."I think you always have a little bit of shock when a guy comes in new, and so you start off all like puppies out there," D'Antoni said of his team's turnaround when he was hired. "Now it's back to reality a little bit."NOTES: The Kings won all three preseason games against the Lakers. The series is 1-1 in the regular season, with the home team winning each time. ... Howard made 3 of 4 free throws after going 7 for 19 from the line a night earlier against Brooklyn. His first attempts came with 7:07 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Kings could lose 2017 first-round pick obtained in Cousins trade

Kings could lose 2017 first-round pick obtained in Cousins trade

The highly touted 2017 NBA Draft is four months away and the Sacramento Kings have gone from a team with no stake in the conversation to a franchise with plenty of possibilities. Like everything else in Sacramento, it’s complicated. The Kings could have zero, one or two first round picks in the upcoming draft.

Kings Pick

All the way back on June 30 of 2011, Geoff Petrie dealt a protected first round pick (2012-2017) along with Omri Casspi to the Cleveland Cavaliers for power forward J.J. Hickson. Hickson didn’t even make it through the season with the Kings. After attempting to deal him at the trade deadline and finding no takers, Petrie waived Hickson on March 12, 2012.

The Cavs used the pick as part of a larger package to obtain forward Luol Deng from the Chicago Bulls on Jan. 6, 2014. Chicago has waited patiently to use the pick, but per the original trade, if the selection falls in the Top 10 this season (post lottery), it is not relayed this season and it becomes a protected second round pick. If the pick falls in the between selections 56-60 (mathematically unlikely at this point), the Kings keep the second round pick as well and the original trade is satisfied.

To complicate matters, if the pick falls between 1-10 this season and the Kings retain the selection, the Philadelphia 76ers have the right to swap picks. The pick swap stems from the July 9, 2015 trade that sent Carl Landry, Jason Thompson, Nik Stauskas, a protected first round selection (now an unprotected 2019 first round selection) and the rights to swap picks in 2016 and 2017 for the rights to Arturas Gudaitis, Luka Mitrovic and a future second round pick. The Sixers currently have the fifth worst record in the NBA.

What does it mean?

If the Kings make the playoffs, the pick is instantly relayed to the Chicago Bulls. If the Kings miss the playoffs, but land 11, 12, 13 or 14 in the draft following the lottery, the Bulls get the pick. If Sacramento lands anywhere in the Top 10 following the lottery, they retain the pick, but the Sixers have the opportunity to swap selections.

Pelicans Pick

On Feb 20, 2017, the Kings traded All-Star big man DeMarcus Cousins, along with forward Omri Casspi (again) to the New Orleans Pelicans for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, a protected first round selection and the Philadelphia 76ers 2017 second round pick.

The protections are a bit complicated on the Pelicans first round pick. If New Orleans makes the playoffs, the Kings instantly take the pick. If the Pelicans miss the playoffs and go into the lottery, the Kings are safe in 2017, as long as they don’t win the lottery and move into the top three spots.

If the Pelicans move into the top three in 2017 and keep the pick, it becomes a Top 1 protected pick for the next three seasons. In the nearly impossible scenario that the Pelicans draw a top three pick in 2017 and then follow that up with three straight no. 1 overall selections, the Kings receive the Timberwolves 2021 pick.

What does it all mean?

New Orleans currently sports the NBA’s sixth worst record and they trail the Denver Nuggets by 3.5 games for the eighth spot in the Western Conference playoff race. If the season were to end today, they would fall in the middle of the lottery. As long as the Pelicans don’t move into the Top 3, Sacramento gets the pick. If they win one of the top three picks, there is a high likelihood that the Kings will receive the selection in 2018.

Instant Replay: Second quarter kills Kings in loss to T'Wolves

Instant Replay: Second quarter kills Kings in loss to T'Wolves

BOX SCORE

SACRAMENTO -- Adjusting to life without DeMarcus Cousins is proving more difficult than the Kings thought. For the second straight game, Sacramento struggled to score the ball, falling to the Minnesota Timberwolves by a final of 102-88 Monday night at Golden 1 Center.

Karl-Anthony Towns continued his strong play. The second-year big is quickly becoming one of the best bigs in the game and at age 21, the sky's the limit. Towns dropped in 29 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and blocked three shots as the Timberwolves improved to 24-36 on the season.

Andrew Wiggins had a big night as well. He got off to a slow start, but once he started playing the passing lanes it opened up everything for Minnesota. The talented 22-year-old finished the night with 27 points on 10-for-22 shooting and added four steals.

Ricky Rubio chipped in nine points and dished out 11 assists. Nemanja Bjelica added 10 points and 12 rebounds in the win.

Kosta Koufos overpowered the Timberwolves in the post. The Kings starting center scored 14 points and grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.

Ben McLemore drew the tough assignment of guarding Wiggins and held his own early. But once the high-flying wing got going, McLemore had no answer. On the offensive end, he finished the night with 14 points on 5-for-10 shooting.

Willie Cauley-Stein scored 14 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out five assists. Ty Lawson went for 11 points and nine assists, while Tyreke Evans picked it up late, scoring 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting.

STANDOUT PERFORMER:
Wiggins and Towns put on a show. Give these two a couple of seasons and they might be the best duo in the game.

TURNING POINT:
The Kings looked completely lost in the second quarter and the Timberwolves ran them off the floor. After a competitive first 12 minutes of action, Minnesota outscored Sacramento 40-19 in the quarter to take a 60-44 lead into the intermission. Game over.

INJURY UPDATE:
Arron Afflalo missed his third straight game with a sore hamstring. Garrett Temple and Malachi Richardson sat again with varying degrees of hamstring issues. 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, but hopes to return before the season is finished. Rudy Gay is out for the year with a torn left Achilles.

WHAT'S NEXT:
The Kings continue their homestand Wednesday when the Brooklyn Nets swing by Golden 1 Center.