The Kings make it rain in Portland to get a big 123-111 win on Saturday night

Photo: Richaun Holmes returned to the Kings lineup on Saturday night @NBCS

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Where were you on December 8, 2012? The Sacramento Kings were in Portland and that was the last time they won a basketball game in “Rip City” until Saturday night. After suffering 12 consecutive losses over seven-plus years in Portland, the Sacramento Kings broke the curse and beat the Trail Blazers on their homecourt 123-111.

Playoff implications

The Trail Blazers (28-37) and Kings (28-35) are both fighting to jump into the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. That slot is currently held by the Memphis Grizzlies who have not been able to distance themselves from the Kings, Trail Blazers, Pelicans, Spurs and even the Suns who have a real chance to qualify for the playoffs.

This was the final meeting of the season between the Kings and the Blazers. The teams split the series 2-2.

The Kings started fast

The Kings started the game like a “Top Fuel” dragster. Harrison Barnes led the way scoring 11 points in the first quarter that saw Sacramento outscore Portland 40-24.

The Kings shot 55.2-percent (16-for-29) overall in the period and went 5-for-9 (55.6%) from behind the 3-point line. They dished out 11 assists in the first 12 minutes while making five steals. SAC was simply overwhelming.

The train kept rolling in the second quarter

The Kings did not cool off in the second period. Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic decided it was time “to make it rain” 3-pointers. The two shooting guards combined to hit 7-of-8 shots from downtown. As a team, Sacramento shot 9-for-12 (75%) from behind the arc.

The Kings outscored the Blazers 37-30 in the quarter.

Hield put up 14 points while Bogdanovic added 11.

At halftime, Sacramento held a 77-54 lead over Portland.

The Trail Blazers did just roll over and quit

When you have CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard on your team, you are never out of contention as long as there is time on the clock. Portland did not get hot, but they did play better than the Kings in the third quarter.

Sacramento cooled off in the third stanza as might have been expected. They shot 6-for-21 (28.6%) from the field; however, five of those baskets came from 3-point land.

Portland won the quarter 26-23, but the Kings still held a 100-80 lead after 36 minutes of play.

Wave the white flag

The Kings opened the final quarter by going on an 8-2 run that broke the Trail Blazers back. Portland tried to get back into the game, but it was too late.

Terry Stotts emptied his bench and the reserves played with vigor, but it was a futile effort.

The Kings won the game 123-111.

Top Performers

Leading scorers

  • Bogdan Bogdanovic was the game’s leading scorer with 27 points
  • Hassan Whiteside and CJ McCollum led the Blazers with 19 points each

Glass cleaners

  • Whiteside was the top rebounder with 11 grabs to give him a double-double
  • Richaun Holmes – who supplied some much-needed energy to the Kings – hauled in eight rebounds

Dropping dimes

  • De’Aaron Fox made it a double-double game by dishing out 11 assists in the contest
  • Lillard and McCollum led Portland with six assists each

Up next

The Kings jumped on their plane and flew back to Sacramento where they will host the defending NBA Toronto Raptors on Sunday night.

Portland will be off until Tuesday when they will host the Phoenix Suns.

 

 

 

Kings win 104-101 in Memphis to stay alive in the playoff race

SacMem
Kings win in Memphis @NBC CA

by Charlie O. Mallonee @Espn1320

The Sacramento Kings were written off for dead just weeks ago. Marvin Bagley III has been sidelined with a midfoot sprain, and there is no timetable for his return. Richaun Holmes – who had been playing at a high level filling in for Bagley – has been out due to a shoulder injury, and there is no estimate for his return to the lineup.

Luke Walton felt he had to shake up his starting lineup in order to generate more offense. Buddy Hield was sent to the bench to become the sixth man and Bogdan Bogdanovic became a starter. To everyone’s amazement, that move worked and has paid big dividends.

The Kings also unloaded two expensive players that were not producing the way they had hoped. Trevor Ariza plus two other players were sent to Portland in exchange for Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver. Bazemore had played for Luke Walton in Los Angeles and the coach had high hopes for him. Bazemore has been a productive addition coming off the bench for Sacramento.

Dewayne Dedmon – who had requested a trade – was shipped out to Atlanta for Jabri Parker and Alex Len. Parker is still working his way back from injury, but Len is starting to have an impact in the middle for SAC.

Just when it looked like the Kings had gone into a “wait until next year mode” – the team has surprised everyone by becoming a contender for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

A Big Win on Friday night

Nine days ago, the Kings beat the Memphis Grizzlies 129-125 in Sacramento. That win made everyone who covers the Kings feel like there was a glimmer of hope for Sacramento in the playoff picture. Everyone was afraid to say anything because the Kings have let the fans down so many times in the past.

Sacramento began a four-game road trip after that victory over the Grizzlies. The Kings won games in LA against the Clippers. They beat the Warriors in San Francisco. SAC came close to beating OKC on their homecourt.

The game on Friday night was the back end of a back-to-back set on the road – the toughest game for a road team to win. Memphis is desperately trying to hold on to the eighth and final playoff slot in the West. The odds were definitely against the Kings.

Game flow

The Grizzlies came out of the chute strong, and it looked like the Kings were in real trouble as they trailed 30-21 at the end of the first quarter.

Sacramento was able to shake off the cobwebs in the second period and began to dominate the game. They outscored Memphis 29-17 in the second. As the teams went to the locker rooms at halftime, the Kings held a 50-47 lead over the Grizzlies.

The Kings played well in the third quarter outscoring the Grizzlies 31-28 to take an 81-75 lead into the final 12 minutes.

Luke Walton always talks about how NBA games get close in the final six minutes of the game. Friday night was no different. The Grizzlies cut the Kings lead to just one point with 10.9 seconds to go in the game. Buddy Hield hit two key free throws to give Sacramento a three-point lead and the 104-101 win.

The Playoff Race get tighter

The Grizzlies have now lost five consecutive games and now have four teams breathing down their necks for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

The Kings record is now 25-34, and they are just three games out of the eighth and final playoff slot.

Kings top performers

De’Aaron Fox – who sat out the game in OKC with an abdominal strain – led the Kings scoring attack with 25 points and he added five assists.

Nemanja Bjelica was Sacramento’s top rebounder with 11 and made it a double-double game by scoring 13 points.

Harry Giles III had a huge game putting up 16 points and grabbing five rebounds.

Up next

The Kings return home to host the Detroit Pistons on Sunday at 3 PM.

 

Doncic and Prozingis lead the Mavs to a 130-111 win over the Kings in “Big D”

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings wanted to close out their short two-game road trip on a high note by handing the Dallas Mavericks (33-22) a loss on their homecourt heading into the All-Star Break. The Kings (21-33) knew they would have a big task on their hands because All-Starter Luka Doncic was going to make his return to the lineup after missing the previous seven games due to an ankle injury.

The Doncic Factor

For the rest of his career, Luka Doncic will always be tied to the Sacramento Kings in a bad way. Almost everyone associated with the NBA expected the Kings to draft Doncic because of his Euro pedigree and the Euro leanings of the Sacramento front office. When that did not happen, most experts and analysts were shocked. Now that Doncic is on the verge of becoming a real superstar, the decision to pass Doncic in the draft has become magnified.

Every Doncic success will be viewed as a Sacramento failure because they could have drafted Luka with their number two pick in 2018. Doncic will start the All-Star game on Sunday and he could have done that as a Sacramento King.

On Tuesday night, Doncic was the leading scorer in the game putting up 33 points to go along with 12 rebounds and eight assists.

Some will say that Doncic will always be in the mood to punish the Kings. Do not believe that rubbish. Doncic does not care about the Kings. He is very happy playing for billionaire Mark Cuban in Dallas who will spend whatever is necessary to put the players around him to win an NBA Championship.

Lack of defense

The Kings allowed the Mavericks to score at least 30 points in all four quarters of the game on Wednesday night. They allowed Dallas to shoot 56.5% from the field in the game. The Mavs hit 17 of 40 (42.5%) of their 3-point attempts.

A team like Dallas cannot be defeated when their opponent fails to show up on defense.

Top Scorers

  • Doncic was the game’s leading scorer while Kristaps Prozingis also had a double-double game with 27 points and 13 rebounds plus he added five assists
  • Buddy Hield was the Kings leading scorer coming off the bench to put up 22 points to go along with nine assists

The Glass Cleaners

  • Prozingis was the game’s leading rebounder with 13
  • Hield, Barnes and Bjelica all pulled down seven rebounds each for SAC

Dropping Dimes

  • Buddy Hield was the game’s assists leader with his nine dimes
  • Luca Doncic led Dallas with eight

Up next

The Kings will return to play on Thursday, February 20 when they will host the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Mavericks will return to action on February 21 in Orlando.

The Kings run out of gas in the fourth quarter and lose in Milwaukee 123-111

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Kings entered the game on Monday night in Milwaukee with high hopes. The Bucks superstar – Giannis Antetokounmpo – was ruled out the game because he wanted to be with his new-born son (who we all expect to be the number one overall draft selection in 2038). Without “the freak” on the floor, the Kings knew they had at least a fighting chance versus the powerful Bucks.

The Kings (21-32) fell behind early, and it looked like it might be a walkover game for Milwaukee (46-7) even without Giannis. At the end of the first quarter, the Bucks held 38-24 lead.

Sacramento rebounded in the second quarter. The Kings outscored the Bucks 34-19 in the second period behind the 13 point barrage by Harrison Barnes. Barnes went 4-for-4 from the floor with all three of his 3-point attempts finding their mark. He also converted both of his free throw attempts. The Kings went to the locker room at halftime with a 58-57 lead.

The two teams went into an epic battle in the third quarter and went toe to toe. The Kings outscored the Bucks 32-31 in the quarter and held a 90-88 advantage at the end of 36 minutes.

The Bucks started the final quarter with a 13-0 run and never looked back. Milwaukee went on to outscore the Kings 35-21 in the fourth quarter as they fell 12 points short when the final buzzer sounded.

Top scorers

  • Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe were the leading scorers in the game scoring 28 points each
  • Harrison Barnes was the Kings top scorer with 23 points

The Glass Cleaners

  • Bucks All-Star Khris Middleton made it a double-double game by pulling down 11 rebounds
  • De’Aaron Fox and Nemanja Bjelica grabbed eight rebounds each for the Kings

Dropping Dimes

  • De’Aaron Fox was the game’s assist leader with 11 which gave him a double-double game
  • Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe dropped eight dimes each for the Bucks

Up next

The Kings will be back in action on Wednesday night in Dallas.

The Bucks will travel to Indianapolis to play the Pacers on Wednesday night.

Kings defy the odds and beat the Clippers in LA 124-103

FoxClippers
@NBCBayArea

By Charlie O. Mallonee

After being blown out by the Oklahoma City Thunder on their homecourt in Sacramento on Wednesday night, the Sacramento Kings traveled to Los Angeles to take on the Clippers in the back end of a back-to-back on Thursday night. The Kings chances of winning were just 37.3 percent.

Sacramento has not been a team that has found their homecourt to be a huge advantage this season. In fact, they seem to be very comfortable in big games on the road. That was the case again on Thursday night.

No Kawhi

The Kings did draw the good luck card because Kawhi Leonard was held out of the game due to lower back tightness. That may have really translated to the “load management” card because the Kings have not been playing great basketball lately. If the Clippers took that chance, they played the right percentages.

The Clippers started strong

The Clippers came out of the gate strong scoring 33 points in the opening 12 minutes. They held the Kings to 28 points.

Sacramento held the Clippers to just 14 points in the second period. LA shot just 6-for-24 overall in the quarter and did not go to the free throw line once.

The Kings hit 13 of 22 attempts from the field and nine of those baskets were 3-pointers.

The Second Half

The Kings outscored the Clippers 60-56 in final 24 minutes.

Top scorers

  • De’Aaron Fox was the leading scorer in the game with 34 points to go with eight assists and three rebounds.
  • Lou Williams led the Clippers scoring attack with 22 points and he added six assists.

The Glass cleaners

  • Dewayne Dedmon was the top rebounder with 11 grabs. He made it a double-double game by scoring 11 points.
  • Ivica Zubac hauled in 10 rebounds to lead the Clippers.

Dropping dimes

  • De’Aaron Fox dropped a game-high eight dimes in the contest.
  • Lou Williams dished out six assists to lead the Clippers.

Up next

The Kings will host the Lakers on Saturday night.

The Clippers will welcome the Timberwolves on Saturday afternoon.

The Kings play defense and beat the Bulls 98-81 on Friday in Chicago

By Charlie O. Mallonee @Charlieo1320

The long national nightmare is over for “Sacramento Proud” as their team’s six-game losing streak has come to an end in Chicago. The Kings (16-29) downed the Bulls 98-81 on Friday night at the United Center.

The last time the Kings won a basketball game was on January 7th in Phoenix. Those 16 days between wins seemed like an eternity for Sacramento fans.

A major change to the starting lineup

Sometimes a coach must shake things up to in order to get his team’s attention. In this case, Kings head coach – Luke Walton – made a change to his starting lineup. Guard Buddy Hield has been in a shooting slump, so Walton took Hield out of the starting rotation and replaced him with Bogdan Bogdanovic who has been the Kings sixth man all season.

Moving a starter to the bench is always dangerous because a coach never knows how the player will react. In this case, the lineup moves worked.

Hield took the change in stride

In reality, Hield did more than take things in stride – he thrived. Hield led the Kings in scoring by putting up 21 points in the game. He shot 7-for-12 overall and hit 5 of 9 from behind the 3-point line. Hield also grabbed eight rebounds.

After the game, Kings head coach Luke Walton was full of praise for Hield for his play and his reaction to his change in the rotation.

The key to the win was defense

This was the second game this season that the Kings held their opponent to under 90 points. The Kings are 2-0 in those games.

Sacramento held Chicago to just 39.2% (31-for-79) shooting overall and the Bulls hit only 8 of 37 (21.6%) from 3-point range.

The Kings caused the Bulls (17-30) to turn the ball over 21 times which resulted in 16 Sacramento points.

The Bulls largest lead of the game was three points.

Top performers

Leading scorers

  • Buddy Hield was the Kings leading scorer with 21 points
  • Zach LaVine led the Bulls scoring attack with 21 points

The Glass cleaners

  • Cristiano Felicio of the Bulls was the game’s leading rebounder with nine
  • Buddy Hield led the Kings with eight rebounds

Dropping dimes

  • De’Aaron Fox was the game’s assist leader with seven dimes
  • Kris Dunn led the Bulls with six assists

Up next

The Kings travel to the Twin Cities where they will play the Timberwolves on Monday night.

The Bulls will play in Cleveland on Saturday night.

 

 

 

The Kings lost their fifth consecutive game in Miami 118-113

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings lost their fifth consecutive game on Monday afternoon in Miami. The Kings took the Heat to overtime but lost 118-113.

The optimist will say the Kings came close to handing the Heat just their second home loss of the season. The proper response at this point of the season is: “Close on counts in hand grenades and horseshoes!”

The situation is going supercritical

The Kings record has fallen to 15-28 for the season. They are now 5.0 games out of eighth place which is the final playoff spot. With the season more than half over, time is slipping away at a rapid rate.

As head coach Luke Walton said over a week ago, “No one is coming to save us.” Sacramento is not going to be able to make one blockbuster trade that is going to change their entire direction for the remainder of the season. They just do not have the pieces in place to make such a deal.

FiveThirtyEight.com gives the Kings just a 2% chance of making the NBA Playoffs. They are projecting Sacramento to finish with a record of 32-50 which certainly seems to be within the realm of reason. That would also put the Kings well short of being a playoff team … again.

The Kings battled hard in this game

After being blown out in Utah to start this road trip, the Kings regrouped to put up a fight against the very talented Miami Heat. In fact, the Kings held a 58-56 lead at the half. The Kings continued to battle the Heat and the game finished in a tie in the regulation 48 minutes after Bam Adebayo tied the game with a layup with less than a second left in the game.

Miami went on a 7-0 run to finish overtime to guarantee the win over the Kings. Miami has lost just one game this season at home and after the game on Monday, the Kings now know why.

Top performers

Kings

  • Nemanja Bjelica scored 22 points and pulled down six rebounds
  • Buddy Hield put up 20 points, grabbed seven rebounds and added seven assists
  • De’Aaron Fox scored 14 points and dished out eight assists
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 14 points
  • Harrison Barnes scored 11 points and hauled in five rebounds

Miami

  • Kendrick Nunn scored 25 points to go with seven rebounds and six assists
  • James Johnson added 22 points, six rebounds, three assists and two blocks
  • Goran Dragic put up 18 points plus four assists
  • Bam Adebayo finished with 16 points, 11 points and five assists

 

 

Up next

The Kings will travel on to Detroit to face the Pistons on Wednesday.

The Heat will host the Wizards on Wednesday night.

 

Kings dropped their fourth consecutive game on Saturday night in Utah 123-101

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings lost their fourth-consecutive game in Utah on Saturday night 123-101. That is not how the Kings wanted to kick off their five-game road trip.

The Kings were never really in the game against the Jazz. Utah outscored the Kings 38-22 in the opening quarter and that set the tone for the entire game.

Sacramento (15-27) was not able to stop the Utah (29-13) pick and roll attack. The Kings also kept sending the Jazz to the free throw line and Utah kept converting those opportunities.

The Kings were missing Holmes

The Kings defense really missed the injured Richaun Holmes on Saturday night. When Sacramento beat Utah back in November, Holmes played a very physical game versus Jazz star Rudy Gobert. On Saturday night, no one kept a body on Gobert and he had his way with the Kings.

Bogi was back for SAC

Bogdan Bogdanovic returned to the lineup for the Kings, but it was apparent that he was still a bit “rusty” as he returned from being off the court. Bogdanovic scored 11 points shooting 5-for-11 from the floor. He also added four rebounds and four assists in his 22-plus minutes of playing time.

The other Bogi was really on

Utah’s Bogdanovic – Bojan – scored 30 points in his team’s victory. He shot 10-for-15 overall and 6-of-9 from behind the 3-point line. Bogdanovic was really just unstoppable.

TOP PERFORMERS

Leading scorers

  • Bojan Bogdanovic was the game’s high scorer putting 30 points in the book
  • De’Aaron Fox scored a team-high 21 points for the Kings

The Glass cleaners

  • Rudy Gobert the leading rebounder with 15 and made it a double-double game by scoring 28 points
  • Marvin Bagley III led the Kings with seven rebounds

Dropping dimes

  • Joe Ingles distributed a game-leading 12 assists
  • Fox led the Kings with eight dimes

THE BIG HEADLINE OF THE NIGHT

According to league sources, the Portland Trail Blazers and the Sacramento Kings have made a five -player trade. There has not been an official announcement because one of the players involved cannot sign a regular NBA contract until Tuesday.

Reportedly, the Kings will send Trevor Ariza, Wenyen Gabriel, and Caleb Swanigan to Portland in exchange for Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver. The Kings would also receive two second-round draft picks, one in 2024 and one for 2025.

The reason Portland was interested in the trade is believed to be their interest in adding Kevin Love to their roster. This trade will clear millions from their payroll that they need in order to make room to make a deal for Love.

The Kings were interested in the deal because they will receive two serviceable players with expiring contracts. Combined those contracts will be worth over 21-million dollars salary cap clearing-dollars. Sacramento may have just made the way to keep Bogdan Bogdanovic a Sacramento King for the long term.

The Kings will also open an extra roster spot in the deal.

Look for the next deal that the Kings will make to involve Dewayne Dedmon who has publicly requested a trade. The Kings will no doubt be looking for a player with an expiring contract in order to have the flexibility for next season.

Fantasy Football Doctors Podcast: NFL Division Playoff Weekend Edition

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Your hosts: Dr. Vasu Vaddiparty & Dr. Charlie O

Who is the best of the remaining 8 QB’s?

Which RB will bring the most bang for your buck?

What receiving corps will be the most productive?

Is there a kicker you can trust?

Which defense can get the job done?

Answers to these questions and more with the Fantasy Football Doctors!