Kings four game win streak ends as they fall to Charlotte 99-85

by Charlie O. Mallonee

SACRAMENTO–The Sacramento Kings four-game winning streak came to a screeching halt on Saturday as they lost to the Charlotte Hornets 99-85. The Buzz City team was in desperate need of a win to stop a five-game losing slide that had them falling farther away from the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Kings (25-34) looked sluggish early on in the game which is to be expected. After experiencing the huge high of the win over Denver on Thursday without DeMarcus Cousins on the roster, the team was really set up to have a let down. Facing a Hornets (25-33) team that has been playing poorly, it was really easy for the young team not to come in pumped up and ready to conquer.

Even after a less than spectacular first half the Kings trailed by just 11 at halftime. It was the opening 4:33 of the third quarter that did Sacramento in and led them to a loss. The Kings did not score until Ben McLemore hit a 3-point bucket at the 7:27 mark but by then the Hornets had opened up a 23-point lead. Charlotte would continue to ride that big lead for the remainder of the contest.

This is going to be the reality of watching this young team over the final 23 games of the season. They will at times look brilliant, full of energy and unstoppable. At other times, they are going to look tired, confused and inept. That is just the reality of having a young roster filled in with seasoned veterans. Sometimes it will be fun and sometimes it won’t.

Labissiere with a smooth move to the hoop Photo NBAE

Kings head coach Dave Joerger on the game

“Guys battled. I think we spend a lot of emotion as talked about in pregame of the game the other night. Tonight the was a situation where you had a team that is a veteran team, a very physical team. They pushed us around the court most of the night with their size and their experience at all positions. I’m not talking about just in the middle, we were okay in the middle. But twos, threes and fours – they took us out of some stuff. We didn’t do a great job finishing at the rim and in the paint. We were 15-for-34 in the paint and had a tough night shooting. So hats off to them. They’re a good team, and they’ve got a chance to get in the playoffs too.”

Evans drives to the basket Photo NBAE


  • Ben McLemore was the Kings leading scorer with 18 points. Ben Mac had a slow start and found his rhythm when he drove the baseline for a slam. It seamed to jolt him alive and he finished shooting 7-for-15
  • Rookie Buddy Hield had a solid game coming off the bench to score 15 points while shooting 5-for-10 from the field in his 26-minutes of playing time
  • Anthony Tolliver made an impact early in the game especially with the 3-ball. Tolliver finished with 11 points going 3-for-6 from 3-point land
  • Tyreke Evans made his presence known with 11 points, five assists and five rebounds in 22 minutes on the floor
  • Darren Collison had a solid game at the point scoring 10 points while dishing out five assists
  • Skal Labissiere had a very nice game scoring eight points and grabbing 13 rebounds (3 offensive). Labissiere is looking very comfortable on the floor
  • Willie Cauley-Stein had a tough game scoring just two points and grabbing only two rebounds


  • Big Frank Kaminsky was the man for Charlotte. He scored a game-high 23 points shooting 5-for-9 from behind the 3-point line. Kaminsky also hauled in 13 rebounds for a double-double game
  • Forward Marvin Williams added 16 points while Nicholas Batum put up 15 points despite shooting just 4-for-17 from the floor
  • Kemba Walker had a very quiet game scoring just 12 points while distributing six assists
  • Former King Marco Belinelli scored 13 points shooting 4-for-7 including two 3-point baskets

Up Next

The Kings will be back in action Monday when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves at Golden 1 Center. The Kings are 2-0 versus the T-Wolves this season.

The Hornets have to go back to work on Sunday night in Los Angeles when they will play the Clippers at the Staples Center.

A Malachi Richardson Medical Update


The Kings rookie shooting guard who suffered a partial tear of the right hamstring continues to rehab the injury. There is still no date for his return to action but there is no need for surgery which is good news for the player and the team.

Kings work as team and earn a big 109-106 win in Charlotte

Cousins drives to the hoop in Charlotte Photo NBAE

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings could have easily rolled into Charlotte with their heads hung low after losing a tough game in overtime in Indiana on Friday night. After all, it was the second game of a back-to-back set on the road and no road team wins those games anyway, but that is not what happened on Saturday night.

The Kings came out from the opening tip-off looking like a team that had just finished two days of rest. They ran the court, made crisp passes, looked for the extra pass, sank 3-point baskets and played defense. Literally, the Kings had shaken off the disappointment of losing to the Pacers and were focusing on beating the Hornets.

The Kings did exactly that. They beat the Charlotte Hornets 109-106 on the road. The Hornets came into the game having lost three consecutive games. They desperately were looking for the magic of the home court advantage to work for them and it almost did. What the Hornets did not count on was the new found togetherness that Kings have developed on this road trip that has them playing as a team and not individuals. That makes Sacramento (19-28) a very dangerous opponent.

The Kings have learned how to start games fast and strong. On Saturday, the Kings shot 50-percent from the floor while going 6-for-15 (40-percent) from beyond the 3-point line putting up 52 points on the board in the first half. Sacramento also played tough defense holding the Hornets to 44 points on 42.9-percent shooting. Charlotte hit just 3-of-18 attempts from beyond the 3-point arc which is normally a strong point for them. Their All-Star guard Kemba Walker was limited to six points.

In the third period, the Hornets (23-25) came alive to no one’s surprise. It was Kemba Walker who led the charge scoring 20 of the Hornets 33 points in the quarter. Charlotte shot 66.7-percent from the floor and for 3-pointers. The Charlotte crowd came alive as their team was working their way back into the game. It is also important to note the Kings shot 54.5-percent in the quarter while Cousins and Collison scored 11 points each. Each team scored 33 points in the third period. At the end of 36-minutes, the Kings held an 85-77 lead.

The game took a sudden change of momentum early in the fourth quarter as the Hornets cut the Kings lead to just three points in under just two minutes behind the 3-point shooting of Nicolas Batum and Frank Kaminsky. Sacramento pushed it back to an eight-point lead but then things went downhill.

The Hornets hit five 3-point baskets in the fourth quarter and took the lead in the game with 2:19 remaining on a 3-point field goal by Marvin Williams. The Kings tied the game at 106 each and gained control of the ball with 31-seconds to go in the contest.

Following a Sacramento timeout, the Kings put the ball in the hands of DeMarcus Cousins who drove on the basket from the right wing to make the layup and give his team a two-point lead. With 14-seconds left, the Hornets hopes fell to a 3-point shot by Kaminsky which came up short and was rebounded by Cousins who was fouled. Cousins hit 1-of-2 free throws to give his team the 109-106 victory.

Sacramento Kings v Charlotte Hornets
Darren Collison scored 17 points against the Hornets Photo NBAE

Cousins on the win

  • We’re understanding better – we can win by playing together
  • (we’re playing) team oriented defense
  • The “iso” style is out of play
  • The only way we win game is playing together

Who did what in the game


  • DeMarcus Cousins scored a game-high 35 points and pulled down 18 rebounds to record his 12th consecutive double-double game. Cousins also had four assists and seven of his rebounds came on offense which extended possessions
  • Anthony Tolliver scored 14 points hitting on 4-of-8 shots from long range. Those 3-point baskets seemed crush the Hornets momentum each time. He also grabbed seven rebounds
  • Willie Cauley-Stein played 14-minutes of impressive basketball against the Hornets. He shot 6-for-7 from the floor for 13 points and made his presence known on the floor
  • Other key contributors: Darren Collison 17 points, Arron Afflalo 13 points and 4 assists
  • Team numbers: 51.9-percent Field Goals, 11-for-27 (40.7-percent) 3-pt Field Goals, 27 assists and just 10 turnovers that resulted in just nine Hornet points
Sacramento Kings v Charlotte Hornets
Willie Cauley-Stein had a big game for the Kings Photo NBAE


  • Kemba Walker led the Hornets scoring with 26 points (20 in the third quarter). He did not score any points in the fourth quarter. Seven assists
  • Nicolas Batum put up 19 points that included hitting 3-of-6 for 3-pointers. He also had seven assists
  • Former Sacramento King Spencer Hawes scored 12 points off the bench and grabbed seven rebounds. He also tried to get DeMarcus Cousins ejected from the game (see below)
  • Team numbers: 48-percent Field Goals, 32.4-percent 3-pt FGs, 22-for-24 (91.7-percent) from the free throw line
NBA: Sacramento Kings at Charlotte Hornets
All-Star Kemba Walker scored 20 points in the 3rd quarter Photo NBAE

Dave Joerger’s postgame analysis

  • Good NBA game – both teams played hard
  • We’ve been playing much better lately and we showed some resiliency tonight coming back on the second night of a back-to-back
  • Kemba Walker was fantastic especially in the third quarter
  • We’re getting better at the little things-taking care of the ball
  • We had (only) three turnovers in the second half which has been a problem for us. We executed there

Oh no – Tech foul number 13

DeMarcus Cousins and Spencer Hawes were both assessed a technical foul with three minutes to go in the first half of the game. Cousins had just made a layup and was fouled by Hawes. After the foul, there were a few words and very (VERY) minor pushes with one hand from each player. It was really a nothing moment that happens in virtually every NBA game nightly.

Neither player ( and believe me when I say that I am no fan of Hawes ) deserved to be hit with a tech foul. A verbal warning from the referee would have been more than sufficient.

Being the agitator that he is – Hawes kept trying to get under Cousins skin in the second half because a second technical would have meant an automatic ejection. To Cousins credit, he just ignored Hawes.

For Cousins, this is his 13th technical foul of the season. When he reaches 16, it is an automatic one-game suspension with another one-game suspension for each two tech fouls after that. The Kings cannot afford to be without Cousins for one quarter let alone for an entire game.

I would not be surprised to see this technical reversed because it was really too much – too soon for what was happening between the players.

Up next on the schedule

The Kings travel to Philadelphia on Sunday where they will play the Sixers on Monday to make up the game that was postponed on November 30 due to a wet court. The 76ers play the Bulls in Chicago on Sunday. Joel Embiid will not travel to Chicago so there is anticipation he will be available to play against the Kings on Monday. It will be a 4 p.m. tipoff on the West Coast.

The Hornets will head out on the road to play Portland on Tuesday.


Kings battle hard again but come up short against the Thunder 122-118

Westbrook en route to 20th triple-double Photo: Kelley L Cox USA Today Sports

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Sacramento — Stop me if you have heard this before. “Tough night. Tough game to watch. The guys (Kings) are playing as hard as they can,” Sacramento head coach Dave Joerger after watching his team lose to the Oklahoma City Thunder 122-118. The Kings actually cut the Thunder lead to just two points with 11-seconds to go in the game, but there was not enough time left to finish the potential comeback.

The Kings were down by 12 points with 2-minutes remaining in the game and it felt like things were over at that point. Three 3-point baskets by Tolliver, Collison and Gay along with three Oklahoma City turnovers allowed Sacramento to work their way back into the game. Literally, the Kings waited 60-seconds to long to start their comeback and have enough time to finish it with a positive outcome.

The Kings are playing hard. They are not giving up. They just do not have enough “____________” (fill in the blank with your own opinion because there are so many and no one idea seems to be the right one at this moment). There can be no doubt that something is missing. Be assured the Kings want to fix it. At this point, it must not be that easy to fix or the organization would do it immediately.

No team wants to be in playoff contention – and the Kings are still in ninth place one-game back of Portland even after this loss – with a record of 1-5 on a seven-game homestand. The Kings management, coaching staff and players want to fix whatever is wrong. At this point, they just have not been able to do so successfully.

What will the Kings do next? They have a multitude of options so predicting the next move is very difficult despite whatever anyone is saying. The one thing that is known at this point is the Kings want that eighth spot in the Western Conference Playoffs.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Sacramento Kings
Dave Joerger draws up a play for the Kings versus the Thunder Photo: NBAE

It was a long game on Sunday night

Early in his postgame comments, Kings head coach Dave Joerger talked about what a long game it was on Sunday night. In fact, Joerger said it felt like game went on for hours.

  • There were 57 personal fouls committed by both teams
  • A total of 81 free throws were attempted
  • Four technical fouls were assessed

Add in timeouts, arguments by coaches and players plus video reviews and it was a long night for everyone

Stars of the game

Oklahoma City Thunder v Sacramento Kings
Cousins goes to the basket against the Thunder Photo: NBAE
  • Russell Westbrook – it did not look like the triple-double machine would pull off another impressive stat night early in the game. The OKC star guard had just 11 points, four rebounds and six assists at the half. By the time game ended, Westbrook had posted his 20th triple-double of the season by scoring 36 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and dishing out 10 assists. The man is truly a phenomena.
  • DeMarcus Cousins – the Kings center had a big night as he scored 31 points for his team and made it a double-double game by hauling in 11 rebounds (6 offensive). He also had seven assists. It was not a great shooting night as he went 8-for-20 from the floor but Cousins made up for it from the free throw line by hitting 14-of-17 from the stripe.


  • Darren Collison – the point guard had just two points in the first half of the game and finished the game with 21 points. He shot 7-for-9 from the floor including going 2-for-3 from 3-point range. Collison also took advantage of the charity stripe going 5-for-6 from the free throw line. He also posted two assists and two steals.
  • Enes Kanter – he is an easy selection for the Thunder. When Steven Adams went down due to injury, Kanter picked up the slack. Kanter scored a season-high 29 against the Kings hitting 10-of-18 shots. He also recorded a double-double by pulling down 12 rebounds.

Other featured players

Oklahoma City Thunder v Sacramento Kings
Rudy Gay brings the ball up the floor versus the Thunder Photo: NBAE
  • Kings – Rudy Gay 21 points and 10 rebounds, Anthony Tolliver 10 points, Garrett Temple 8, Matt Barnes 7 points and 8 rebounds, Arron Afflalo 7 points
  • Thunder – Victor Oladipo 23 points shooting 7-for-14, Alex Abrines 13 points and Steven Adams 6 points and 4 rebounds in just 19-minutes before being injured

Spotlight on stats

  • Points in the Paint: Thunder 56 Kings 46
  • 2nd chance points: Kings 17 Thunder 14
  • Fast break points: Thunder 25 Kings 9
  • Turnovers: Kings 22 (23 pts for OKC) Thunder 19 (28 pts for SAC)
  • Rebounds: Kings 44 (14 offensive) Thunder 44 (17 offensive)

Injury update

  • Steven Adams, OKC Thunder – Adams went down after battling for a rebound at the 10:48 mark of the third quarter. He left the court and did not return to the game. Adams hit his head on the floor and was experiencing concussion-like symptoms. He will be evaluated on Monday to determine if he must enter the NBA concussion protocol program.

Up next on the schedule

Kings – Sacramento closes out the seven-game homestand versus the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night at the Golden 1 Center. Sacramento is just 1-5 on the current homestand and would like to close it out on a positive note before heading out on a brutal road trip. The Kings will play eight games over 13 days on the road and will not be back in Sacramento until February.

Thunder – Oklahoma City has the second game of a back-to-back set on Monday night in Los Angeles against the Clippers. The Thunder will then head back to the Bay Area on Wednesday night to take on Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors in a nationally televised game.

Kings win third game in a row defeating the Timberwolves 109-105

Sacramento Kings v Minnesota Timberwolves
Koufos shoots in the paint photo: NBAE

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings won their third consecutive game on Friday night in Minnesota 109-105 as they downed the young and very talented Timberwolves ending their two game winning streak. Both teams fought hard in the game as the lead changed hands 20 times in the contest.

The win was the Kings second in a row on the road as they also won in Utah on Wednesday night. Sacramento’s road record improved to 6-11 and they are 5-5 in their last 10 games.

Sacramento’s overall record improved to 13-17 and moved them into sole possession of eighth place in the Western Conference by one-half game over Portland. That means if the season ended today, the Kings would be in the NBA Playoffs.

DeMarcus Cousins leads the way for the Kings

Cousins struggled with the Wolves double-teams in the first half scoring just 11 points. The Timberwolves were unable to hold him down in the second half as he put up 22 points working the paint and shooting from long range.

The Kings forward/center was the team’s assists leader with seven dimes. He was very aware of where his teammates were when the Minnesota defense double-teamed him. Cousins also led the team in steals. It was a Cousins steal from Zach Levine with 36-seconds to go in the game that helped to seal the win for the Kings.

The Kings bench produced big results on Friday night

The Kings bench outscored the Timberwolves bench 45-11. Anthony Tolliver scored 17 points hitting 5-of-7 shots from 3-point range. Tolliver played 30 minutes off the bench for Sacramento.

Ty Lawson has really come into his own in the last few games. He seems to have found how use his speed in the offense. Lawson scored 15 points for the second unit shooting 5-for-11 including two 3-point baskets. He also dished out four assists and had two steals.

The Kings team stats were very impressive

Sacramento shot 42-for-80 (52.5-percent) from the field. They hit 15-of-29 (51.7-percent) from 3-point land. From the free throw line, the Kings went 10-for-14 (71.4-percent).

The Kings assists to turnover ratio was better than the goal of 2:1. They had 27 assists and turned the ball over just 11 times that Minnesota converted into just six points. Sacramento had seven steals in the contest.

The Kings were out-rebounded 42-38.

Sacramento Kings v Minnesota Timberwolves
Barnes handles the ball for the Kings photo: NBAE

Coach Joerger’s views on the game

  • It was a good game, a good win
  • The Kings avoided the “track meet” mentality of trying to run with the young Timberwolves
  • The executed pretty well
  • By winning three in row, the team has earned Christmas Eve and Christmas off

Lavine was a one-man wrecking crew for Minnesota

Guard Zach Lavine tried to win the game single-handedly for the Wolves and he almost succeeded. Lavine scored a career high 40 points. He shot 13-for-21 from the field including seven 3-point buckets. Lavine was also a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line. The third-year shooting guard played 39-minutes in the game.

The other Kentucky center had pretty good game as well

Karl-Anthony Towns scored 20 points for Minnesota. He made it a double-double game by grabbing 13 rebounds. Towns shot 7-for-15 from the floor. He also had five assists.

Sacramento Kings v Minnesota Timberwolves
Towns works through traffic photo: NBAE

Minnesota has to work on Christmas Day

The Timberwolves travel to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder on December 25th. That is a tough task for a 9-20 team that is trying to find its footing. Minnesota has all the talent it needs to become a real force in the NBA. Now, it’s a matter of developing the maturity.

The Kings return to action on Monday night

Sacramento has a real chance to make it four wins in a row when they host the 7-22 Philadelphia 76ers at the Golden 1 Center. The Kings need to be very careful with the Sixers. It can be very easy to look past a team that is doing so poorly and wind up losing to that squad. That is what happened last season when the Sixers beat the Kings in Sacramento.

Knicks sneak past the Kings 103-100

by Charlie O. Mallonee

New York Knicks v Sacramento Kings
Cousins shoots against the Knicks photo:

Sacramento – The Kings trailed the New York Knicks 103-100 with 2.6-seconds remaining in the game. New York had to inbound the ball in the frontcourt after calling a timeout. The inbound pass came to Carmelo Anthony who was immediately fouled by Rudy Gay before any time could come off the clock. The only problem with the plan was the fact that Anthony was a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line in game up to that point.

Incredibly, Anthony stepped up to the line and promptly missed the first first free throw and the sellout crowd began to buzz. Anthony shot the second free throw and unbelievably missed again.

DeMarcus Cousins grabbed the rebound and ran as close to midcourt as he dared. The giant of a man then heaved a what was estimated to be a 52-foot desperation shot at his basket that hit the rim and then rolled out. For a few micro-seconds the thousands of Kings fans in attendance thought they were going to witness a miracle, then reality hit and the big crowd began to exit the Golden 1 Center knowing their team had lost the game.

Each team was missing a key player in the game

The Kings played the game without Matt Barnes who was held out of the game for what was called “rest”. Barnes of course has been at the center of a controversial story about a fight that allegedly took place in a New York City night club early last Monday morning. Rumors have been swirling that Barnes would be arrested by NYPD for his involvement in the incident. Barnes has also been named in a lawsuit that has been filed by two of the alleged victims of the brawl.

In his postgame press conference, Kings head coach Dave Joerger indicated that he believed Barnes would be available to play against the Jazz in Utah on Saturday night. Barnes was on the bench in street clothes for the game Friday night.

The Knicks were without Derrick Rose who is suffering from lower back pain. Rose had to miss the game on Wednesday night in New York City versus the Cavaliers due to the same problem.

NYK head coach Jeff Hornacek said before the game he was hopeful Rose would be available for the game on Sunday when his team faces the Lakers in Los Angeles.

Sacramento struggles shooting again against the Knicks

The Kings (8-13) shot much better in the first half against the Knicks on Friday night than did last Sunday in the Garden when they shot under 30-percent. However, the Kings shot under 40-percent in both the third and fourth quarters of this game which helped lead to their demise.

Sacramento shot 40.2-percent (35-for-87) from the floor and were a dismal 7-of-28 (25-percent) from 3-point range. The Kings went 23-for-27 (85.2-percent) from the free throw line.

Cousins led the way for the Kings

  • Cousins scored 28 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to post the double-double. He also struggled shooting going 9-for-25 from the field and 0-for-6 for 3-point opportunities. Cousins did dish out six assists in the contest
  • Darren Collison had a strong game against the Knicks. He scored 14 points shooting 5-for-11 in the game. He also had three assists and two steals
  • Rudy Gay recorded 15 points, five rebounds and a steal. He also had a tough night shooting going 4-for-15 from the floor and 0-for-5 from beyond the 3-point line
  • Omri Casspi keeps taking advantage of every playing opportunity he is given by Dave Joerger. Casspi put 12 points up on the board hitting 4-of-5 shots from the floor including one 3-pointer. He was a perfect 3-for-3 from the charity stripe and he had two steals in the game
  • Ben McLemore started his second consecutive game and scored 10 points. He hit 2-of-2 from long range
  • Other Kings scorers: Anthony Tolliver 10, Garrett Temple 5, Kosta Koufos 4, Ty Lawson 4
New York Knicks v Sacramento Kings
Rudy Gay drives on the basket against the Knicks photo:

Kings Dave Joerger on problems at the end of quarters in the game

“That was definitely a good basketball game. A couple of things came back and bit us. We gave up eight points at the end of the first, second and third quarter on last possession plays. In a close game, those things add up. We struggled to struggled to score the basketball tonight. We turned them over 17 times and scored 25 points off of that but outside of that we just didn’t make a lot of shots. Especially from the perimeter, we did not gain a lot of shots from the perimeter so it may jam up the paint on us. Good basketball game.”

Dave Joerger faces the press photo:

Surprising stat of the night

The Kings are not a team that is outrebounded by their opponents on a regular basis. If the other team does record more rebounds, the difference is usually not dramatic.

On Friday night, the Knicks outrebounded the Kings 54-39. Kings head Dave Joerger felt their length and the fact the Kings played “small” much of the game is what allowed New York to establish such a margin.

NYK did not have a great shooting night but lived in “Melo’s” world

The Knicks shot just 42.9-percent (36-for-84) on Friday against the Kings. They shot slightly better from long range hitting on 10-of-29 (34.5-percent) of their 3-point shots.

New York (13-10) rode the hot hand of Carmelo Anthony in the first half and then relied on efforts of Kristaps Porzingis and their bench in the second half.

  • Melo put 33 points in the book on Friday night. He shot 9-for-22 from field, 3-for-10 from long distance and was an impressive 10-of-12 from the free throw line. Anthony scored 23 points in the first half
  • Porzingis scored 17 after shooting a pitiful 1-for-9 in the first half. He did wind up with a double-double by hauling in 10 rebounds
  • Brandon Jennings did a nice job filling in for Rose on the point scoring 13 points and distributing seven assists
  • Kyle O’Quinn had a nice game off the bench for the Knicks scoring eight points, pulling down 11 rebounds, dishing five assists and blocking two shots in 20-minutes of playing time
Melo fires away versus the Kings photo:

Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek had nothing but praise but praise for Carmelo

“He had a great game. When he’s scoring, he’s getting the ball in a good position from our guys where he can drive it. We put him in some trouble later on in the game, giving him the with like four seconds to go, not a good thing to do. We talked about having to get to the offense a little bit quicker. Late in the game, we kind of walked to our spots. Carmelo, when we go to him, he can pump fake, he can drive, he’s making passes. He’s playing an all-around game, like a star does.”

Up next for the teams

The Kings go right back into action on Saturday night as they play the back end of a back-to-back set on the road in Utah against the Jazz.

The Knicks are off until Sunday when they will play game two of their five-game road trip in Los Angeles versus the Lakers.

Kings waive two and set the opening night roster


by Charlie O. Mallonee

SACRAMENTO–Monday was the deadline for all teams in the NBA to trim their rosters down to 15 players in preparation for the start of the regular season this week. The Kings still had 17 men on the team as the day began so two players had to be released.

Sacramento vice president of basketball operations and general manager Vlade Divac announced Monday afternoon that guards Jordan Farmar and Isaiah Cousins had been waived by the Kings.

Farmar is a nine-year veteran of the NBA who played his college basketball at UCLA. Farmar spent the 2015-16 season playing for Kings head coach Dave Joerger in Memphis. He averaged 6.5 points in four preseason games for Sacramento.

Isaiah Cousins was drafted by the Kings in the second round (59th overall) out of Oklahoma in the 2016 NBA Draft. Cousins appeared in two preseason games playing a total of 12 minutes.

The Kings opening night roster will feature three rookies. Center George Papagiannis, Forward Skal Labissiere and Guard Malachi Richardson were all added to the team via the draft in June. Expect to see the three rookies log some time in Reno playing with Kings D-League team to go along with working out with the big club in Sacramento.

Ty Lawson will be a point guard for the Kings when they open the season in Phoenix on Wednesday night. After a turbulent 2015-16 season, Lawson ran into controversy with the Kings over being late to a workout and missing a flight in Las Vegas after a preseason game in “Sin City”. Lawson met with team officials and was kept on the roster. With Darren Collison lost to suspension for the first eight games of the season, Lawson will probably be the starting point guard versus the Suns in the season opener.

Sacramento native Matt Barnes will be a key member of the Kings as they open the 2016-17 campaign.  The 6-foot-7 forward/guard will be counted on to bring some much needed floor toughness with offensive aggressiveness that will add fire to the Sacramento game. Barnes played for Dave Joerger in Memphis last season so he is already familiar with his system and coaching style.

Three additional NBA journeymen will be new to the Kings roster this season. Guard Arron Afflalo, guard Garrett Temple and forward Anthony Tolliver all bring solid experience to the Kings. It appears that the Kings will really depend on Tolliver to be a spark plug off the bench with the second unit early in the season.

Also back are the usual suspects. Cousins, Gay, Collison, Casspi, Cauley-Stein, Koufos and McLemore are all names that Kings fans know well from previous seasons. There have been rumors flying that Rudy Gay and Darren Collison could be on the move to Miami or Minnesota, but for now, they are just rumors. McLemore has also been mentioned as a possible trade piece.

The Kings open the 2016-17 season on Wednesday night in Phoenix against the Suns. The team returns to Sacramento on Thursday evening to open the home season versus the San Antonio Spurs in the new Golden 1 Center.

The Kings open the Golden 1 Center with win over Maccabi Haifa 135-96


by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings played their first game in the new Golden 1 Center on Monday night hosting the Maccabi Haifa Greens of the Israeli Elite League in a preseason affair. Frankly, the outcome of the game really did not matter to thousands of fans who filed into the arena for game.

The long-suffering Kings fans are so happy to enter a building that is truly a dream come true they can hardly contain themselves. No one thought the Kings were going to have a new arena in Sacramento let alone a building in the downtown that is literally transforming a city center that has been a “ghost town” after 5:00 PM into a thriving night spot.

Beyond the pure excitement of the watching basketball in the new facility that insures the Kings will be in Sacramento for the next 30 years, there was a preseason basketball game played on Monday night. The game was very important to the coaching staff and the players. Especially to the young players and the players who are out on the edge fighting for a roster spot when the regular season begins on October 26th.

If you are a college basketball fan, this game was like an early season match up between a Division I team and Division II school to kick off the season. The Division I school wants some decent competition but it also wants to be able to test players deep on the bench. The Division II school is looking to play up to challenge themselves in order to make themselves better for the upcoming season.

The Kings wanted to look at some players that will not be able to get floor time once the regular season begins except when there is a blowout win or loss. Coach Joerger wants these players ready in case they are needed because of injury to players higher in the rotation or if new blood is needed to give the team a shot in the arm.

Maccabi Haifa begins their regular season next week in Israel. The Greens were looking to up their game as they get ready for their opponents in the Elite League.

Both teams accomplished their goals. The Kings crushed the Greens 135 – 96. Sacramento was expected to dominate the game. Maccabi Haifa is a professional team staffed with talented players. They just are not NBA level talent. Anything less than a dominate win would have been perceived as a loss for the Kings.

Kings head coach Dave Joerger said in his pregame press conference that he wanted his team to “play hard, play together and not get hurt.” That is exactly what they did against their opponents on Monday night.

Ben McLemore was the Kings leading scorer with 18 points in 24 minutes on the floor. Anthony Tolliver scored 14 in 16 minutes. Cousins put up 14 points in 17 minutes. Ty Lawson scored 14, Rudy Gay 11, Darren Collison 11 and Kosta Koufos nine in limited minutes of playing time.

Two of the Kings rookies saw significant playing time in the second half. Forward Skal Labissiere played 17 minutes and scored 10 points.He also had two rebounds, two steals and two blocks. Guard Malachi Richardson put up nine points in 12 minutes of playing time. He grabbed three rebounds and had two assists.

Only two Kings players did not play on Monday night. Matt Barnes and Isaiah Cousins did not see any action.

After the game, Coach Joerger was happy with the way his team played and responded to their coaches. He also indicated that the entire team was excited to be in Sacramento and to have a chance to play in their new building.

The Kings will now get ready to go out on the road. They will play the Lakers on Thursday night in Las Vegas and then have a “home game” in Rupp Arena on the campus of the University of Kentucky on Saturday night against the Washington Wizards.

Kings continue to add players including Matt Barnes


matt barnes grizzliesBy Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings continued to be busy this weekend filling needs for player personnel that were not addressed in the NBA Draft. The moves being engineered by Vlade Divac and the front office appear to be focused on bringing in experienced players that will allow the rookies to be worked into coach Dave Joerger’s system slowly and deliberately.

Looks like you can come home again

One of biggest moves of the weekend may be the signing of a hometown product Matt Barnes to a reported two-year contact with the second year being a player option. Barnes was a prep star at Del Campo High School in Sacramento and played part one season with the Kings. Barnes played in Memphis for Dave Joerger last season.

Barnes averaged 10.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 28.8 minutes per game for the Grizzlies last year. He is known as being a tough, hardnosed, no nonsense type of player who can be volatile on the floor. Barnes will immediately take some of the pressure off of DeMarcus Cousins because he will be happy to take on the role of enforcer, defender and tough guy on the court.

Barnes is a 13 year NBA veteran who 36 years old.

Kings add some flexibility to the roster


Multiple reports have the Kings signing former Washington Wizards guard Garrett Temple to a reported three-year, $24-million contract. This will actually be Temple’s second stint with the Kings. He was with the Kings for five games in 2009-10 season.

Temple has spent the last four seasons in Washington. He has played mostly small forward for the Wizards, but Temple can play also play at shooting guard and point guard. That versatility will make Temple a very valuable option in the upcoming season. Look for him to be used at point guard at least until Darren Collison returns.

The 6-foot-6 Temple averaged 7.3 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 24.4 minutes of playing time. He made 43 starts for Washington last year.

Temple has six years of NBA experience. He entered the league undrafted after playing his college ball at LSU.

More help on the front line


The Kings have reportedly signed 6-foot-8, 240-pound power/small forward Anthony Tolliver to a two-year contract worth $16 million with $2 million guaranteed for the second season. The reports have second year of the contract being a team option.

This is not a sexy starting five signing. Tolliver is a solid second unit player who can play the three or the four spots and will give you 15-20 minutes per night off the bench.

Tolliver played for the Pistons last year averaging 5.3 points and 3.2 rebounds in 18.6 minutes per game. Tolliver attempts an average of 4.6 field goals per game and 3.8 of those attempts will be from 3-point land.

Tolliver has eight years of experience in the association. He has been well traveled as he has played for eight different teams.

Curry to be an unrestricted free agent

Reports have the Kings rescinding their qualifying offer to restricted free agent guard Seth Curry. With the depth at guard the Kings have added over the weekend the need for Curry has diminished.

Reports also have Curry’s agent asking the Kings to rescind the offer to speed the process up for his client to find a new team. With the qualifying offer in place, the Kings would have had the opportunity to match the offer delaying the process.

So long Rondo

According to reports, Rajon Rondo has signed a 2-year, $28-million contract with the Chicago Bulls. If the reports are true, the Kings had cooled on trying to re-sign Rondo.