#1 The Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant and the Toronto Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard are going free agency to see if they can get the maximum for their buck.
#2 Some of the teams that most likely will show interest in Durant and Leonard are the LA Clippers, Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks. It’s very likely everyone should learn either by Sunday night or Monday morning where they’ll be going.
#3 The Houston Rockets are shopping center Clint Capela, guard Eric Gordon, and forward PJ Tucker in their bid to get Philadelphia 76ers star Jimmy Butler. The Rockets are to trying to solidify themselves after failing to make the NBA Finals in the last two seasons.
#4 In the game of baseball, fans come many sit as close to the action as they can. After some serious injuries to fans last season, the MLB thought they got it covered with all the netting they possibly muster up to protect the fans. Last Sunday, a young girl was hit in the eye with a bullet hit by the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger, and on May 29th, a two-year-old girl was hit by a foul ball hit by the Chicago Cubs’ Albert Almora Jr. that fractured her skull at Houston’s Minute Maid Park leaving her with injuries that she will have to battle with for years to come. The Dodgers, Nationals, and White Sox have said during the All-Star Break, they’ll be netting their entire stadiums from foul pole to foul pole.
#5 The San Francisco Giants’ lineup has been noted for having the worst offense in baseball and possibly the worst in their franchise history. The Giants do not have a batter hitting over .300 in their lineup and have lost nine of their last 12 games.
The road to the NBA Playoffs just became a long, uphill battle for the Sacramento Kings after they lost to the Philadelphia 76ers 123-114 on Friday night to wrap up a four-game road trip. The Kings will return home having won just one of those four games. At a bare minimum, Sacramento needed to go 2-2 on the trip.
Sacramento is now two games under .500 with a record of 33-35. The team is 3-7 over their last 10 and has lost three consecutive games. The Kings are mired in ninth-place in the Western Conference 6.0 games behind the LA Clippers and Utah Jazz who are tied for seventh-place. With just 14 games remaining in the season, time is running out for the Kings unless they can go on an incredible multiple game winning streak.
The Kings played better basketball on Friday than they did on Thursday night in Boston. They improved their performances from the free throw line and from behind the 3-point line. Sacramento took care of the ball turning it over just nine times.
It is not often that a team improves its play in the second game of a back-to-back set on the road.
Why did the Kings lose?
They played a better team. The Philadelphia 76ers are a talented team that should go deep into the Eastern Conference Playoffs. All five of the Sixers starters scored in double figures with Ben Simmons being the low scorer with 18 points.
The Sixers shot 50.5-percent from the field. It is very difficult to win when your opponent shoots over 50-percent for the contest.
Philadelphia won the battle at the free throw line converting 24-of-27 (88.9%) opportunities. It does need to be noted that the Kings dramatically improved their free throw shooting performance over Thursday night by sinking 19-of-24 (79.2%) of their chances from the charity stripe.
Kings top performers
Marvin Bagley III was not the Kings leading scorer, but he did score 15 points in just over 20 minutes of playing time. His playing time is being limited after missing five games from suffering a knee sprain. Dave Joerger said after the game that he hated to take him out, but he knows there is no reason to risk rushing MB35 back into longer minutes.
Harrison Barnes continues to show why the Kings would like him to exercise his player option on his 2019-20 contract or request to talk to management about long-term options. Barnes recorded 16 points, six rebounds and three assists versus the Sixers.
Harry Giles III put up 12 points in just over 18 minutes on the floor. H20 shot 6-for-9 from the field and pulled down four rebounds. He also dished out four assists.
Other contributors: De’Aaron Fox 16 points, Buddy Hield 14, Willie Cauley-Stein 13 points and seven rebounds.
Jimmy Butler was the leading scorer in the game with 22 points. He also added seven assists and six rebounds.
Joel Embiid put a double-double in the book scoring 21 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. He is just a force on the defensive glass.
Tobias Harris continues to show why the Sixers made a trade to get him as he scored 19, made seven rebounds and distributed four assists.
JJ Redick put 19 up on the board. Redick went 4-for-9 from downtown.
The Kings traveled back to Sacramento after the game and will have Saturday off. Sacramento returns to action on Sunday at 3:00 PM when they will host the Chicago Bulls at the Golden 1 Center.
The Sixers head out on the road and will have to face the “Greek Freak” and company in Milwaukee on Sunday afternoon.
Style points are usually reserved for events in the Olympics. Well, the Winter Olympics are in full swing and the Kings are in full “player development mode”, so we have to judge them on more than just wins and losses.
For their efforts in Minnesota on Sunday night, the young Kings get a 10 for effort, a 10 for hustle and eight for style. Sacramento lost the game to the T-Wolves 111-106, but they did what no one really expected them to do in this first game of a three-game road trip. The Kings made it a very competitive game.
The Kings did two major things right on Sunday night:
They came out of the gate an played hard from the opening jump ball. De’Aaron Fox led the way scoring 14 points in first period as the Kings outscored the Timberwolves 29-23 in the first quarter. Sacramento also played some tough defense as they gave up only 23 points.
The second thing the Kings did well on Sunday night is they avoided the dreaded third quarter letdown. Sacramento has established a habit of playing very ineffective basketball in the third stanza and then having to try to come back in dramatic fashion in the fourth quarter to make up for bad third quarters. The Kings won the third quarter on Sunday night 26-19
The Timberwolves superior firepower took its toll in the fourth quarter as they outscored the Kings 36-26 to win the game 111-106. The game was competitive right up until the final seven-seconds of the contest.
The victory was the Timberwolves 13th consecutive win on their homecourt. That is truly an incredible run.
Rookie De’Aaron Fox played an outstanding game in his almost 35-minutes on the floor. Beyond his 14 points in the first quarter, Fox finished the game with a team-high 23 points. He shot 8-for-16 from the floor and went 6-for-8 from the free throw line. Fox added three steals and two assists to his stats for the game.
Buddy Hield had another productive game coming off the bench. Hield played just under 19-minutes but manged to post 16 points in that time on the floor. Hield shot 6-for-13 including going 2-for-5 from 3-point land. Buddy also recorded four rebounds, two steals, one assist and one blocked shot.
Rookie (well NBA rookie) Bogdan Bogdanovic put 13 points in the book in 30-plus minutes on the floor. He shot 5-for-12 from the field and hit 2-of-5 from behind the 3-point arc. Bogie also dished out eight assists in the game.
To no one’s surprise, the big KAT was the man for Minnesota on Sunday night. Karl-Anthony Towns scored a game-high 29 points shooting 10-for-17 from the floor. Towns went a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line. He grabbed eight rebounds, dished out six assists and blocked three shots in the game.
Veteran Jimmy Butler added 18 points hitting 5-of-9 shots from the floor. Butler went to the free throw line nine times and converted seven of those opportunities. Butler also added three assists.
Andrew Wiggins was another key part of the T-Wolves win on Sunday. He scored 16 points, grabbed eight rebounds and distributed three assists. Wiggins hit 7-of-13 of his shots in the game.
The Kings shot 47.7-percent (42-for-88) for the game and hit 10-of-25 (40-percent) from 3-point range.
Sacramento hit 12-of-17 from the charity stripe. The team needs to go to the free throw line at least 20 times per game, but hitting 70.6-percent of their opportunities is acceptable.
The Kings pulled down 43 rebounds – 15 of those rebounds were offensive grabs. Those 15 offensive rebounds turned into 22 points for SAC.
Sacramento committed 19 turnovers that became 22 Minnesota points. The Kings totaled only 17 assists which gave them a negative assists to turnover ratio.
The T-Wolves shot 50-percent (37-for-74) from the floor for the game on Sunday night. They hit 9-of-24 chances from long-range.
Minnesota went to the free throw line 32 times. They sank 28 of those free throw shots (87.5-percent).
The Timberwolves dished out 29 assists while committing 17 turnovers which is close to the 2-to-1 desired ratio goal.
The T-Wolves biggest lead in the game was five points while the Kings largest lead was 10 points. There were 10 lead changes and the game was tied 15 times.
Sacramento will play the second game of their three-game road trip on Tuesday night in Dallas versus the Mavericks.
Minnesota will stay at home and host the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night.
The NBA Champion Golden State Warriors entered the 2017 NBA Draft in the same condition they did in 2016. The Warriors had no selection available to them in either round.
So, the Dubs were merely spectators on Thursday night. But wait, there’s more.
Just as they had in 2016 the Warriors reached into their bank, grabbed some cash and declared they wanted to be players in this year’s draft.
GSW found a trading partner in the Bulls
The Chicago Bulls had experienced a disaster on Thursday night that included trading Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves for what most experts believe was way under value. If the rumors are to be believed, Chicago had a much better offer from Boston before the start of the draft.
For some reason, the Bulls did not think they needed the number 38 pick (8th selection in the 2nd round), so they accepted $3.5-million from the Warriors in exchange for the pick. The $3.5-million figure is the maximum amount of money a team can accept for a second-round selection.
The Warriors found their man in Oregon
The Warriors selected 6-foot-9, Junior power forward/center Jordan Bell out the University of Oregon. Bell was definitely a value pick as a number of draft experts had predicted he would be selected late in the first round.
Bell is a defensive player first. He has a nose for the ball and is a strong rebounder. He is also a known as having good instincts as a shot blocker. Bell has the ability to protect the paint and is willing cover any assignment given to him on defense.
Bell is seen a strong player but if he going defend on the front line in “the association” he will need to add some weight.
As with many shot blockers, Bell has tendency to go for the block and end up out of position for the rebound. He will need work on that at the next level.
Bell runs the floor well and finishes strong at the rim. He is a real threat to score near the basket. Bell also has the ability to score on offensive rebounds. He also moves well without the ball and sets a good screen.
Bell has worked hard and improved as a free throw shooter. He went from a 50-percent FT shooter to shooting 70.5-percent from the line in his junior season.
Bell averaged 10.9 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.2 blocks in 28.7 minutes per game in the 2016-17 season.
Bell will need to work on becoming a scoring threat outside the paint.
Is Bell the next McCaw
The Warriors are hoping that Bell will be this year’s version of Patrick McCaw whom they obtained the same way last season. With the expanded rosters, Bell will be able to spend time at Santa Cruz and in Oakland as he develops his talents.
The 2017 NBA Draft is history and now it is time to evaluate how well each team did in the draft. The Kings turned three picks into four selections by trading the 10th pick to Portland in exchange for the number 15 and 20 selections. Was that a good move by the Kings?
NBA Draft expert Ben Stram of FANRAG Sports breaks down the Kings selections and gives the team an overall grade for their choices.
Did he like the selection of De’Aaron Fox at number five?
What did Ben think of trading away Zach Collins for the 15th and 20th picks?
Is Harry Giles worth the risk of dealing with his injury riddled past?
Will Justin Jackson be an impact player?
How will Frank Mason III fit into the Kings youth movement?
We also asked Ben who lives in the Chicago area about the impact of the Jimmy Butler trade to the T-Wolves?
Ben also gives a grade to the 2017 NBA Draft as a whole.
If you are a Kings fan, this will be 18-minutes and 30-seconds well spent. Enjoy.
The Sacramento Kings and Chicago Bulls came into the game in Chicago on Saturday night looking to end losing streaks. The Kings had lost four games in a row and the Bulls had lost two consecutive games. Both teams had been beaten soundly on Friday night.
The Kings and Bulls played hard and gave their full 48-minute efforts in a game that ended with a controversial call – if you are a Sacramento fan. When the final buzzer sounded, the Bulls (22-23) had won the game 102-99 and ended their losing streak. The Kings (16-27) went to their locker room frustrated and the owners of a five-game losing streak – their longest of the season.
You call that a foul?
With 15-seconds on the clock and the game tied at 99-99, Dwyane Wade was able to steal the ball from the Kings Garrett Temple and start a fast break for the basket. Wade went up for an uncontested dunk and hit the back of the iron. DeMarcus Cousins was trailing Wade and may (emphasis on may) have brushed Wade on his way down after missing the dunk. The officials blew the whistle and called a foul on Cousins. Basically, the referees could not believe that superstar guard would miss the breakaway slam unless he was fouled.
Multiple video replays showed that there was no foul on the play but the play was not eligible for video review. The call stood. Wade made 1-of-2 free throws and the Bulls took a 100-99 lead.
The final 14-seconds
The Kings began working a play following a timeout when Taj Gibson was able to reach in and steal the ball from Cousins. The Bulls were able to score when Michael Carter-Williams put the ball through the hoop on an Alley Oop layup with an assist from Wade that gave the Bulls a 102-99 lead.
Garrett Temple brought the ball into the frontcourt quickly for the Kings and put up a 41-foot desperation shot that banged off the rim as the buzzer sounded. The game ended with the Bulls winning 102-99.
DeMarcus Cousins was a one-man wrecking crew
Cousins scored a game-high 42 points and pulled down 14 rebounds to record his 23rd double-double game of the season. Cousins scored those 42 points on just 28 shots. He converted 8-of-9 free throws and hit 2-of-7 shots from 3-point range. He sank those 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions late in the fourth quarter to keep his team in the game. Cousins had three assists and two blocked shots while committing only two turnovers in the contest. The Kings big man was their only player to score in double figures in the game.
To no one’s surprise it was the Wade and Butler show for the Bulls
Dwyane Wade led the Bulls scoring attack with 30 points. Wade did not have a great night shooting as he went 9-for-20 from the field. He did go an impressive 12-for-15 from the free throw line. Wade also added four assists, four blocked shots and three steals in the game. The superstar guard sent out a tweet to Bulls fans apologizing for their poor play in Atlanta on Friday night. Wade has nothing to apologize for after the way he played against the Kings on Saturday night.
Jimmy Butler scored 23 points and dished out seven assists against the Kings. He spent most of the game acting as the playmaker. Butler shot 6-for-14 from the floor and was a perfect 10-for-10 from free throw line. Butler and Wade went a combined 22-for-25 from the charity stripe.
Coach Joerger’s postgame analysis
Really proud of our guys
Thought we played our tails off for 48-minutes
(team) made major progress
(We have to) keep working hard; we’re going to figure it out; work it out
DeMarcus had a heck of a game
(In this game) Too much Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler
On the foul call on Cousins as Wade missed the dunk: Live ball – three on one
Kings needed another double figured scorer
If one other Kings player had scored in double figures, the final outcome might have been different. Nine other players participated in the game besides Cousins but none scored in double figures. Afflalo posted nine points and Collison, Temple and Lawson each scored eight points. With Rudy Gay sidelined for the rest of the season, one of the Sacramento players has to step up and become a double-figure scorer. More 3-point production could help that situation.
Rajon Rondo’s time in the Windy City may be coming to a close. Rondo played just six-minutes against the Kings on Saturday distributing four assists and scoring no points. The point guard who was so productive in Sacramento is finding it rough sledding in Chicago. Do not be surprised if Rondo is wearing a different uniform by the trade deadline in February because his time with the Bulls seems to be over.
Up next on the schedule
The Kings travel to Detroit where they will play the Pistons on Monday night. The Kings last win came over Detroit in Sacramento. The Kings will be looking to pick up their first win on the eight-game road trip versus the Pistons.
The Bulls will return to action on Tuesday in Orlando against the Magic.