Kings surprise Grizzlies with a 94-93 win at the buzzer on the road in Memphis

Kings vs MEM final

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Just 6.4-seconds remained on the clock in the fourth quarter in Memphis when the Kings called timeout. Dillon Brooks had just buried a 25-foot 3-point jump shot to give the Memphis Grizzlies a 93-92 lead. The Kings were in need of a quick miracle if they were going to leave the home of Graceland with a victory.

Sacramento inbounded the ball and it ended up in the hands of Bogdan Bogdanovic – who had suffered a horrible shooting night – with 1.5-seconds to go in the game. “Bogie” drove on the bucket and pulled up from 16-feet out to sink a two-point basket that gave the Kings a 94-93 advantage. Memphis called an immediate timeout.

With 1.1-seconds to go in the game, the Grizzlies attempted to inbound the ball at midcourt but – yes, you guessed it – Bogdanovic was there to make the steal and the Kings would win the game 94-93.

The King’s record improved to 26-54 on the year while the Grizzlies dropped to 21-58 for the season.

It really wasn’t a very exciting game

Bogi vs Mem
Bogdanovic – Kings star of the game Photo: @SacramentoKings

As exciting as the ending was, the rest of the game was not that thrilling. In fact, the game was really very boring much of the time. The Kings did not hit a 3-pointer (0-for-6) in the first half. They went just 2-for-6 from the free throw line.

The Grizzlies most notable starter was Ben McLemore to go with the Brooks brothers (no not the suit guys) and two other players you have probably never heard of or have seen in an NBA box score before.

Memphis is in full “tankathon” mode. They currently have the second-worst record in the NBA and could be in contention for the number one draft pick if the ping pong balls would fall the right way. The Grizzlies have lost four games in a row and are 2-8 in their last 10 games. Still, they appeared to want to beat their old coach Dave Joerger on Friday night on their home court.

The Kings certainly started slow and really should be in “tankathon” mode. Sacramento has no first-round draft pick in 2019, so their 2018 selection has to a great one – a home run if you will. Their only goal should be to move up in the lottery standings, but on Friday night winning for their coach versus his former team seemed to take over other goals. But until the fourth quarter, it was really a boring contest.

Coach Joerger looked happy after the game

Dave Joerger did have a look of satisfaction on his face after his team delivered a win to him in Memphis on Friday night. Joerger was the Grizzlies head coach for four seasons and the win appeared to be a bit of sweet revenge for the Kings head coach who would no doubt deny its importance.

The win also had to please Zach Randolph – who was given the night off – and Vince Carter who both played for Memphis before joining the Kings.

Top Performances

Kings starting 5 Mem

Kings

  • Willie Cauley-Stein was the Kings leading scorer with 18 points in the game. He also grabbed eight rebounds, made three assists, made two steals and blocked two shots.
  • Buddy Hield scored 14 points coming off the bench to go with a team-high six assists and five rebounds.
  • Justin Jackson had another solid game scoring 13 points in almost 30-minutes on the floor. Jackson shot 5-for-10 overall and 3-for-6 from behind the 3-point line. His 3-pointer with 17.2-seconds to go in the game gave the Kings the lead and the momentum to keep them in the game.
  • De’Aaron Fox put 13 points in the book shooting 5-for-13 from the field. He also hauled in six rebounds and dished out four assists.
  • Two-way player JaKarr Sampson also had a very nice night as a starter posting 11 points and pulling down six rebounds in just over 24-minutes of playing time.

Grizzlies

  • It was a huge night for the “Brooks Brothers” in Memphis on Friday. MarShon scored a game-high 23 points to go along with eight rebounds. Dillon put up 16 points and distributed six assists in the Grizzlies losing effort.
  • Ivan Rabb recorded a double-double by scoring 12 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
  • Kobi Simmons and Omari Johnson scored 11 points each in the game.

Up Next

Sacramento

The Kings play their final road game of the season on Monday night in San Antonio.

Memphis

The Grizzlies host the Pistons in their home finale on Sunday.

 

 

Kings find schedule unrelenting, drop home game to the reeling Pistons

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Photo by Marco Estrada/USA Today Sports

By Morris Phillips

SACRAMENTO–Saturday, the Kings drew praise from the NBA’s hottest team in a narrow loss at Salt Lake City.

Back in Sacramento Monday, the Kings let the struggling Pistons capture just their second road win of 2018, losing 106-90 at Golden 1 Center.

And the moral of that story? The NBA schedule is unrelenting, and a sixth game in nine days will blunt the progress of any youthful squad otherwise in the process of a significant growth spurt.

The Pistons got back-to-back baskets from Blake Griffin to break a 57-57 tie midway through the third quarter and never trailed again, breaking their 12-game road, losing streak. Griffin led the way for Detroit with 26 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.

The Pistons hadn’t won on the road since beating the Nets in Brooklyn on January 10.

“This time of year, you’ll take it any way you can get it, but you get one on the road after being on the road for eight nights already — it’s always great,” Griffin said. “We took care of business and we have to go and do it again.”

The Kings failed to win for the fourth time in their last five home games in large part due to their deficiencies beyond the arc and at the free throw line. The Kings missed 17 of their 23 three-point attempts and made just four free throws (in nine attempts) in the game. The Pistons, with Griffin and Andre Drummond leading the way,  held a slight edge on the glass (44-39) along with significant advantages in made threes (14) and free throws (18 for 22).

The unrelenting schedule affected the Kings down the stretch on Saturday night against Utah when the Jazz pulled away for a 103-97 win, their 20th in their last 22 games. Afterwards, the Jazz complimented the Kings for their offensive tenacity and their ability to fashion several runs when Utah threatened to pull away. Against the Pistons, the Kings missed injured facilitator Bogdan Bogdanovich, and failed to capture any offensive flow.

“We talked about it this morning that it had a high probability of being a letdown game but it was a tough game for us,” Kings coach Dave Joerger said. “It’s that type of game we (have to) let roll off of us.”

Surprisingly, the Kings’ veterans put up far inferior numbers than their youthful teammates. The trio of Zach Randoloh, Garrett Temple and Kosta Koufos combined to miss 18 of 21 shots. Sacramento’s two rookie starters, Justin Jackson and De’Andre Fox, combined to make 15 of their 20 shots from the floor.

The Kings take a much-needed two days off before facing the Hawks on Thursday at Golden 1 Center.

 

 

 

Kings play short-handed – including no head coach – lose to Spurs 113-98

SASscoreby Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings went into the game in San Antonio with only nine players dressed for the game. Willie Cauley-Stein (right knee bone contusion), Skal Labissiere (shoulder strain), Frank Mason (partial tear plantar fascia), Malachi Richardson (ankle sprain), Garrett Temple (ankle sprain) and Georgios Papagiannis (unavailable due to coach’s decision) made for a very short bench. JaKarr Sampson was brought up from the Reno Bighorns for roster help.

If having only nine players did not make things tough enough, the Kings lost their coach two minutes into the game. Dave Joerger jumped up to protest the lack of a call from the officials and his knees buckled. Assistant coach Elston Turner reached out to help Joerger and to keep him from falling to the floor. At the encouragement of the Kings’ medical staff, Joerger walked under his own power to the visitor’s locker room.

The decision was made to for Joerger to sit the rest of the game out and let assistant coach Elston Turner coach the team. Reports later in the game confirmed that there was nothing seriously wrong with Joerger.

And now on to the game

The Kings fall behind by nine points early in the first quarter and it looked it might be a very long night for Sacramento fans. The Kings were down by seven as the second period began.

The Spurs increased their lead to 10 points early in the second quarter but then the Kings began chipping away at San Antonio’s advantage. By the time the second 12 minute period was over the Kings held a one point edge, 50-49.

The third quarter would prove to the Kings downfall as it has so many times this season. The Spurs outscored Sacramento 30-19 in the third period and they ended the quarter on an 8-0 run that would carry over into the final period.

San Antonio continued their run until it became a 12-0 run on the Kings which made it look like the game was over but someone forgot to tell De’Aaron Fox and George Hill. The two Kings guards continued to make incredible shots that kept the game reasonably close but in the end it was not enough.

The Spurs won the game 113-98 but the Kings could hold their heads high because they played hard under adverse circumstances.

Top Performers

Spurs

GeoManu

  • Second-year shooting guard Bryn Forbes was the Star of the Game for the Spurs on Sunday night. He came off the bench to lead San Antonio in scoring with 23 points shooting 9-for-15 overall from the field and hitting 5-of-8 from 3-point range. Forbes had a +16 rating during his 27-plus minutes of playing time.
  • Manu Ginobili came off the bench in first game back after being off for injury to post 15 points in 25-plus minutes on the floor. He put in 6-of-13 field goal attempts. He also grabbed four rebounds and dished out three assists.
  • Best supporting player award goes to Patty Mills who just kills this reporter every time. Late in the game as the Kings were trying to mount a comeback, Mills sank back-to-back 3-point buckets that killed that potential comeback. Mills finished with 11 points hitting 4-of-6 field goals with three of those baskets being 3-point field goals.

Kings

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  • Star of the Game goes to De’Aaron Fox who recorded a game-high and career-high 26 points in the contest. “Swipa” hit a perfect 6-for-6 from 3-point land. He was as Dan Patrick would say – “en fuego!”. For a player who would never be able to shoot the 3-ball in the NBA according to scouting experts, Fox sure seems to have figured out how to hit from long-range.
  • George Hill may be on his way out of Sacramento but do not accuse him of laying down on his team. He came off the bench to score 19 points shooting 6-for-11 overall and hitting 3-of-6 from downtown. He also dished out four assists. Talk about making yourself more valuable in a trade situation. Hill gets a Co-Star of the Game credit.
  •  Special Guest Star credit goes to Vince Carter. The future Hall of Famer recorded 21 points coming off the bench converting 5-of-7 3-point opportunities. Carter also grabbed six rebounds in his almost 27-minutes on the floor. The 41-year old had +5 rating for his playing-time on the versus the Spurs.

Key Stats

San Antonio (33-19)

  • The Spurs shot 50-percent from the floor hitting 45-of-90 field goal attempts in the game.
  • San Antonio out-rebounded the Kings 52-34. The Spurs had 13 offensive rebounds to SAC’s six offensive rebounds. The Spurs outscored the Kings 16-9 in second-chance points.
  • The Spurs had an incredible 33 to 7 assists to turnover ratio. The seven San Antonio turnovers became 13 Kings points.

Sacramento (15-34)

  • The Kings shot an unbelievable 52.9-percent from 3-point land hitting 18-of-34 attempts. Fox hit 6-of-6 while Carter went 5-for-7 from behind the line.
  • Sacramento turned the ball over just nine times which became just nine Spurs points in the game.
  • The Kings shot 90.9-percent from the free throw line. They only went to the line 11 times but they converted 10 shots.

Up Next

Sacramento

The Kings wrap up this long six-game road trip on Tuesday night in New Orleans. Of course, the drama is gone because of the devastating season ending injury to DeMarcus Cousins.

San Antonio

The Spurs will stay at home and host Denver on Tuesday night.

Kings lose seventh consecutive game as Grizzlies win 106-88 on Friday night

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By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings kicked off their longest road trip of the season on Friday night in Memphis versus the Grizzlies. It was big night for head coach Dave Joerger, Zach Randolph and Vince Carter as they were returning to the city where they enjoyed great success as members of the Grizzlies basketball organization.

Unfortunately for the Kings, they were not able to make it a great night for Joerger, Z-Bo and Vince by handing the Grizzlies a loss and making the local fans realize what they are missing by not having those three men still involved with their team.

Memphis handed Sacramento their seventh consecutive loss as they beat the Kings 106-88. For the Grizzlies, it was their third win in a row.

The Kings continued their commitment to young player development on Friday night. Sacramento started Justin Jackson, Willie Cauley-Stein, Bogdan Bogdanovic, De’Aaron Fox and because it was his first time back in Memphis–veteran Zach Randolph was in the starting five.

The Kings started slow and trailed the Grizz 30-17 after the first 12 minutes. The men from SAC pulled things together in the second period and outscored the hometown team 23-10 to make it a 40-40 game at the half.

As it has been so many times this season, the third quarter was the Kings undoing in this contest. Memphis took control of the game and won the quarter putting up 27 points to Sacramento’s 19.

The Grizzlies seized upon the lead they established in the third quarter and went on to dominate the final period by outscoring the Kings 39-29. Not only was this Sacramento’s seventh consecutive loss but it starts them out 0-1 on this long, tough road trip.

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Stars of the Game

Memphis

  • Star of the game for the Grizzlies has to go to former Sacramento Kings guard Ben McLemore. McLemore came off the bench to play almost 27 minutes and score 21 points against his old mates. He shot six for 13 from the field–including three 3-point baskets. Ben “Mac” went a perfect six for six from the free throw line. McLemore played like a man who had something to prove to other side.
  • Dillion Brooks gets a co-star billing for being the high scorer in the game with 22 points. Brooks shot eight for 13 from the floor and three for six from behind the 3-point line. He also was a good thief as he grabbed three steals in his 27-plus minutes of playing time.

Sacramento

  • The Kings star of the game is starting point guard De’Aaron Fox who scored a team-high 16 points. Fox hit five of 12 shots from the floor and went a perfect five for five from the free throw line. The rookie point guard also dished out six assists in the contest.
  • The co-star tag goes to veteran Vince Carter. Carter played just over 23 minutes and posted 15 points. The Kings “O.G” went five for nine from the floor and all five of his baskets were 3-point conversions. Tomorrow morning he may not be able to walk, but Friday night he was 21 years old again.

Key Stats

Grizzlies (16-28)

  • Memphis took good care of the basketball. They committed 13 turnovers (16 Kings points) while they posted 24 assists. That put them right at the target of the 2-to-1 ratio that every coach wants to see.
  • The Grizzlies out-rebounded the Kings 49-44
  • Memphis outscored Sacramento on the fast break 19-12

Kings (13-32)

  • Sacramento turned the ball over 21 times (26 Memphis points) and recorded just 18 assists. That is a negative assist to turnover ratio. That will not help you record a win.
  • The Kings shot just 40 percent (32 for 80) for the game. The Grizzlies shot 44.3 percent (39 for 88) from the field. Memphis did not shoot great but it was just enough better than Sacramento to post the win.
  • The Kings gave the opposition an advantage in the third quarter again on Friday night. Sacramento cannot have those third quarter let downs and expect to win games.

Up Next

Kings

Sacramento is off until Monday night when they will play the Hornets in Charlotte. Maybe a couple of good practices will help them be ready to face the Hornets and break the losing streak.

Grizzlies

Memphis has to get right back to business on Saturday as they have to face the Pelicans in New Orleans. The NBA schedule can be a harsh mistress.

The losing streak is over: Kings beat the Nuggets 106-98 Saturday night in SAC

Carter win over Den
Vince Carter savors the moment; Kings down Nuggets 106-98

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Saturday night did not get off to a great start for the Sacramento Kings who were hoping to end a three-game home losing streak. The Kings announced that they would have to play the game without three of their key players. Zach Randolph could not play because of oral surgery. George Hill was unavailable due to personal reasons, and Frank Mason III was unable to dress because of the contusion to his heel that he suffered in Memphis game.

No team wants to face an opponent like the Nuggets – who average 107.7-points per game – short-handed but that is exactly the situation the Kings faced on Saturday night. FiveThirtyEight.com gave Sacramento just a 36-percent chance of winning the game before the loss of the Randolph, Hill and Mason. The situation looked grim indeed for the Kings before tipoff.

Sacramento went with a starting five of Malachi Richardson, Skal Labissiere, Willie Cauley-Stein, Buddy Hield and De’Aaron Fox. Two seasons from now, this starting five could be the norm but not now, they just do not have enough experience to carry their squad to victory on a regular basis. Fortunately for Kings fans, no one told the starting five that they could not be a winning combination.

The Kings would never trail in the game. The contest was tied one time at 27-27 with 46.7-seconds remaining in the first quarter. Sacramento was never able to open a lead of more than 12-points in the game, but they jealously held on to their lead for the entire contest.

The Kings took a 46-41 lead to the locker room at halftime knowing the real test for them was going to come in the third quarter. The Nuggets have become known as a third quarter team. On Friday night, Denver scored 38-points in the third period to put away the Jazz.

The Nuggets did come on strong in the third quarter scoring 30-points while shooting 50-percent (13-for-26) from the floor. The problem for Denver was Sacramento scored 33-points in third period shooting 54.2-percent from the field (13-for-24) that included converting 4-of-5 attempts from behind the 3-point line. Buddy Hield went a perfect 3-for-3 from downtown in the quarter. The Kings took a 79-71 lead over the Nuggets into the final quarter.

The Nuggets were able to cut the Kings lead to three-points midway through the quarter but that is as close as they would come to taking the lead. Denver could have taken the lead if they could have converted free throw opportunities.

At the 6:38 mark, Garrett Temple fouled the Nuggets center – Mason Plumlee. Plumlee missed both free throws. Less than a minute later, Vince Carter fouled Trey Lyles. The sharp-shooting forward stepped to the line and promptly missed both free throw. Lyles would grab the rebound of his second miss and hit a four-foot jumper that cut the Sacramento lead to just three-points. Converting two of those four free throw opportunities could have changed the outcome of the game.

The Kings opened up a lead of 11-points with 11.9-seconds to go in the game. Gary Harris hit a 3-pointer for the final score of the game which cut the Sacramento winning margin to eight-points – 106-98.

Top Performances

Kings Lion logo

  • Star of the Game: this award goes to the entire Kings team. They could have easily phoned this one in with Z-Bo, Hill and Mason on the shelf. Instead, they pulled it together and took advantage of a very talented team who was playing the second game of a back-to-back set on the road after beating the Jazz at home on Friday. The Kings never trailed in the game. That is a real recovery after suffering three consecutive – demoralizing losses at home.

Co-Star: De’Aaron Fox who played just over 35-minutes while scoring a team-high 18-points. Fox also dished out seven assists while using the dribble-drive to go to the hoop or dish it off to a teammate to score. The rookie PG went to the free throw line eight times and converted six of those opportunities.

  • Co-Star: Willie Cauley-Stein came up big for his team on Saturday night as he grabbed a career-high seven-steals. That is aggressive basketball at any level. The big man also posted 17-points to go with four rebounds and two assists. Cauley-Stein shot 8-for-12 in the contest.

  • Co-Star: Skal Labissiere makes it an all-Kentucky co-star lineup for the Kings on Saturday night. Labissiere not only made the start but he scored 12 points, blocked three shots and hauled in four rebounds in just over 15-minutes of playing time. His coach thought his third-quarter play may have been his best of the season.

Skal

Nuggets 5-DNuggets_2nd

  • Star of the Game: Trey Lyles came off the bench to lead his team and score a game-high 19-points. The third-year forward shot 8-for-11 overall including going 2-for-3 from downtown. Lyles also grabbed nine rebounds. When Lyles and Murray are on the floor together, every team in the NBA should be very, very concerned.

5-Lyles

  • Co-Star: Jamal Murray who recorded 18-points while shooting 7-for-16 from the floor. Murray who hit 6-of-7 from 3-point land versus the Jazz on Friday cooled off against the Kings sinking 3-of-8 three-point opportunities. It may have been fatigue, but Murray really allowed his temper to get the best of him late in the game. He has to learn to let the coach do the arguing while he focuses on the game.

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  • Co-Star: Gary Harris really asserted himself in the second-half of the game shooting a perfect 3-for-3 from the floor, 2-for-2 from the charity stripe and dishing out two assists. Harris finished with 17-points for Denver in 36-minutes on the floor.

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Up Next

Kings: Sacramento will not be able to enjoy this victory for long as they must prepare to face the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night at the Golden 1 Center. The Spurs were in Sacramento on December 23, 2017 and defeated the Kings 108-99.

Nuggets: Denver will not be able to rest on Sunday as they have to prepare to face the World Champion Golden State Warriors in Oakland on Monday night.

The latest edition of the Kings Press Row Podcast is now available for all of you hoop fanatics

press row podcast

Vince Carter vs Cavs
Vince Carter became the first 40-year old to score 20 or more points off the bench in NBA history Photo USA Today Sports

Charlie O & Jordan “Chape” Chapin talk all things Kings:

  • Should referees be allowed to call fouls when using video replay to review calls such as who touched the ball last?

  • How have Willie Cauley-Stein and Buddy Hield responded to being placed back into the starting lineup?

  • How much are the Kings missing De’Aaron Fox right now?

  • There has been talk of teams being interested in trading for Zach Randolph – should the Kings try to trade Z-Bo?

  • What about George Hill? Should the Kings try to move him and his salary?

  • Sacramento has lost two consecutive games: to the Spurs last Saturday and the Clippers on Tuesday – what happened?

  • What’s coming up for the Kings?

 

The Raptors sweep the season series with the Kings; winning Sunday in Toronto 108-93

Bogi assists
Bogdanovic dishes an assist versus Raptors Photo: USA Today Sports

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings record dropped to 0-2 on their four-game trip as they lost game two on Sunday to the Toronto Raptors 108-93. With the win on Sunday, the Raptors completed a season sweep of the the two-game series between the two teams. The Kings swept the series in 2016-17 but DeMarcus Cousins was still on the Sacramento roster when that happened.

The Kings did manage to avoid falling behind 13-0 as they had one week ago in Sacramento. The Kings trailed trailed by just five points – 35 to 30 – after the first 12-minutes of play. Garrett Temple was the leading scorer in the opening quarter with 10-points.

The Kings went with an interesting starting five. Vince Carter, Kosta Koufos, Willie Cauley-Stein, Garrett Temple and George Hill took the floor to start the game for Sacramento. Zach Randolph was held out for rest. De’Aaron Fox was unavailable because of a Right Quadriceps Contusion suffered in the Minnesota game. JaKarr Sampson had to be sent to the G-League as a two-way player to fulfill his commitment to the Bighorns.

The Kings really shined in the second quarter as they outscored the Raptors 33-26. Bogdan Bogdanovic led the scoring with 11-points shooting 4-for-5 overall while hitting 3-of-4 from 3-point land. George Hill posted nine-points going a perfect 3-for-3 from behind the 3-point arc.

Sacramento went to the locker room at halftime with a 63-61 lead. That would be that last positive highlight for the Kings in the game. The Raptors would outscore the Kings 22-14 in the third quarter and 25-16 in final period of the game. Too much experienced talent and the low percentage chances of winning on the road had caught up the Kings on Sunday afternoon in Toronto.

Kings star of the game

Bogdan Bogdanovic gets the star of the game for Sacramento. The Kings oldest rookie came off the bench to score 18-points in just over 28-minutes on the floor. He shot 7-for-10 overall and hit 4-of-7 from behind the 3-point line. He also handed out five dimes while grabbing three rebounds.

Kings co-stars

Willie scores
Willie Cauley-Stein scores against Toronto Photo: USA Today Sports
  • Garrett Temple – the talented swing-man also recorded 18-points hitting 6-of-13 shots from the floor including two 3-point baskets. He added two rebounds and two assists.
  • Veteran George Hill put 16-points in the book by sinking 6-of-11 shots. Hill converted 4-of-7 3-point attempts. He also distributed five assists.
  • Willie Cauley-Stein continues to get back into the swing of things as he recorded 12 points and hauled in six rebounds. He also added four assists.

Raptors star of the game

It really comes as no surprise that DeMar DeRozan was the star of the game for the Raptors. DeRozan put up a game-high 21-points as he shot 6-for-17 from the field. He was much more successful from charity stripe where hit 9-of-12 opportunities. DeRozan also handed out five assists and had two blocked shots.

Raptors co-stars

  • Guard Kyle Lowry had a better statistical on Sunday than he did last week against the Kings. He put up 14-points hitting 5-of-11 shots from the floor and 4-of-8 from 3-point land. Lowry added seven assists and five rebounds.
  • OG Anunoby scored 13-points, Norman Powell added 13 off the bench, Fred VanVleet recorded 11 points and Delon Wright came off the bench to add 10-points.

Important team stats

Sacramento

Vince got a start
Carter got the start in Toronto Photo: USA Today Sports
  • Field goal percentage: 46.9-percent (38-for-81)
  • 3-point shooting percentage: 42.3-percent (11-for-26)
  • Free Throws: 6-for-8 (75-percent) not nearly enough attempts
  • 32 rebounds – that’s too low
  • 25 assist and 17 assists ( led to 13 Raptor points)

Toronto

  • Toronto shot 36-for-45 (42.4-percent) from the field
  • They hit 13-of-30 (43.3-percent) from 3-point range
  • The Raptors converted 23-of-28 free throw attempts (this was a major difference in the game)
  • Toronto grabbed 46 rebounds (14 more than the Kings)
  • The Raptors had 20 assists
  • Toronto committed just 12 turnovers that yielded only three points for the Kings

Up next for the Kings

The Kings move on to the “City of Brotherly Love” to take on the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night.

Kings: Big changes in the front office as Scott Perry joins the Knicks as GM

by Charlie O. Mallonee

scott-perry
Scott Perry NYK Gen Mgr. Photo NBA.com

Just as everything appeared to be on the way to stability for the Sacramento Kings — BAM! — big changes have been announced in the front office operations for the team. Executive vice-president for basketball operations Scott Perry has been hired by the New York Knicks to be their new general manager. Reports have Perry receiving a five-year contract.

Perry joined the Kings front office on April 21. The Kings could have told Perry no because he was under contract and told the Knicks to go look elsewhere for a new GM. The fact the team did not block Perry from interviewing for the NYK job says a great deal about the organization’s respect for him as a person and as an executive.

There are some that are questioning the Kings decision to let Perry walk away from the team including two NBA executives that were quoted in the New York Post on Friday:

“It’s a little strange, getting fired in Orlando, then going to Sacramento and they’re willing to let him go so soon after a few months,’’ an NBA executive said.

The SacKings front office was the target of criticism

vlade and peja
Divac and Stojakovic

In 2016, the Kings could not get top lottery picks to come to Sacramento for tryouts and interviews. Agents viewed the organization as being in disarray and it was almost like if they avoided Sacramento their clients would not be drafted by the Kings.

There were also rumors that NBA executives were frustrated because they could not get call through or calls back from Kings executives in the front office. The lack of a traditional front office structure appeared to hurting the Kings ability to get things done operationally.

Sacramento had also been criticized for having the smallest scouting staff in the NBA. Experts felt the Kings needed to see more college talent to be successful in the draft.

Perry received much of the credit for the Kings draft and free agent signing success

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Analyst have given the Kings very positive reviews for the job they did in the 2017 draft. Virtually everyone loves the selection of point guard De’Aaron Fox out of Kentucky with the number five overall pick. Most experts approve of the team taking SF Justin Jackson (North Carolina), PF Harry Giles (Duke) and PG Frank Mason III (Kansas) in the draft with their other picks. Some have said Mason might be one of the “value picks of the draft”.

“One of the top evaluators of talent in the NBA,” said one NBA executive who has worked with Perry. “The evidence is Sacramento’s free agency this year.” New York Post July 14, 2017

Sacramento then went to work signing three veteran free agents to play for a team stacked with young players. George Hill gives the Kings a veteran at point guard while Fox and Mason develop their skills at the NBA level. Zach Randolph and Vince Carter who played for Dave Joerger in Memphis were signed to play and mentor.

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Scott’s leadership was credited as being a major factor in why the Kings were able to pull things together so well in the all-important player acquisition period. The addition of analytics expert Luke Bornn along with the added experience of another year of working together for Vlade Divac and his staff also added to the success of draft and free agent signing period.

Perry is going to be trying to revive a franchise that is in shambles

NYK

One the major problems the New York Knicks have to overcome is their owner. James Dolan who has a history of making questionable decisions when it comes to his NBA team. On draft night in June, he was in Manhattan playing with his blues-rock band while Phil Jackson and his staff made the choices on who the future players for the Knicks would be.

james-dolan-640x427
James Dolan NBA owner or rock star?

Of course just days later, Dolan and Jackson parted ways in a very public break up. If Dolan was planning on replacing Jackson, why did he wait until after the draft? The bottom line is that it is just another in a long line of bad decisions made by Dolan when it comes to his NBA franchise.

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Knick, Cavalier, Rocket?

The other major problem that Perry faces in his first days with the Knicks is what to do with Carmelo. Anthony has been making noises about being willing to accept a trade to another team like Houston or Cleveland. His salary and what the Knicks will want in return pose a real problem for the team to actually move Carmelo out and really begin a true rebuilding process.

Perry will work for the Knicks former general manager Steve Mills who will now be the team’s president.

Kings get cash and a future second-round draft pick but what about “Hamilton” tickets?

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The Kings will receive an undisclosed amount of cash and a future second-round draft pick as compensation for releasing Perry to sign with the Knicks. Cash? Overrated. Second-drafts picks can be helpful in closing trades.

But Vivek and Vlade, what everyone wants is tickets to “Hamilton” on Broadway. Think about the promotion your marketing team could have put together with a block of “Hamilton” tickets for the week the Kings play the Knicks and Nets in New York. Broadway and Basketball: it would have been a spectacular promotion.

If you do anymore deals with the Knicks or Nets, they must include tickets to “Hamilton”.

Kings: Vinsanity comes to Sacramento

By Charlie O. Mallonee

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Zach Randolph and Vince Carter are teammates again in Sacramento

The Sacramento Kings knew their young roster needed some veteran experience to help guide them through the upcoming NBA season and to give them a chance to be competitive in the west. First, it was the signings of point guard George Hill and power forward Zach Randolph that brought maturity to the team.

Now according to ESPN reports, veteran small forward/shooting guard Vince Carter’s agents are announcing their client has signed a one-year contract with the Kings worth a reported $8-million. The 40-year old Carter will be entering his 20th season in the NBA in 2017-18.

Carter entered “the association” in 1998 when was drafted in the first round (fifth overall) out of the University of North Carolina by the Golden State Warriors. He then was traded plus cash to the Toronto Raptors in a Draft Night trade that saw the Warriors receive the number four overall pick Antwan Jamison in return.

This is another part of getting the band back together for Joerger 

Every coach desires to have the key people from his previous team join him in a new situation, but that is not always feasible. When Dave Joerger found out he would not be returning to the Memphis Grizzlies as head coach, he barely had time to go find a new job and bring assistant coaches with him to Sacramento let alone try to transfer player personnel.

Dave Joerger now has two key veterans from his days in Memphis on his roster in Sacramento with the addition of Carter. Carter joins Zach Randolph who is expected to his special “Z-BO” brand of toughness to the front line of the young Kings team.

Joerger knows how to develop young talent. He earned his way to an NBA head coaching job by spending years coaching young players in the CBA, D-League and then as an assistant in “the association”. Joerger really likes to have inexperienced players learn by observation as well as by instruction. He has some strong talent for them to watch in Carter, Randolph and Hill.

Carter was a key figure for Memphis in ’16-’17

Carter played in 73 games last season – his most appearances since 2013. He averaged 8.0-points per game to go with 3.1-rebounds per game in 24.6-minutes per game. The Grizzlies used him at small forward the majority of the time.

Carter shot 39.4-percent overall in 2016-17. He shot 41.8-percent from 2-point range and 37.8-percent from beyond the 3-point line. His eFG% was 50.8-percent. Carter added an average of 1.2-assists, 0.8-steals and 0.5-blocks per game. He turned the ball over less than once per game (0.7).

Carter is a “long distance” shooter. Of his 490 field goal attempts last season, 303 of them came from a distance of at least 20-feet away from the basket. 175 of those attempts came from 25-29 feet away from the bucket. Carter will help the Kings spread the floor.

They are going to miss “Z-BO” in Memphis

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No other Memphis player will ever wear No. 50

The Memphis Grizzlies have announced they are planning to retire the number 50 jersey worn by Zach Randolph who has just become a member of the Sacramento Kings as a free agent. Randolph was in Memphis for eight seasons.

In a tweet, Grizzlies majority owner Robert Para said that number 50 “will never be worn by another member of the Memphis Grizzlies.” He also thanked Randolph for helping turn a lottery team into a playoff contender and helping to make the team a model of community service.

Randolph will be the first Memphis player to have his number retired in team history.

Kings add to the coaching staff

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Phil Ricci is now an assistant coach for the Kings

Phil Ricci has been hired to be an assistant player development coach for the Sacramento Kings working on head coach Dave Joerger’s staff.

Ricci has a resume that includes almost twenty years of coaching and playing time at the professional and collegiate levels. He played in the NBA Development League (now the G-League) and overseas.

This is a homecoming for Ricci who attended high school in Galt and played basketball at Delta Community College (Stockton) prior to going to Oregon State.

 

 

Nik Stauskas meets the press in Sacramento

Image                                             Photo credit: Sports Radio Service

By Charlie O. Mallonee

Nik Stauskas the newest member of the Sacramento Kings met the press on Saturday morning at the Kings’ practice facility. Stauskas was the eighth pick overall in the NBA Draft and was a surprise selection to many of the draft experts who have expressed displeasure with the Kings’ choice.

Stauskas said being drafted started to sink in while traveling to Sacramento. “I think yesterday having a lot of travel I had some time to sit on the plane … I got to take a couple of minutes to sit back and reflect on everything  I’ve been through and the fact that I’m here now. I am extremely happy and excited to get to work.”

Stauskas wanted to make sure the fans in Sacramento know that he is here to improve and play hard. “I want to let people know here that I’m not satisfied with being just a NBA player. Obviously it has been my goal to get here now to this point. Now that I’m here I need to reevaluate things and make new goals. I’m a very motivated kid. I’ve had a chip on my shoulder my entire life and I want to keep it that way because I know that’s what’s going to keep me successful. Just moving forward, I want you guys (the press and fans) to know that I will be giving 150-percent every day to help this team win and help myself be successful as well.”

The press wanted to know more about the chip on Stauskas’ shoulder. “Well the chip on the shoulder started as young kid growing up just outside of Toronto where … no one really pays attention to basketball in Toronto (like) here in the U.S. Now they do because we have a lot of kids coming from there. I feel like I was never recognized and that kind of motivated me to show out and let people know how good I was. That’s been the case my whole life. And even when I got to Michigan my first year, I had players like Trey (Burke) and Tim (Hardaway,Jr.), Glenn Robinson (III). These were projected lottery picks, so I always felt like I had something to prove.

Stauskas wanted to be sure the Sacramento fans know that he is all about basketball. “Basketball is what I love to do. It’s what makes me happy. I hope that people will get the sense when I’m out there and I’m talking a little bit of trash that that’s just me out there having a little fun and enjoying the hard work I’ve put into it.”

Stauskas’ uncle was the person who introduced him to the game. “My uncle was the first one to invite me to play basketball for his club team when I was a young kid. I don’t what it was about the game of basketball, but I just seemed to love it and it made me happy. The more I played the better I got. The better I got the more I wanted to play. It just became a cycle and being a fan of the Toronto Raptors I looked up to bunch of NBA players … just watching them and the lives they live just inspired me to be like them.”

The next question to Stauskas was obvious – who was your favorite Toronto Raptor? “I loved Vince Carter when he was there. I got a chance when I was young to meet him and play with him when I was like nine-years old. That was a huge moment for me because was like god and he couldn’t do any wrong. To meet him, to see him play and to be the face of the franchise was one the things that motivated me to become an NBA player.”

Even though his plane did not arrive in Sacramento until 11:30 PM Friday night, Kings’ fans were there to greet Stauskas as exited the plane. That reception made an impression on the newest King. “Yeah, it’s awesome. I’m so excited to be here in a city where the fans are passionate about the team and supportive. Coming from just outside Toronto where no one really knew who I was and coming to Sacramento – a city I’ve never been to before – and have fans stay up late to welcome me at the airport is a dream come true and really made me feel happy. I want to send a special thank you to everyone who came out and supported me yesterday.”

The Nik Stauskas era has begun in Sacramento. If confidence and drive count (and they do), Stauskas is going to be an exciting addition to the Kings.