Sacramento Kings' Youngsters Racking Up Quality Minutes Despite Losses

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Sacramento, Calif. Yes, the Sacramento Kings dropped their eighth-game in a row, losing to the visiting Denver Nuggets 105-92 at Golden 1 Center.

Since the DeMarcus Cousin trade the Kings only have one victory under their belt, that being against the Denver Nuggets on Feb. 23.

But what points to a great deal of importance is that the Kings head coach, Dave Joerger, is getting a substantial amount of work out of the younger players such as Willie Cauley Stein, Skal Labissiere, and Buddy Hield. Thus far, the results are coming in slowly, though effectively.

Hield had 17 points, six rebounds, and three assists in 30 minutes against the Nuggets. Cauley-Stein finished with 13 points, five assists, and five rebounds in 35 minutes while Labissiere added seven points, five rebounds, two earth-shattering dunks in nearly 20 minutes.

“These guys are playing good,” Joerger said after the game. “I played Buddy Hield 30 minutes, I played Willie Cauley-Stein 35 and a half, and I played Skal 20. I could play them 48, but I don’t think that’s what’s best for them.”

Sacramento Kings forwad Skal Labissiere looks for his shot over Denver Nuggets center Mason Plumlee at Golden 1 Center on March 11. Publicity Agents photo art by T. Ray Harvey.

Coaches don’t like adding Ls to their records, nor do NBA players like losing. But the Kings (25-41 overall, 12-21 G1C) are building for the future and they must see what they have on the basketball court right now. The young players, as well as the veterans, are currently having trouble closing out games.

“We’re still trying to figure everything out,” Labissiere said. “It’s been a tough stretch. It’s just a matter of learning how to finish games with us. We’re still looking to bounce back from it.”

The Nuggets Nuggets (31-35 overall, 13-19 road), coached by former Kings coach Mike Malone, are sitting in the eighth and needed to get the victory against Sacramento.

Gary Harris lead the way with 24 points, four assists, and two rebounds. Nikola Jokic had 20 points and 14 rebounds and and Mason Plumlee came off the bench for eight points, eight assists, and seven rebounds. Denver only turned ball over nine times in the game.

The Kings were down by 14 points, but came back to trail by two on a 15-foot shot by Willie Cauley Stein with 6:02 left in the third quarter. Malone put in Plumlee alongside of Jokic and the Nuggets’ lead zoomed to a 10-point margin. The Kings could never get over the hump.

“Him and Nikola (Jokic) you can play through them in so many different ways, guys realize that,” Malone said of Plumlee and Jokic. “When Mason has it and when Nikola has it, they cut. How many times did Mason find those guys at the rim for late passes? It’s really a fun way to play.”

Tyreke Evans returned to action for the Kings and scored 16 points off the bench in nearly 24 minutes of action. The Kings play the Orlando Magic on March 13 at Golden 1 Center.

By T. Ray Harvey | PA Public Information Officer and Photographic Artist

Twitter: Tony Ray Harvey @PublicityAgents

Sacramento Kings shooting guard Garrett Temple puts the brakes on this dunk attempted by Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray Publicity Agents photo art by T. Ray Harvey.

T. Ray (Antonio) Harvey is a Public Information Officer and Photographic Artist for Publicity Agents. Harvey is also the author of The HOMICIDAL HANDYMAN OF OAK PARK: MORRIS SOLOMON JR.

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