• The Kings continue to fight as the season winds down. For the week they had a record of 1-2, picking up a win over the Mavericks. They really should have beaten the Lakers too but the ‘tanking’ crowd will certainly not be complaining about that one slipping away late. Sacramento showed some fight against the offensive powerhouse that is the Houston Rockets, but in the end it was too much for the Kings to handle.

    To kick-start the week it was a battle to see who could rest the most players. Both teams sat multiple players in an attempt to get their young guys some extended run. It was an ugly game for the most part, which was expected with so many players resting, but the Mavs managed to win the tank-a-thon. The Kings ran away in the second half thanks to Ben McLemore’s 22 points on 5-of-5 from three; Sacramento winning, 98-87. Willie Cauley-Stein managed a career-high 16 rebounds in the victory while Buddy Hield deserves a mention too shooting 4-of-7 from behind the arc.

    Friday’s game against the Lakers was a back and forth affair. The Kings looked like they had enough to get the W but Los Angeles came alive late in the fourth quarter to steal one away from Sacramento, 98-94. Julius Randle led the way for the Lakers with 25 points while Skal Labissiere rattled off 19 points in the close loss. Georgios Papagiannis was admirable posting his second career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds in 25 minutes of action.

    The week concluded with a loss to the Houston Rockets at home. We all could have predicted the result from the get go but the Kings showed some fight throughout the game. They managed to cut the deficit to under 10 points late in the third quarter but the Rockets eventually pulled away and didn’t look back. James Harden recorded the rear quadruple-double with 35 points, 11 rebounds, 15 assists and 10 turnovers in 36 minutes. Skal Labissiere was sensational yet again with 25 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals in 31 minutes of action.

    Player Power Rankings

    Note: These rankings are based on each player’s performance from this week, not on the entire season.

    #1 –SKAL LABISSIERE (LAST WEEK: #6)

    Skal shoots up to the top spot this week with some great outings. For the week he complied averages of 18.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.7 steals on 65.6 percent shooting in 32.5 minutes per game. Those numbers are incredible for a rookie; the Kings have certainly found a gem here.

    #2 – WILLIE CAULEY-STEIN (LAST WEEK: #1)

    Cauley-Stein remains in the top-3 yet again after another solid week of play. He posted a double-double in two of the three games and has proven to be one of the Kings’ most consistent players in recent weeks. He averaged 14.0 points, 11.0 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.3 blocks on 51.4 percent shooting in 27.2 minutes per game (three games).

    #3 – BEN MCLEMORE (LAST WEEK: #4)

    Ben McLemore has been hot lately as he continues to light it up off the bench. Benny Mac had averages of 16.3 points on 50.0 percent shooting from the field (62.5 percent from three) in 25.7 minutes per game. He has made big strides over the past couple of weeks and it makes Vlade’s decision on whether to bring him back next season much more difficult.

    #4 –GARRETT TEMPLE (LAST WEEK: #8)

    He played in two of the three games and one of them wasn’t pretty. However, he is up this high because of his exceptional performance against the Rockets in which he managed 13 points, five rebounds and four steals on 5-of-12 shooting and 3-of-8 from three. As always he brought it on the defensive end and made life as difficult as possible for James Harden who ended up with 10 turnovers on 9-of-22 shooting.

    #5 – BUDDY HIELD (LAST WEEK: #2)

    Hield had a bit of a rough week but his three-point shooting keeps him relatively high in the rankings. Buddy averaged 15.0 points per game but he shot just 36.4 percent from the field which just isn’t good enough. He is only a rookie so we can cut him some slack; let’s call it a mini-slump for now.

    #6 –GEORGIOS PAPAGIANNIS (LAST WEEK: #7)

    Papa G continues to put in work with the extra minutes he has been getting. He recorded his second double-double of the season in Friday’s loss to the Lakers and for the week he posted averages of 9.7 points and 6.0 rebounds on 66.7 percent shooting from the field in 22.2 minutes per game.

    #7 – TY LAWSON (LAST WEEK: #3)

    Lawson only played in one game this week but he was solid in his one outing. He had 20 points and 11 assists on 7-of-12 shooting in 28 minutes of action. His future in Sacramento is in doubt as he is set to be a free agent this offseason but a performance like this could bode well for him returning to the Kings next season.

    #8 – DARREN COLLISON (LAST WEEK: #5)

    Like Lawson, Darren Collison only played in one game too but he was also decent in his one outing. Collison dropped 15 points, five rebounds and 10 assists on 5-of-8 shooting in 28 minutes. He is in the same boat as Lawson as he is also set to become a free agent in the offseason. It’s unlikely they both return to the Kings next season so Vlade has a decision to make regarding the two point guards.

    #9 –LANGSTON GALLOWAY (LAST WEEK: #9)

    Galloway saw the court in all three games this week and was fairly decent. He’s a knock down shooter and that is something the Kings could use moving forward. His most notable game came against the Mavericks where he finished with 15 points and seven rebounds on 5-of-10 shooting (2-of-4 3PM) in 37 minutes. His future with the team is unclear but he would be a useful player to have at the end of the bench next season.

    #10 – ANTHONY TOLLIVER (LAST WEEK: #10)

    Tolliver stays where he is this week. He didn’t do anything of note and is merely out there to fill minutes at this point. He is valuable as a locker room guy and veteran leader so it would be nice to see him back next season.

    #11 –TYREKE EVANS (LAST WEEK: #11)

    Evans remains at the bottom with some more underwhelming outings. He seems to be forcing the issue whenever he is out there and it’s not helping his offseason stock. It’s unlikely the Kings bring him back and in all honesty, he may struggle to find a new team in the offseason too.

    Injured: Rudy Gay (Achilles) and Malachi Richardson (hamstring).

    Not enough minutes: Kosta Koufos and Arron Afflalo.

     

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