• The Kings were facing an uphill battle trying to snap a 17-year losing streak in Miami, but the team’s strongest defensive performance of the year propelled them to a 89-88 victory.

    Sacramento started the game with a great energy on the defensive end of floor and held the Heat to just 40% shooting in the opening half.  The team still gave up more than a few open looks from behind the arc, but they did a much better job of denying easy shots in the paint.  The Kings were able to bother most of the Heat roster early on, but Goran Dragic was a clear exception.  Dragic finished the first half with 16 points on just nine shots as the Kings seemed to have no answer for him.

    On the other end of the floor the Kings struggled to get into a rhythm, but Buddy Hield kept the team competitive with 15 points in the first two quarters.  Hield was aggressive looking for his shot off the bench and was the clear go-to option for the Kings early on.

    The Kings had struggled to separate early in the game, but a hot start to the third quarter from De’Aaon Fox allowed the Kings to open up a eight point lead, their largest to that point. Sacramento had managed to swing the momentum in their favor, but some sloppy defense allowed Miami to tie the game at 64 with less than three minutes left in the third.  The Kings appeared to be taking control of the game again heading into the fourth, but Wayne Ellington caught fire and kept Miami in front.

    The Kings opened up the fourth quarter with their coldest stretch of the game and allowed the Heat to open up an 11-point lead.    The defense wasn’t great to start the fourth, but the much bigger issue was the team’s careless play on offense.  The Kings committed four turnovers in the first six minutes of the quarter and appeared to be heading toward another tough loss.

    Sacramento regained their focus in the last six minutes and were able to put themselves in a position to win down by just one point with just 21.1 seconds to go.  The Kings elected to have Bogdan Bogdanovic take the final shot, but it was Fox that gave the team an 89-88 lead with just 3.3 seconds left on a put-back dunk.

    The Kings then finished with a great defensive possession to seal the win.

    Sacramento appears to be recovering after a month long slump sent them to the bottom of the Western Conference, but a game against the Spurs in San Antonio Saturday night still figures to be quite a challenge for the young team.

    GAME NOTES

    • Justin Jackson received his seventh start of the season and he certainly did not disappoint.  Jackson was aggressive looking for his shot, but even more impressive was his ability on the defensive end of the floor.  Jackson doesn’t have elite athleticism, but he can still cause problems on the perimeter with his length:


      Jackson hasn’t been able to find much traction this season, but if he can string together a few more games like this, he should be able to carve out a decent role for himself in the second half.
    • De’Aaron Fox’ speed makes him a threat to blow by just about any defender, but he will be able to take an even bigger step forward developmentally if he’s able to expand his game off the dribble.  Fox has shown flashes with his handle this season, but plays like the one below show how dangerous he could be as he gets more comfortable on offense:
    • The Kings’ field goal percentage (46.9%) and lack of turnovers (13) were positives for the team offensively, but they struggled to do much damage at the free throw line (8-for-14) or from behind the arc (5-for-12).  Their defense was able to keep them in the game tonight, but the team’s inability to break down opposing defenses puts a ceiling on their offense.

Fantasy News

  • Eric Gordon
    SG, Houston Rockets

    Rockets guard Eric Gordon has improved his diet, focused on sprints, and has apparently shed 12 pounds in the process, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic.

    Gordon has battled knee ailments for essentially his whole career and has dealt with his fair share of nagging injuries this season as well. Losing weight to create a lighter frame would seem sensible, especially with the knee issues. The Rockets, remember, fully adopted the "small ball" lineup and move fast so Gordon is smart to keep his endurance and fitness at high levels. He's going to have to play well and make shots for the Rockets when the NBA returns to action, otherwise coach Mike D'Antoni won't be able to justify giving Gordon minutes. We don't anticipate much fantasy value out of him if and when the league starts back up.

    Source: The Athletic

  • LeBron James
    SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN is reporting that the NBA is planning for a Board of Governors vote on Thursday, during which they are expected to approve Adam Silver's proposal for re-starting the season in Orlando.

    The trend lines are all moving in this direction, and this adds another bullet point on the schedule as the league prepares for launching games on July 31. Adam Silver has been able to bridge any divides between ownership and the players, and has been taking into account all his key constituent's views as we approach approval of a plan for moving forward. We still have plenty of items to resolve before we see game action, but the NBA is gaining momentum as these details come into place.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Bradley Beal
    SG, Washington Wizards

    On Friday, the Wizards resumed holding voluntary workouts at their practice facilities.

    The Wizards have joined a chorus of teams that are returning in limited capacities to their facilities at this point. The NBA as a whole is continuing its march towards the resumption of play with a target date of July 31 now established. The District of Columbia also entered phase one of reopening today, and it makes sense for the team to proceed on a similar trajectory.

    Source: Candace Buckner on Twitter

  • Julius Randle
    PF, New York Knicks

    Part of the Knicks' off-season thinking is to shape the roster around RJ Barrett, and it unclear where Julius Randle will fit in those plans.

    Barrett and Randle have similar offensive styles, as they typically have an advantage relying upon their strength to attack the basket, but neither has a component deep ball at this stage in their careers. As Barrett is the younger option it makes sense that the Knicks want to sign shooters to give him more space to operate with. Randle's lousy percentages and turnovers has made for a disappointing season with the Knicks thus far, and Barrett will also need to make some strides in the shooting department to become a 12-team asset. Randle is under contract for next season is owed at least $4,000,000 in 2021-22.

    Source: https://www.sny.tv/knicks/news/heres-who-knicks-could-target-as-leon-roses-front-office-reshapes-roster/313481746

  • Jayson Tatum
    SF, Boston Celtics

    On Friday, the Celtics' announced that their practice facilities would reopen on June 1.

    That leaves us with four NBA teams without access to their facilities. Things are beginning to accelerate throughout the league as teams ramp up activities in hopes of resuming competition in Orlando on July 31. So far so good, but the NBA still has many hurdles to overcome on the path to resuming the season.

    Source: Celtics PR on Twitter

  • RJ Barrett
    SF, New York Knicks

    The Knicks reopened their practice facility for voluntary workouts on Friday.

    Another step in the right direction for the NBA's return to action at the end of July. It's still unclear if the Knicks will even be involved in whatever plan is agreed upon, but it is good to learn that the players can now access their facilities in New York. Only five team facilities have not opened up in some capacity at this point.

    Source: Knicks PR on Twitter

  • LeBron James
    SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    On a call with the Board of Governors on Friday, Adam Silver and the league office confirmed July 31 as a target date for the resumption of the NBA season, according to a report from Shams Charania.

    We have to imagine that this is just one of the possible options on the table, as the league still has much to figure out. Charania adds that the league has four scenarios for the return: 16 teams move directly to the playoffs, 20 teams engage in group/stage play, 22 teams have games to determine seeding with a play-in tournament, and all 30 teams reconvene for a 72-game season with a play-in tournament. It's seemed unlikely that we'll have a full 30-team return given the stated priorities for player safety. There are still tons of logistical hurdles to clear but the NBA is getting its ducks in a row for a potential return.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Andre Iguodala
    SF, Miami Heat

    Andre Iguodala returned to South Florida after living in California since the NBA season was suspended.

    Iguodala returning to the market where his team is could mean that he believes team workouts will begin soon. However, there is no official timetable on when team workouts will begin and Jimmy Butler has yet to return to Miami.

    Source: Ira Winderman on Twitter

  • Zach LaVine
    SG, Chicago Bulls

    K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reported that the Bulls were cleared by the Governor of Illinois and are in talks with city officials to open practice facilities on Friday for voluntary workouts that would follow the NBA guidelines.

    The NBA's guidelines currently state that a maximum of four players are allowed in the facility at any given time and there can only be one player per hoop. The Bulls are currently eight games behind the Orlando Magic for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls may not play again this season given how far behind they are in the standings and the recent reports of proposals to not continue the regular season.

    Source: K.C. Johnson on Twitter

  • Luka Doncic
    PG-SF, Dallas Mavericks

    Marc Stein of the New York Times has reported that the Mavs plan to open their practice facility on Thursday.

    This news would make the Mavs the 23rd team to have their facilities open for "voluntary and socially distanced player workouts". Continue to monitor the wire as we should learn more about the potential of the league resuming in early June.

    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter