Times have been hectic for the Kings on the court. The team has lost four in a row after falling to the NBA’s best team, the Golden State Warriors, 114-100 on Friday night at Oracle Arena.
Ty Lawson has been juggling more than the struggles on the hardwood. He flew to Denver on Thursday for a court date and made it back in time to join the Kings for Friday’s game.
In his court appearance, Lawson denied he violated his probation stemming from a drunken driving case in 2015. His next hearing on the case is May 4.
Lawson hadn’t talked about the case prior to Friday night but the implications could be serious for a player who joined the Kings on a one-year deal to revitalize his career.
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Getting through the court appearance eased a mental burden for Lawson, who scored 20 points through three quarters before sitting so Langston Galloway could finish the game.
“A weight lifted off my shoulders,” Lawson said. “I had to fly to Denver, flew back last night, two 2 1/2-hour flights so it’s like a weight lifted off me. I can just play my game.”
Lawson is looking forward to returning to Denver after the season for the legal matter to be settled.
“I can’t wait,” he said. “May 4. I can’t wait until that day. Everything will be over with.”
Lawson was a big part of a lot the Kings’ success earlier in the season, playing many fourth quarters ahead of starter Darren Collison.
But with the Kings focused on playing young players such as Galloway, Lawson didn’t play in the fourth, even after the Kings cut the Warriors’ 20-point lead to 99-88 with 6:08 left in the game.
Stephen Curry hit three consecutive 3-pointers to stifle any hopes of a Kings comeback.
Kings coach Dave Joerger liked what he saw from Lawson on Friday.
“Honestly, I think Ty has had a weight on his shoulders for the last four weeks or so and he just kind of hasn’t been himself,” Joerger said. “He looked much more relieved today. He was the Ty that we know that he is still. He got in the paint 100 times and attacked Curry, attacked their defense.”
Lawson, like the rest of the veterans, has had to take a step back and watch as the young players gain experience, even as the losses pile up.
It can frustrating for the veterans, but they like how the young players are responding.
“I think we’re playing well; we’re still playing hard,” Lawson said. “We’re just trying to get used to each other. The rookies, they’re just getting game-time experience, you’ve got to go with the ups and downs. We’re still just competing and that speaks volumes. So next year when we have a training camp, a whole summer to jell with everybody, we’ll be a lot better.”
Lawson joined the Kings with a non-guaranteed deal and will be a free agent after the season. Lawson’s legal issues were a reason teams were wary of a long-term deal last summer.
He hasn’t ruled out a return to Sacramento.
The Kings will need at least one experienced point guard on a team that will have several players with three years or less of NBA experience.
“I think so,” said Lawson of the idea of a future in Sacramento. “I’ve been playing well with everything I was going through. I feel like the team likes me, everybody likes me, so just keep playing hard and proving myself.”
Rookie Buddy Hield led the Kings (27-45) with a career-high 22 points. His eight rebounds and seven assists were also career highs.
Rookie Skal Labissiere added 10 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high eight assists.
Curry led the Warriors (58-14) with 27 points, 12 assists and seven assists. Draymond Green added 23 points and eight assists.