By Charlie O. Mallonee
By the end of the evening in New Orleans, the Sacramento Kings would rather have been in Yuba City because they had no reason to celebrate on Bourbon Street. The Kings gave up 149 points to the New Orleans Pelicans in their loss on Friday night. The 149 points was a new game-high scoring record for the New Orleans franchise.
The Kings did score 129 points of their own, but it was in a losing effort. There were some highlights but a loss is a loss. This was the Kings first road loss of 2018-19, and they are now 0-2 on the season.
”I saw some really good things offensively tonight,” Kings coach Dave Joerger said. ”I see, certainly, a lot of things defensively that can be learned through experience that just takes time as younger guys learn how to play against older guys. I am not fired up about giving up 149, but I do like what I see from a lot of our guys.”
Maybe this reporter is just a little impatient, but he has heard the “I saw some really good things” line many times over the last two years. Yes, this is a completely reworked roster with some very young players, but the “I’m happy with some of what I saw from my team tonight” line is going to wear thin very quickly. After 10 games if the team is playing poorly, the coach is going to have to speak honestly about the way his team is playing. The time to “kick butt and take names” is coming sooner and not later for Sacramento.
Coming out party for MBIIIV
The Kings top draft pick saw some major playing time on Friday versus the Pelicans. Bagley played 32-plus minutes and matched up well against “the Brow” – Anthony Davis. MBIIIV put up 19 points hitting 7-of-10 from the field. He converted 5-of-6 opportunities from the free throw line. Bagley grabbed eight rebounds, had three assists and made three steals.
Not a bad second game as a professional for a 19-year old having to go up against Anthony Davis.
WCS comes up “Big” again
Willie Cauley-Stein was the Kings leading scorer for the second consecutive game with 20 points in just over 25 minutes of playing time. He shot an impressive 9-for-14 from the floor. The big man also grabbed seven rebounds.
Swipa the Fox and Buddy Buckets showed up as well
De’Aaron Fox shot 6-for-12 from the floor and scored 18 points for the Kings. He also dished out six assists and pulled down seven rebounds. The Fox hit 6-of-7 chances from the free throw line.
Buddy Hield recorded 17 points, hitting 7-of-11 shots from the field. Hield put in 3-of-4 tries from behind the 3-point line. He also added three assists.
Mr. Mason had a big game coming off the bench
Frank Mason III played just over 21-minutes and scored 18 points. Mason shot 7-for-13 from the floor and converted 3-of-4 from the free throw line. He also handed out six assists.
What about Harry Giles III?
Harry had a tough game on Friday night. He committed six fouls in just over 18 minutes on the floor. Giles scored seven points and added four rebounds. He shot just 3-for-11 for the game. Rookies sometimes struggle.
The Kings shot 52.1-percent (50/96) for the game. The problem was the Pelicans shot 58.9-percent (56/95) in the contest.
Sacramento hit 10-of-25 (40-percent) from 3-point land. New Orleans buried 16-of-31 tries from behind the long-distance line.
The Pelicans outrebounded the Kings 52 to 39.
The need for defense
The practice on Saturday will be all about defense. The Kings have proved they can score. Now, they need to figure out how to stop their opponents from scoring at will.
The Kings will return to action on Sunday on the road in Oklahoma City versus the Thunder at 4:00 pm PT. The quest for their first victory of 2018-19 does not get any easier having to face a team a talented as the Thunder on the road.