Photo credit: @SacramentoKings
By Jeremiah Salmonson
SACRAMENTO — Unfortunately for Kings fans, the Kings are the laughing stock of the NBA once again. With that said, the season is still young. However, the Kings need to turn things around quickly to salvage what has been a dismal season so far. Coming into Friday’s contest against the Utah Jazz, the Kings were 0-5 to start the 2019 season. The Kings looked to flip the script at 7 PM at Golden 1 Center.
In the first quarter, the Kings came out of the gate looking energized. They were moving the ball on offense and appeared to be in more of a rhythm than they had shown before. Halfway through the quarter, De’Aaron Fox had 7 points leading the Kings. At that point, the Kings started to put together some good offensive possessions to take the lead 21-11 with 3:58 remaining in the opening quarter. The last few minutes didn’t go as well for the Kings, but it wasn’t a meltdown. The Kings and Jazz finished the first quarter with the Kings leading 18-28.
In the second quarter, the Kings were able to keep pace. That was the most encouraging part of the half. The Kings didn’t hit shots as they did in the first but they did manage to hold the lead. The Jazz, on the other hand, started hitting some of the shots they missed in the first. Bojan Bogdanovic scored 14 in the first half, and the Jazz had a trio of players with 6 in the half. Leading the Kings through the first half was De’Aaron Fox with 15 points, Buddy Hield and Nemanja Bjelica with 8 points, and Harrison Barnes with 7 points. Going into halftime, the Kings looked to hold onto their 48-51 lead.
The third quarter has been the Kings’ nemesis this season. They needed to turn that tide in order to get their first win of the year. The question remained could they do it. The Kings showed much better effort in the third than they had this season. However, some sloppy turnovers and missed opportunities prevented the Kings from building a lead. The third ended with the Kings taking a 81-80 point lead into the final quarter. This third quarter might not have been the greatest by most standards but it was leaps and bounds better than what the Kings had shown in the previous five contests.
As the Kings headed into the final minutes, the home crowd desperately wanted to erupt in a victory celebration. The Kings didn’t disappoint to start off the last quarter. Halfway through, the Kings had 95-88 lead. The only thing left for the Kings was to put the game away. The game would go back and forth in the final minutes with each team trading baskets. The game would ultimately come down to the last 17 seconds after the Kings were leading 100-99. The Jazz hit a layup and the Kings took the ball down the court after a loose ball foul for a putback of their own. The Jazz took their final time out with 2.9 seconds left and needed to hit a game-winner or else Sacramento would win. The Jazz inbounded to Donovan Mitchell and he was immediately shut down and missed with an airball. The Kings won 102-101.
The Kings managed to get their first win of the season on an all-around good performance. The Kings will look to carry that momentum into the next game and “Keep winning” according to Harrison Barnes’ postgame quotes.
The Kings head to New York City to take on the New York Knicks on Sunday, November 3 at 3:00 pm PST.