Photo credit: @SacramentoKings
By Jeremiah Salmonson
SACRAMENTO — Saturday marked the return home for the Sacramento Kings after a long road trip. The trip took the Kings through the cities of New York, Washington D.C., Boston, and Philadelphia. It was a tough trip for the Kings who went 1-3 beating the Washington Wizards. The Kings were looking to continue their climb back to .500 against a formidable opponent in the Denver Nuggets on Saturday afternoon. The tip-off was set for 2 PM PST.
In the first quarter, the Kings struggled early. No one on the Kings could seem to hit a shot and Denver began knocking down their’s after struggling in the opening minutes as well. With 2:00 minutes remaining in the first quarter, the Kings were already down 27-13. The rest of the quarter the Kings were able to put up a few more points to cut the deficit to 27-17 going into the second quarter.
In the second quarter, Yogi Ferrell ran the point, the Kings offense seemed to show life in the early minutes for the second. In the opening 2 minutes of time, the Kings managed to cut the lead to 5 points. However, the Nuggets starting piling on again after that. The Nuggets would put up a total of 57 first-half points compared to the Kings’ 40. This obviously wasn’t what Luke Walton and Co. planned for the first half. The King’s fans let out a subtle chorus of boos as the team headed into the locker room. Garry Harris led all scorers in the first half putting up 20 points. The leading scorer for the Kings was Harrison Barnes, who had 8 points for the Kings. If the Kings hoped to come back they needed to shoot better. Specifically, be better from long range.
In the third quarter, the Kings played better than they had all game. That’s not to say there wasn’t room for improvement. The Kings outscored the Nuggets 27-18, which was a marked improvement on both ends of the floor. Led by Harrison Barnes (12 points in the 3rd), the Kings managed to cut the deficit 67-75. The Kings would need to make a big ground in the fourth quarter to have a chance.
In the fourth quarter, the Kings still struggled to hit open shots. Namely, Buddy Hield really struggled. Buddy had a considerable number of open shots that he was unable to knockdown. Regardless of the shooting struggles, the Kings managed to hang tough. With 3:20 left in the game, the score was 87-80 and the Kings had a chance to execute. The Kings managed to do just that. The Kings were able to come back and tie the game with a Buddy Hield layup with 22.9 seconds left. The Kings then got the defense stop with a Rashaan Holmes block and it sent the Kings to overtime. In overtime, the Kings and Nuggets would battle and trade baskets. The game would come down to the final 14 seconds with the score 98 to 97 Kings up. Buddy Hield would be fouled on the inbound and make both his free throws. From there, the Kings got a stop and would go on to win 100-97.
The Kings stay home to host the Chicago Bulls on Monday at 7 PM PST.