Photo credit: @SacramentoKings
By Jeremiah Salmonson
SACRAMENTO–The Sacramento Kings were back home. After over a week on the road, the Kings returned home after splitting the road trip 2-2. The two wins for the Kings on the trip came on the toughest part, the back-to-back against Dallas and Houston. The Kings were able to pull off both those wins and came home with a good feeling about rising to .500 in the coming week. The Kings started off the homestand with a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center.
In the first quarter, the Kings were looking to get off to a good start against a team they should have a good chance beating on paper. The Kings didn’t shoot as well as they would have hoped in the first at just 40% from the floor. However, that was better than the showing the Thunder put on shooting only 30% in the first from the floor. Leading the Kings was Nemanja Bjelica with 7 points, followed by Trevor Ariza with 5 points. For the Thunder, Steven Adams led with 5 points. Going into the second quarter, the Kings led the Thunder 23-18.
In the second quarter, things would unravel a bit for the Kings. Thanks to poor shooting and the Thunder knocking down shots, the Kings would give up the lead going into halftime. The Kings were only able to manage 15 points in the second as opposed to the Thunder’s 29. Dennis Schroder finished the first half as the game’s leading scorer with 15 points. Continuing to lead the Kings in scoring, despite not adding a basket in the second, was Nemanja Bjelica with 7 points. Buddy Hield got on the board, scoring 5 in the second quarter. Overall, the Kings shot 35.65% from the field in the first half compared to the Thunder’s 41.5% clip.
In the second half, the Kings looked to come out with the energy they lacked in the first half. Unfortunately, the Kings were lackluster on offense. Taking a 9-point deficit into halftime, the Kings had only let that deficit grow to a 64-50 Thunder lead with five minutes remaining in the third. The Thunder had been shooting extraordinarily well at a 40% clip from downtown. The rest of the way in the third it would get much better for the Kings. They finished the third down by two points 71-69. Buddy Hield finished the third with 15 points and Marvin Bagley had 11 points.
In the fourth quarter, the Thunder would retake the lead early. They retook a 10-point lead 83-73 at the 7:49 point in the game. From there, it would be all Kings as they came roaring back to tie the game with 1:00 remaining in the game. Bogdan Bogdanovic would foul the Thunder and they made both their free throws. The Kings took a timeout with the ball with 30 seconds left down 93-91. Bogdan Bogdanovic was able to get open and knock down a three to set up the last possession for the Thunder with 13.4 seconds left in the game. The Thunder got the ball to Chris Paul, who was defended by Richaun Holmes. Paul tried to hit a pullup jumper but missed it and the game ended. The Kings came away victorious 94-93.
The Kings stay home to host the New York Knicks on Friday at 7 PM PST.
The Thunder continues the West Coast trip against the Denver Nuggets on Saturday at 6 PM PST.