photo from sacbee.com: Kings guard Buddy Hield (24) attempts to steal the ball from Utah Jazz guard Emmanuel Mudiay, left, in the first half of a preseason game Monday in Salt Lake City.
By Morris Phillips
The Sacramento Kings have won just 21 regular season games in Salt Lake City… in 34 seasons.
Not good, but an impressive 128-115 exhibition win Monday at Vivint Smart Arena has the Kings feeling less apprehensive about their second regular season road game October 26 at Utah.
Buddy Hield led the Kings with 23 points, Marvin Bagley contributed 22 in 30 minutes of floor time. De’Aaron Fox departed early with a lower back injury.
The Kings played their fourth exhibition contest and both teams used the occasion to play their normal starters and top reserves. The Kings’ 78-point, first half came against defensive stalwarts Rudy Gobert and Mike Conley. The Kings played their trademark, fast pace and backed that with 14 made 3-pointers.
Sacramento’s defense was far more effective than it was in India, where the Kings dropped a pair of exhibitions allowing 130 points each time last week Against the Jazz, the Kings allowed 48 percent shooting from the field.
But they benefitted from 20 turnovers and Utah’s poor shooting from the distance where they missed 26 of 35 attempts. The Kings battled the Jazz to a standstill on the glass (55 rebounds each) and put six players in double figures in scoring.
The Kings played without Corey Joseph, Trevor Ariza and Harry Giles.
The Kings conclude pre-season on Wednesday against Melbourne United at the Golden 1 Center.
The second and final contest of the inaugural NBA India Games was played on Saturday morning California time and the Kings came up short in that game losing to the Indiana Pacers 130-106. Frankly, game two lacked the enthusiasm and execution that was seen in game one.
Since game one required overtime to decide the winner, the players spent more time on the court than either coach planned on before the tipoff. With so many players recording big minutes in game one, that certainly alerted the playing rotation for both teams on Saturday.
The starters looked sluggish
The players participated in a big “Bollywood Night” that was held in their honor after the game on Friday. Couple that with the players being just about 12 hours off their regular time zones and having to deal with all the additional commitments beyond just the games — fatigue became a major factor that had to be battled in the final game on this long trip.
Sacramento had a shorter bench which meant their players had to play more minutes and their execution reflected that situation.
Bottom line, this game looked like an NBA preseason game. The second half featured many players who will be wearing the jerseys of Ft. Wayne and Stockton of the G-League later this month.
New Kings to watch
Kyle Guy — The Kings’ second-round draft pick- saw his first game action on Saturday. He played just under 20-minutes shooing 2-for-7 (one 3-pointer) while sinking 4-of-5 from the free-throw line. The rookie grabbed two rebounds and dished out three assists. Guy finished with nine points.
Caleb Swanigan came off the bench and did some banging under the boards for Sacramento. It did not take long for him to make his presence known. Swanigan scored four points, pulled down four rebounds, blocked two shots and added three assists in little over 17-minutes on the court. He did commit five fouls — which will have to be addressed — but Swanigan made a mark in the game.
Wenyen Gabriel — another of the Kings’ two-way players — played 15-minutes scoring six points. He shot only 1-for-5 from the floor (3-pointer), but he converted 3-of-4 from the charity stripe. Gabriel also added four rebounds, two assists, one blocked shot and one steal.
Scoring: Buddy Hield 17 points
Rebounding: Dewayne Dedmon 7 rebounds
Assists: De’Aaron Fox 6
Steals: Justin James 3
Blocked Shots: Dedmon 2/ Swanigan 2
The Pacers attempted 94 shots in the game to the Kings 81
IND shot 52.1% overall; SAC shot 38.3% for the game
The Kings went to the free-throw line 41 times to just 18 trips for the Pacers
The Biggie – Points in the Paint: Pacers 60 Kings 28 (oh my)
Approximately two hours after the game ended, the Kings boarded “Air Drake” (their charter belongs to the rapper Drake — check it out online). They will take about 48 hours to readjust to being in California, and then, they will get ready for their third preseason game of the year. That game will be with the Phoenix Suns at the Golden 1 Center on Thursday night.
The first-ever NBA game was played in Mumbai, India on Friday night between the Indiana Pacers and the Sacramento Kings. Well, it was Friday night if you were in Mumbai. If you were in Sacramento, the game tipped off at 6:30 AM, so it was bagels and basketball.
Much to the chagrin of the coaches and to the delight of the crowd, the game required overtime. The Pacers prevailed in OT 132-131. The Kings’ Buddy Hield put up a long 3-point shot that had a realistic chance of going in, but bounced high off the rim and was put back in by Marvin Bagley for two points at the buzzer. Sacramento fell one point short of causing double overtime.
To say that the players were “gassed” would be a gross understatement. All five of the Indiana starters and three of the Sacramento starting five played 30-minutes or more. Rest assured that neither Nate McMillan nor Luke Walton planned to play any of their players for that long in the first preseason game.
T.J. Warren — who was traded the Pacers by the Suns in the off-season — was the game’s leading scorer with 30 points. He hit 11-of-18 from the floor and was 5-of-6 from behind the 3-point line.
Domantas Sabonis recorded a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds. He made six rebounds on offense and six on defense.
Point Guard Malcolm Brogdon also had a double-double game with 15 points and 14 assists.
Buddy Hield led the Kings’ scoring attack with 28 points. He shot 11-for-20 from the field and converted 4-of-10 from downtown.
Harrison Barnes — fresh off his time with Team USA — put 21 points in the book. Barnes went a perfect 11-for-11 from the free-throw line.
De’Aaron Fox added 15 points and dished out eight assists.
Numbers for concern
Luke Walton cannot be happy that his team was outrebounded 47-30. The Pacers scored 21 second chance points to the Kings’ seven. That is not a winning formula in the NBA.
Nate McMillan will be talking to his team about turnovers. The Pacers turned the ball over 25 times in the contest, which resulted in 25 Sacramento points.
The NBA really sees itself as being a worldwide game and marketing force. The league’s goal is to literally market itself around the globe. With a population of over 1.3 billion people, India is a market that cannot be ignored.
Here are a few other facts:
More than 3 million fans in India follow the NBA on Facebook.
Over 300 live NBA games are available to viewers in India each season. In fact, fans in Sacramento often welcome Indian viewers just before tipoff.
The NBA opened an office in Mumbai in 2012 — one of 12 NBA offices outside the USA.
The NBA Academy India was opened in 2017 in Delhi to help develop top male and female basketball prospects.
The other reason India is a key target for the association is Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadive is originally from Mumbai. It has been his dream to bring the game to his country of origin.
“This is a historic day, but for me it’s a dream come true. I left Bombay (Mumbai) when I was 17 years old and literally I had $50 in my pocket, so to come back here with my NBA team and also bring my friend Herb Simon with his team and to play an actual NBA game is beyond my wildest, wildest imagination,” explained Ranadive.
Ranadive has a vision for the future, “What I see happening is that within the next 10 years, this game, it’ll never surpass cricket as the national pastime, but it’ll be right up there. And hopefully, Commissioner, we can launch a league right here in India. I hope in the next 10 years that we’ll have at least one player that comes out of the system that plays in the NBA. We already see players. And I fully expect that there will be arenas that spring up across the country where we can play these games.”
More from Mumbai tomorrow
The Kings and Pacers will play one more preseason game on Saturday night in Mumbai. The tipoff time in Indiana is 8:30 AM and in Sacramento it is 6:30 AM. If you call yourself a real NBA fan, it is breakfast and basketball tomorrow morning.
SACRAMENTO — The Sacramento Kings won their 39th game of the 2018-19 season on Thursday night as they defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 117-104. It was not an easy win. The Kings had to earn this victory. The Cavs are not a great team, but they are professional basketball players who belong on an NBA court.
The Cavs may have never held the lead in the game, but they did cut the Kings’ lead to just one point with 4:40 to go in the third quarter. Sacramento was able to make a surge in order to take a nine-point lead into the final period.
The Cavs reduced the Kings lead to just six points at the 8:03 mark in the fourth quarter, but Sacramento with the help of Marvin Bagley III and Bogdan Bogdanovic opened up a lead that would never put them in danger of losing the game again.
With the win, the Kings sweep the season series from the Cavaliers who drop to 19-60 for the campaign.
SAC is one game away from winning 40
Some fans have asked — is winning 40 a big deal? Yes, it is. The Kings won 27 games last season. Most analysts projected them win between 30-35 games this season (this reporter projected them to win 32). To improve their win-loss record by 13 wins and climb into the 40-wins stratosphere is psychologically a big deal for a young team.
As a Western Conference team, the Kings will have to win 45-47 games next season just to make it into the playoffs. If they can win 40 games, they will know what it takes to get where they need to be in order to reach the next level.
This team has already has recorded the best win total for a Kings deal team since the 2005-06 season. Winning game number 40 would make them the first Sacramento team to win at least 40 games since that 2005-06 team won 44 games.
Dave Joerger postgame thoughts
Thought it was a good win
Getting to 40 wins is a big deal
Tonight, it didn’t feel like we made a lot of shots; they did make a lot of shots
Out defensive activity was good — steals, deflections forced 22 turnovers
We took care of the ball — seven turnovers that resulted in just eight points
We scored points in the paint which was huge for us (SAC 62 CLE 54)
When we moved the ball and we got in the paint, we were more successful
Buddy Hield was the game’s leading scorer with 23 points shooting 9-for-16 from the field. He hit 5-of-11 from downtown. Hield needs just six 3-point baskets to beat Damian Lillard’s record of 599 three-pointers in the first three seasons of a players career.
Bogdan Bogdanovic had a strong game coming off the bench to score 18 points in just over 27 minutes of playing time. “Bogi” shot 7-for-13 from the floor including four 3-point baskets. He also dished out five assists. Bogdanovic seemed to play with more energy than he has in some time.
De’Aaron Fox bounced back nicely after having a disappointing game versus the Rockets. Fox recorded a double-double scoring 16 points and distributing 10 dimes.
Marvin Bagley III played only 20 minutes, but he made the most of his time on the floor. MB35 put up 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds. His play was very important to the Kings opening up their lead in the fourth quarter.
Odd facts: the Kings were outrebounded by the Cavs 50-36 in this game. The Kings made 12 steals while the Cavaliers managed only three steals. Sacramento only turned the ball over seven times while Cleveland turned over 22 times.
Jordan Clarkson was the Cavs leading scorer with 22 points. Clarkson came off the bench to play just over 31 minutes and shoot 9-for-13 from the field.
Point guard Colin Sexton was very impressive in almost 38 minutes on the floor. For a player who is not supposed to shoot well, he was very impressive as a shooter. Sexton hit 8-of-14 shots overall and 3-of-5 from 3-point land.
Second-year player Cedi Osman recorded 17 points and three assists. He was key to the Cavs first half performance.
Cleveland shot 54.3-percent (44/81) for the game and hit 11-of-25 (44%) 3-point attempts.
The Kings left immediately after the game for Salt Lake City where they will play the Jazz on Friday night.
The Cavaliers boarded their buses and headed for the Bay Area where they will face the Golden State Warriors tomorrow night.
SACRAMENTO — The Sacramento Kings goal of finishing the season with a 41-41 record took a serious hit on Tuesday night when the Houston Rockets beat them 130-105 at the Golden 1 Center. The young, upstart Kings never held a lead in the game. The win gave Houston a four-game season-series sweep over Sacramento.
In his postgame comments, Kings head coach Dave Joerger noted that the Rockets have beat his team by over 20 points on average in all four games this season. He later would point out that the Rockets as a team are staffed with great players.
Why Did the Kings Lose?
Sacramento lost the game because they could not shut down the dynamic 3-point shooting of the Rockets. Houston literally made it “rain” 3-pointers at they attempted 61 shots from behind the arc and hit 26 of them. The 26 made 3-point shots tied the Rockets NBA record for most 3-point shots made in a game that they set against the Wizards back on December 19, 2018, at home in Houston.
The Rockets made 46 of their 94 field goal attempts (48.9%) in the contest. They converted 26 of their 61 3-point field goal attempts (42.6%). Yes, you are reading that correctly. The majority of the Rockets’ field goals made and attempts were from long range. Houston was very happy to trade 3-point baskets for Kings 2-point baskets all night long.
The Kings shot 44.2-percent overall (42/95) and went 7-for-23 (30.4%) from downtown.
Dave Joerger was not happy after the game
“We did not come with the mental or physical attitude of playing with some force and (weren’t) mentally locked in enough. We can’t play that way. We’re better than that. That’s disappointing if we had a hangover from a long trip – a bunch of games – young guys – but we cannot let go of the rope and we’re not going to.”
Buddy Hield was the Kings leading scorer with 20 points. He shot 8-for-16 and four of his field goals were 3-pointers. Hield also grabbed seven rebounds and added five assists.
Marvin Bagley III put 19 points up on the board to go with eight rebounds.
Nemanja Bjelica scored 12 points and went 6-for-7 from the floor.
Sacramento outrebounded Houston 51-43.
James Harden was the leading scorer in the game with 36 points, and he made it a double-double by dishing out 10 assists. He went 12-for-19 shooting and seven of those buckets were 3-pointers.
Eric Gordon and Danuel House, Jr. each scored 19 points for the visiting Rockets.
Chris Paul scored seven points and distributed 12 dimes.
Kenneth Faried posted a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
The Kings return to action on Thursday night when they will host the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Rockets play the second game of a back-to-back on the road in Los Angeles versus the Clippers on Wednesday night.
The Sacramento Kings are now on the verge of mathematical elimination from playoff contention after losing to the Pelicans in New Orleans 121-118 on Thursday night. The Kings chances of making the playoffs were remote, but now, they are non-existent.
The Kings are just 14-23 on the road after the loss in New Orleans. That really is not surprising for a young team like Sacramento. Learning to win on the road in the NBA is one of the most difficult lessons to learn for a young team.
The biggest lead in this game was nine points by the Pelicans. The game was tied 13 times and the lead changed between the teams 15 times. This was the very essence of what is defined as a “close game”.
Julius Randle put a driving layup through the basket for the Pelicans with 8.7-seconds to go in the game to give New Orleans a 121-118 lead.
Buddy Hield took a potential game-tying 3-point shot from 28 feet away from the basket with 4.0-seconds remaining on the clock. Unfortunately for the Kings, the shot was not good and the Kings would lose by three points.
The loss dropped the Kings record to 37-38 on the year with seven games to play on the schedule. The Pelicans are now 32-45 for the season.
Key Performers in the Game
Buddy Hield – the Pels former first-round draft pick – was Sacramento’s leading scorer with 27 points. He shot 11-for-21 from the floor but went just 1-for-8 from 3-point range.
De’Aaron Fox recorded a double-double by scoring 25 points and dishing out 12 assists. Fox hit 11-of-22 his shots from the field. He also grabbed five rebounds, made three steals, and had one blocked shot.
Willie Cauley-Stein also put a double-double in the book by scoring 18 points and hauling in 12 rebounds. WCS who has struggled at the charity stripe went 4-for-4 at the free throw line on Thursday night.
Bogdon Bogdanovic scored 14 points in just over 18 minutes of playing time.
Marvin Bagley III and Harrison Barnes each scored 10 points.
The Kings were outscored in the paint 74-64.
The Pelicans won the battle of 2nd chance points 14-9.
Julius Randle was the leading scorer in the contest with 34 points. He hit 12-of-24 shots from the floor and went a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line. Randle made it a double-double game by pulling down 10 rebounds.
Christian Wood came off the bench and scored 25 points in just over 27 minutes on the floor. He sank 11 of his 16 shots.
Elfrid Payton put 16 points up on the board shooting 50-percent from the floor (7/14). He also recorded nine rebounds.
Anthony Davis did not play due to “lower back spasms”.
The Kings traveled to Houston after the game and will take on the Rockets on Saturday night.
The Pelicans will host the “hapless” LA Lakers on Sunday.
The Sacramento Kings trailed the Mavericks by eight points with 4:48 to in the game on Tuesday night in Dallas. The Kings then tied the game at 116-all with 1:33 remaining in the contest. Sacramento then took the lead on a Buddy Hield 25-foot 3-point jump shot, and the Kings never looked back. They won the game 125-121.
The victory evened the Kings record at 37-37 for the season. That is a 10 win improvement over the 2017-18 season with eight games to go on the schedule. That means the Kings could win 40 games which would be an incredible 13-game improvement over the previous year.
No reporter or expert would have predicted that the Sacramento Kings would be in a position to win 40 games prior to the beginning of the season. This season has been nothing short of incredible.
Why did the Kings win the game?
They shot 50.6-percent (44/87) overall for the game. The Kings hit five more field goals than the Mavericks.
Sacramento hit 10-of-23 (43.5%) 3-point attempts.
The Kings were spectacular from the free throw line. They converted 27-of-32 (84.4%) shots from the charity stripe. The number of opportunities and percentage of conversions represents one of their best performances of the season.
SAC took great care of the ball. They turned it over just seven times which resulted in just 11 Dallas points.
De’Aaron Fox was the Kings leading scorer with 23 points. His key contribution came at the free throw line where he hit 11-of-12 shots. Fox also dished out eight dimes.
Harrison Barnes made his first trip back to Dallas since being traded. The Mavs honored him with a tribute video during the second quarter. Barnes put up 18 points shooting 7-for-16 from the field and hitting 3-of-5 from 3-point land.
Buddy Hield saved his best until late in the game. Hield scored 17 points. He went a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe. Hield also grabbed five rebounds.
Willie Cauley-Stein put 16 points in the book. He went 7-for-8 from the floor in the contest. He also hauled in seven rebounds.
Marvin Bagley III and Bogdan Bogdanovic each scored 14 points versus the Mavs.
Luka Doncic was the high-scorer in the game with 28 points. He went just 9-for-20 from the floor but hit 10-of-11 from the free throw line. Doncic made it a double-double by recording 12 rebounds.
Dwight Powell put a double-double in the book by scoring 21 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. He hit 6-of-7 shots from the field and went 9-for-11 from the charity stripe.
Maxi Kleber came off the bench to record 17 points. He went 6-for-10 from the field including four 3-point baskets.
The Kings travel on to New Orleans where they will play the Pelicans on Thursday night.
The Mavericks travel to Miami where they will face the Heat on Thursday.
Sacramento — At the end of three quarters on Wednesday night, the Sacramento Kings held a 25 point lead over the visiting Brooklyn Nets, 103-78. The Kings largest lead of the night had been 28 points. All of the fans in the Golden 1 Center were settling in and getting ready for some “Showtime” basketball in the final period. Things did not go as planned.
The Nets – behind an incredible 27-point scoring barrage by D’Angelo Russell – outscored the Kings 45-18 the fourth quarter to end a three-game losing streak and defeat Sacramento 123-121. The stunned sellout crowd left the arena trying to figure out how the Kings allowed what appeared to be a sure victory to become such agonizing defeat.
This was just the fourth time in the NBA shot clock era that a team has come back to win after trailing by 25 points through three quarters. That is not the kind of stain you want to have on your season if you are the Kings.
Why Did the Kings Lose?
The took their foot off the gas in the fourth quarter. The looked at the scoreboard, saw a 25 point lead and relaxed. After all, there was no chance the Nets were going to mount a comeback down by that many points.
Sacramento did not hustle back on defense. D’Angelo Russell and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson made them pay for that as the two Nets combined for 39 points in the final quarter. Russell hit 10-of-15 shots including four 3-point baskets. Hollis-Jefferson was a perfect 5-for-5 from the field in the fourth quarter.
The Kings also shot horribly in the final stanza. They connected on just 5-of-22 attempts (22.7%) and went 0-for-8 from behind the 3-point line. They also turned the ball over seven times which resulted in six Brooklyn points.
Marvin Bagley III was the Kings top scorer with 28 points. He shot 12-for-15 in the game and went 2-for-2 from 3-point range. Bagley has been working on adding the 3-point shot to allow him to become a true “stretch four”. Bagley also played just over 29 minutes. That is the most playing time he has seen since returning from his knee sprain.
De’Aaron Fox added 27 points as he hit 10-of-20 shots from the field. Fox went 2-for-5 from downtown. The point guard dished out nine assists and made four rebounds in almost 35 minutes of playing time.
Harrison Barnes put up 17 points, added seven rebounds and played just over 38 minutes in the loss.
Buddy Hield did not have a “Buddy Buckets” type game. He scored just eight points shooting 4-for-13 overall while going 0-for-8 from beyond the arc. His off night was not the cause of the Kings loss.
SAC shot 51.6-percent (49/95) for the contest. They sank 9-of-25 (36.0%) of their 3-point attempts.
The Kings went 14-for-20 (70%) from the free throw line. Both the percentage and number of attempts are a little low.
The turnover to assists ratio was awful. The Kings made 25 assists but they turned the ball over 21 times. That missed the desired 2:1 ratio by a “country mile”.
Sacramento was outscored in the paint 68-64. The Kings usually own the paint when they win.
The Kings are now 34-36 for the season. They are 7.0 games out of the eighth-place and the final playoff slot in the Western Conference with 12 games to play.
D’Angelo Russell was the games leading scorer with 44 points. He shot 17-for-33 from the floor and connected on 6-of-15 from downtown. Russell made it a double-double by distributing 12 “dimes”. He made four steals. Hey Lakers, Mr. Russell is a Restricted Free Agent in the off-season. Maybe you should make a play for the one you traded away.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson came off the bench when it looked like it was going to be “mop-up” time and wound up scoring the winning bucket. He scored 14 points in just under 17 minutes on the floor. Hollis-Jefferson went 6-for-7 shooting from the field.
Jared Dudley scored six points in the contest. Why is that significant? All six points came in the fourth quarter when all the points were scored by three players – Russell, Hollis-Jefferson, and Dudley.
The Nets shot 50.0-percent (47/94) from the floor and hit 12-of-35 (34.3%) attempts from 3-point land.
Brooklyn hit 17-of-23 (73.9%) of their shots from the charity stripe.
BKN recorded 28 assists and committed 18 turnovers. The TOV’s were too high but they made it work.
They made 16 steals versus 13 for SAC.
The Nets blocked four Kings shots. The Kings recorded only one blocked shot.
The Nets are now 37-36 on the season and one-half game back of sixth-place Detroit in the Eastern Conference.
The Kings will return to action on Thursday when the Dallas Mavericks come to Sacramento for a 7:00 PM tipoff. This will be a chance for Sacramento fans to see rookie Luka Doncic and possibly see Dirk Nowitzki for the final time.
Brooklyn will continue their seven-game road trip on Friday night in Los Angeles when they will take on the Lakers.
The Sacramento Kings broke up a three-game losing streak on Sunday by devouring the hapless Chicago Bulls 129-102 before a delighted sellout crowd at the Golden 1 Center. After returning home from a very disappointing four-game road trip that saw the team pick up just one victory, the young Kings were in need of something to put a smile back on their faces. There were plenty of smiles after the game on St. Patrick’s Day.
Kings head coach Dave Joerger said, “… they do work so hard, it’s fun to see them get the result that does make them feel good.”
The teams played a tough first quarter that saw seven lead changes and four ties. It appeared that the Bulls had arrived ready to put up a fight on Sunday.
Sacramento was trailing 23-21 with 6.7-seconds to go in the first quarter. Bogdan Bogdanovic brought the ball up the court while watching the clock, took a step back behind the 3-point line, and sank a 26-foot shot to give the Kings a 24-23 lead at the end of the first period.
The Kings would never trail in the game again.
Why did the Kings win?
Sacramento was ready for a win, and they came out willing to work for it. Dave Joerger revealed after the game that their plan was to work the for a shot in the paint early in the possession (four to six seconds) then start looking for open shots outside if layups were not available. The Kings outscored the Bulls 80-56 in the paint.
The Kings shot the basketball very well in the contest. They shot 52.4-percent (54/103) overall and 34.8-percent (8/23) from 3-point land. They also converted 13-of-16 (81.2%) or their free throw attempts. Poor free throw shooting had hurt them on the road trip.
The Kings also banged on the boards. Sacramento out-rebounded Chicago 48-39. They also outdid their opponent on the offensive glass 15-10. The Kings scored 23 2nd chance points to 15 for the Bulls.
Sacramento continued to take very good care of the basketball as they turned it over just 12 times (13 CHI points) while the Bulls turned it over 20 times (25 SAC points).
Marvin Bagley III played an amazing 21-minutes of basketball (we believe the minutes restriction from his knee injury is still in place). He scored a game-high 21-points by shooting 9-for-14 from the field and going a perfect 3-for-3 from the charity stripe. MB35 also grabbed nine rebounds and dished out two assists.
The other young big – Harry Giles III – also played 21-minutes. H20 scored 16 points while shooting 8-for-14 in the contest. He also hauled in six rebounds, added three assists and blocked three shots.
And those other guys: De’Aaron Fox scored 17 points, Buddy Hield, 16, Harrison Barnes 15, Willey Cauley-Stein 9, Bjelica 8, and Bogdanovic 8.
All 13 players on the active roster saw playing in the game on Sunday.
Zach LaVine was the leading scorer for the Bulls with 18 points. You may remember that Kings tried to get LaVine in the off-season, but the Bulls matched the Sacramento offer to keep talented guard in Chicago.
The real star for the Bulls is “tankathon”. Chicago is 19-52 on the season and their real goal is to finish with the best chance to get the number one pick in the NBA Draft Lottery in June. Right now, they have the fourth worst record in the league and have a 12.5-percent chance in Zion Williamson sweepstakes. It is tough to be too motivated when you know your team’s goal is to be “the biggest loser”.
The Kings record improved to 34-35 after the win on Sunday. That is most wins for Sacramento since back in 2007-08 when the team won 38 games. The prognosticators at FiveThirtyEight.com predict that the Kings will win 39 games this season.
The Kings are off until Tuesday night when they will face the much improved and playoff-bound Brooklyn Nets at the Golden 1 Center.
Chicago traveled to Phoenix after the game and will play the pesky Suns on Monday night.
On Thursday night, the Sacramento Kings record fell under .500 for the first time since January 8th when they lost to the Boston Celtics 126-120. The Kings are now 33-34 on the season after this loss on the road. They are now 1-2 on the four-game road trip with one game to go in Philadelphia on Friday night
This was once again a battle of the tiers. There are three tiers in the NBA. Tier one is the upper one-third of the teams that are guaranteed a playoff spot and have a relatively realistic chance to go deep into the playoffs.
Two tier teams are the ones that are battling for the number seven or eight slots in the playoffs and may wind up in the draft lottery with very late selections. Tier three teams are tanking to get the best shot at one of the top three picks in the draft lottery in order to turn their team around as soon as possible.
Boston is a tier one team. The Kings have made the jump from tier three to tier two this season. That has been exciting for fans, but ultimately, it is going to be painful because each loss drops the Kings further out of playoff contention.
Why did the Kings lose?
The first reason the Kings lost was the play of Kyrie Irving. Irving is a closer. He is a legitimate superstar. Irving posted a triple-double scoring 31 points, dishing out 12 assists and grabbing 10 rebounds. As they said in the classic movie Glengarry Glen Ross, “Coffee is for closers.” Kyrie can have the whole pot.
The Kings also lost because they did not convert their opportunities at the charity stripe into points. Sacramento went to the free throw line 23 times but put only 13 shots through the hoop. A 56.5-percent free throw shooting percentage is just unacceptable for professional basketball players. This has been an on-going problem for the Kings this season, and it is a problem that the team must address in the off-season if they are to take their game to the next level.
Kings top performers
Buddy Hield was the game’s leading scorer with 34 points. He hit 14-of-24 shots overall and went 6-for-10 from long distance. Mr. Hield also distributed seven assists while turning the ball over just one time.
Willie Cauley-Stein recorded a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds. WCS added four assists and made zero turnovers.
Marvin Bagley III returned to the court and scored 14 points in just over 19 minutes of playing time. It is reasonable to believe that MB35 was playing with a minutes restriction in place. After the game, Dave Joerger said it was unfair to expect too much from Bagley having to come back in a “playoff game”.
De’Aaron Fox turned in another strong performance scoring 19 points while dishing out nine dimes and hauling in seven rebounds.
Harrison Barnes put 20 points up on the board.
Boston top performers
Kyrie – see point 1 on why the Kings lost.
Jaylen Brown came off the bench to score 22 points. His play proved to be a real “back-breaker” versus the Kings.
Marcus Morris posted a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds.
Where the teams stand after the game
With the loss, the Kings remain in sole possession of ninth-place the NBA Western Conference, but they are now five games back of the eighth-place LA Clippers. The Kings have 15 games left to play in the regular season. The projection has been that they would need to win a minimum of 43 games to make the playoffs. That would mean going 10-5 in the final 15 contests.
The Celtics record improves to 42-27 on the season and Boston has a very secure hold on fifth-place in the Eastern Conference. They have a 6.5 game lead over sixth-place Brooklyn. Boston is chasing Philadelphia for fourth-place. The Sixers currently have a 1.5 game lead over the Celtics.
The Kings made the short flight to Philly and will play the very tough 76ers on Friday in the second game of a back-to-back set on the road. The tip-off is scheduled for 4:00 PM PDT.
Boston will host the scrappy Atlanta Hawks on Saturday afternoon.