by Charlie O. Mallonee
The Washington Wizards opened the game with the Sacramento Kings on Sunday afternoon with a 13 – 0 run. By the time Sacramento head coach Dave Joerger mercifully called timeout with 7:16 to go in the first quarter, very few in the Golden 1 Center had any doubts about how the game would finish.
By the time the final buzzer sounded 48 – minutes later, the Wizards (4-2) had handed the Kings (1-5) their third consecutive defeat 110-83. Quite possibly more important than losing three-in-a-row is the fact the Kings are 0-3 at home this season. Even for a young team – there is supposed to be some semblance of a “home court advantage”. This young edition of the Kings has not established that home court presence as of yet.
Wizards were on a mission
Washington had been on a very tough road trip. The Wizards won the opening game of the trip in Denver, then everything fell apart in Los Angeles. After John Wall was very outspoken about the way he was going to go at Lonzo Ball, the Lakers beat the Wizards 102 – 99 in overtime. That loss led to some major headlines across the nation.
On Friday night, Washington had to face the Golden State Warriors in Oakland. The Wizards were in control of that contest until late in the game when the Warriors came alive to outscore the Wizards 33-20 in the fourth period. Golden State won the game 120 – 117.
That Warriors game also featured the “scuffle” between Draymond Green and Bradley Beal. The Wizards literally did not know until 90-minutes before the game whether Beal would be able to play or be suspended. The league chose to fine him and Beal played against the Kings.
Wizards head coach Scott Brooks made it very clear in his pregame remarks that his team had one goal and that was to finish the road trip 2 – 2. They met that goal.
The 3-point shot was the Wizards weapon of choice
Washington used the 3-point shot to perfection against the Kings on Sunday. The Wizards hit 17-of-34 3-point attempts (50-percent) in the game. That was not a franchise record. Washington has the 11th best 3-point shooting percentage in the NBA. Ironically, the team with the 12th best 3-point shooting percentage in “the Association” is the Sacramento Kings – except they shot only 27.3-percent (6-for-22) from beyond the arc on Sunday.
John Wall led the Wizards hitting 5-of-6 from downtown. Otto Potter Jr. sank three and Kelly Oubre Jr. connected on two from long range.
Every active player on the Washington roster played and scored in the game
The Wizards had 12 men on the active roster Sunday afternoon and all saw playing time against the Kings. Every Wizard scored points. John Wall scored a game-high 19-points and dished out nine assists.
Otto Porter Jr. put up 16-points and grabbed five rebounds. Bradley Beal – who in this reporter’s opinion should have been on suspension for his actions last Friday night – scored 15-points. Mike Scott added 13-points and Jodie Meeks recorded 11.
Every active player on the Kings roster played in the game
Dave Joerger planned on using a 10-man rotation on Sunday. When Garrett Temple sustained a cut over his eye, that changed the plan and all 13 Sacramento players saw time on the floor.
Bogdan Bogdanovic led the Kings in scoring with with 15-points going 7-for-9 from the field. Frank Mason III put up 11-points shooting 5-for-10 in his 21-minutes on the court. Skal Labissiere and Malachi Richardson each tallied 10 points against the Wizards.
Dave Joerger had some interesting takes on the loss to the Wizards
Wizards Head Coach Scott Brooks thoughts on the game
“I thought we came out defensively and contested shots and made them miss shots. We were really moving the ball well, and knocking down 3’s. It was probably the best that we’ve played on both ends of the court. Our passing, leading to open 3’s were just terrific. Hopefully, we can continue that trend. Defensive mindset was really good tonight.”
Kings management must react to the “boos” and empty seats
Kings head coach Dave Joerger made some comments in his pregame news conference about the starting lineup and roster being about player development. Everyone understands that Kings are in a “rebuilding mode” but that does not mean they will be patient if they go into a “G-League” mode. Kings fans are paying top dollar for the opportunity to see their team play at the Golden 1 Center and they expect to see their team at least be competitive on the court.
Having George Hill and Zach Randolph on the inactive list against a team like the Wizards is not putting your best product on the floor. If you want to experiment with a young, inexperienced roster, do it in Indiana or Atlanta where their fans will love the “blow out” and not feel “ripped off”. At home, the Kings need to do everything they can to win games. They owe that to their fans.
It is not acceptable to hear boos at the end of the first-half and to have a half-full arena as the second-half tips-off. Kings fans have worked too hard to keep this team in Sacramento to suffer experimental lineup after experimental lineup. Experiment on the road and be competitive at home.
Up next on the schedule
The Kings head out on the road for a three-game road that begins on Halloween in Indiana with the Pacers. Then on Wednesday, they have the back end of a back-to-back set on the road in Boston. Sacramento wraps up the road trip on Saturday in Detroit with the Pistons.
The Wizards head back to Washington and will face the Suns on Wednesday and then must get ready for the Cavs on Friday.