The term “ugly loss” was redefined as Nets come back to beat Kings 123-121

IMG_2984
Bogi goes to the hoop Photo: Charlie O. Mallonee

by Charlie O. Mallonee

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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
IMG_2907
Fox takes the shot from the key Photo: Charlie O. Mallonee

KINGS

Top Performers

  • 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.

Team Stats

  • 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.

BROOKLYN

Spotlight Players

  • 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.

Team Stats

  • 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.

Up Next

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.

 

 

 

Kings crush the Bulls 129-102 on St. Patty’s Day

IMG_2488
Bagley shoots over Lopez Photo: Charlie O. Mallonee

by Charlie O. Mallonee

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.

IMG_2503
The bigs crash the boards Photo: Charlie O. Mallonee

Why did the Kings win?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).

Top Performances

IMG_2597
Bogi challenges Lopez Photo: Charlie O. Mallonee

Kings

  • 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.

Chicago

  • 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”.

Import Milestone

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.

IMG_2662
Bjelica hits the corner three Photo: Charlie O. Mallonee

Up Next

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.

No brotherly love in Philly: Sixers beat the Kings 123-114 on Friday night

76score
Photo/Graphic: @NBCS

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The road to the NBA Playoffs just became a long, uphill battle for the Sacramento Kings after they lost to the Philadelphia 76ers 123-114 on Friday night to wrap up a four-game road trip. The Kings will return home having won just one of those four games. At a bare minimum, Sacramento needed to go 2-2 on the trip.

Sacramento is now two games under .500 with a record of 33-35. The team is 3-7 over their last 10 and has lost three consecutive games. The Kings are mired in ninth-place in the Western Conference 6.0 games behind the LA Clippers and Utah Jazz who are tied for seventh-place. With just 14 games remaining in the season, time is running out for the Kings unless they can go on an incredible multiple game winning streak.

The Kings played better basketball on Friday than they did on Thursday night in Boston. They improved their performances from the free throw line and from behind the 3-point line. Sacramento took care of the ball turning it over just nine times.

It is not often that a team improves its play in the second game of a back-to-back set on the road.

Why did the Kings lose?

76WCS
Photo: @NBCS
  1. They played a better team. The Philadelphia 76ers are a talented team that should go deep into the Eastern Conference Playoffs. All five of the Sixers starters scored in double figures with Ben Simmons being the low scorer with 18 points.
  2. The Sixers shot 50.5-percent from the field. It is very difficult to win when your opponent shoots over 50-percent for the contest.
  3. Philadelphia won the battle at the free throw line converting 24-of-27 (88.9%) opportunities. It does need to be noted that the Kings dramatically improved their free throw shooting performance over Thursday night by sinking 19-of-24 (79.2%) of their chances from the charity stripe.

Kings top performers

  • Marvin Bagley III was not the Kings leading scorer, but he did score 15 points in just over 20 minutes of playing time. His playing time is being limited after missing five games from suffering a knee sprain. Dave Joerger said after the game that he hated to take him out, but he knows there is no reason to risk rushing MB35 back into longer minutes.
  • Harrison Barnes continues to show why the Kings would like him to exercise his player option on his 2019-20 contract or request to talk to management about long-term options. Barnes recorded 16 points, six rebounds and three assists versus the Sixers.
  • Harry Giles III put up 12 points in just over 18 minutes on the floor. H20 shot 6-for-9 from the field and pulled down four rebounds. He also dished out four assists.
  • Other contributors: De’Aaron Fox 16 points, Buddy Hield 14, Willie Cauley-Stein 13 points and seven rebounds.

Philadelphia performers

76Simmonds
Photo: @NBCS
  • Jimmy Butler was the leading scorer in the game with 22 points. He also added seven assists and six rebounds.
  • Joel Embiid put a double-double in the book scoring 21 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. He is just a force on the defensive glass.
  • Tobias Harris continues to show why the Sixers made a trade to get him as he scored 19, made seven rebounds and distributed four assists.
  • JJ Redick put 19 up on the board. Redick went 4-for-9 from downtown.

Up next

The Kings traveled back to Sacramento after the game and will have Saturday off. Sacramento returns to action on Sunday at 3:00 PM when they will host the Chicago Bulls at the Golden 1 Center.

The Sixers head out on the road and will have to face the “Greek Freak” and company in Milwaukee on Sunday afternoon.

 

The playoffs are “slip, sliding away”: Kings lose to Boston 126-120

atbosscore
Photo/graphic: @NBCS

by Charlie O. Mallonee

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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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

atbos3
Photo:@NBCS
  • 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

atbos2
Photo:@NBCS
  • 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.

Up next

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.

Kings steal one on the road downing the Thunder 119-116

KINGS 223 score
Graphic: @NBCS

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings entered the homestretch of the NBA season knowing that they needed to really improve their record versus Western Conference teams. As they began the game in Oklahoma City on Saturday night, Sacramento was 16-22 on the season versus Western Conference foes and just 5-12 playing those teams on the road.

After losing a heartbreaker to the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night, the Kings had to travel to OKC to face the Thunder who feature Russell Westbrook – “the King of the triple-double” – and the potential 2018-19 MVP Paul George who own the third spot in the Western Conference.

OKC was coming off a tough Friday night

The Thunder hosted the Utah Jazz on Friday night and had to really battle to come away with a victory. That game went into two overtimes before the Thunder finally put the Jazz away 148-147.

Paul George had to play 50-minutes. Russell Westbrook spent almost 43 minutes on the floor before fouling out in the first overtime.

The Kings needed to take advantage of the Thunder playing in the second game of a back-to-back set, especially when the first game went into double overtime.

First half perfection

Kings 223 hield
Photo: @SacramentoKings

The Kings did exactly what they needed to do in the first 24-minutes of the game. Sacramento shot 50-percent (25/50) from the floor. They struggled a bit from downtown hitting just 3-of-12 (33.3%) from long range. They dished out 16 assists while turning the ball over just six times. Those six turnovers resulted in eight Thunder points.

Buddy Hield led the SAC scoring attack with 18 points in the half. He went 8-for-12 shooting including two 3-pointers. Bogdan Bogdanovic added 12 points by going 4-for-6 from the floor. Marvin Bagley III came off the bench to score 11 points and grab six rebounds.

To no one’s surprise, Russell Westbrook led the charge for Oklahoma City who looked tired and out of sync right from the opening tip-off. Westbrook put 18 points in the book while Paul George was the next leading scorer with seven points.

The Thunder shot just 35.8-percent (19/53) from the field. The had just eight assists and turned the ball over eight times which resulted in 12 Sacramento points.

At the end of the first half, the Kings held a 63-49 lead over the Thunder.

The second half had to mean a Thunder comeback

Even if they are tired, a visiting team cannot expect to keep a talented team like the Thunder from making big runs in order to get back into the game.

The Thunder went on an 18-6 run to begin the third quarter and cut the Kings lead to just two points with 7:29 to go in the period. The Kings woke up and began to play their game. Sacramento went back up by 14 points with 2:24 remaining in the quarter.

With 36-minutes in the book, the Kings still held a 94-83 lead, but everyone had a feeling that the Thunder were not ready to give up.

The final 12:00

OKC used a combination of strong play from Dennis Schroder, Paul George, Markieff Morris and of course, Russell Westbrook to fight their way back into the game one more time. By the 6:26 mark, the Thunder had cut the Kings lead to three points.

Russell Westbrook would go on to score 15 of the 33 points the Thunder would score in the quarter. The lead changed four times in the period. OKC outscored SAC 33-25 in the final 12-minutes which is what made it such a close game.

When the final buzzer sounded, the Kings free throw shooting down the stretch allowed them to hang on and win the game 119-116.

Kings by the numbers

The win raised the Kings record to 31-28 on the season which allows them to remain in sole possession of ninth place in the Western Conference. The Clippers beat the Grizzlies so they are 1.5 games ahead in eighth place. The Lakers lost to the Pelicans (even with Anthony Davis held out of the game) which means they are now two games back of the Kings in 10th place.

Top performers:

Kings 223 MBIII
Bagley scores two of his 19 points Photo: @SacramentoKings
  • Buddy Hield led the SAC scoring attack with 34 points. “Buddy Buckets” hit 12-of-22 shots overall and went 3-for-5 from beyond the 3-point line. He also was very effective from the free throw line converting 7-of-9 opportunities.
  • Marvin Bagley III recorded a double-double by scoring 19 points and hauling 10 rebounds. MB35 also added three assists, three blocked shots, and two steals.
  • De’Aaron Fox also scored 19 points in the game. He also dished out nine assists, blocked three shots and added a steal.

Team performance:

  • The Kings outscored the Thunder 48-46 in the Paint
  • The Thunder won the battle of 2nd Chance Points 16-7
  • Even though they were tired, OKC scored more Fast Break Points than the Kings 25-19
  • SAC shot 45.8-percent (44/96) for the game
  • They hit 7-of-19 (36.8%) from long range
  • The Kings converted 24-of-34 (70.6%) from the free throw line. The key was the number of opportunities.
  • The team was out-rebounded 59-46 and still managed to win the game
  • Protecting the ball has become a key trait for Sacramento. They turned the ball over just nine times which resulted in 15 OKC points.
  • The Kings recorded 24 assists which denotes excellent ball movement

Checking the book for OKC

Key individuals performances:

  • Russell Westbrook was the game’s high scorer with 41 points. Westbrook connected on 15-of-30 field goal attempts and made 5-of-12 3-point shots. He also had a good night at the charity stripe converting 6-of-8 opportunities. Westbrook made it a double-double game by adding 10 rebounds.
  • Dennis Schroder came off the bench to score 14 points. The German transplant went 5-for-12 shooting.
  • Paul George also scored 14 points but he was 4-for-19 shooting for the contest. That 50-plus minutes of playing time on Friday obviously took its toll.
  • Markieff Morris put 10 points playing some key minutes late in the game for George.

Team numbers

  • The key number you need to know is the field goal shooting percentage. The Thunder shot just 38.1-percent (40/105) for the game. A team almost never wins a game in the NBA when they shoot under 40-percent. Yet, OKC came within four points of putting this game in the win column.

Up next

The Kings wrap up this 3-game road trip on Monday in Minnesota versus the Timberwolves.

The Thunder will return to action on Tuesday on the road in Denver against the Nuggets.

Kings For a Half: Nuggets pick it up after the break in 120-118 win over Sacramento

By Morris Phillips

The Sacramento Kings may have run wild in the first half on Wednesday night, but the third quarter belonged to the Denver Nuggets–with Isaiah Thomas in his debut, without Coach Mike Malone who was ejected, and MVP candidate Nikola Jokic reaching into his bag of tricks.

The Nuggets overcame an 11-point halftime deficit in the first six minutes of the third quarter and held on for a 120-118 win over the Kings.

Both teams concluded play prior to the All-Star Break, with the Nuggets moving within two games of the conference-leading Warriors, and the Kings temporarily falling out of the eighth and final playoff spot by losing while the Clippers blew past the Suns, 134-107 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The Kings started the evening four games over .500 for the first time this season, and they hardly looked satisfied, shooting a high percentage from the start on their way to an 11-point lead after a quarter. Buddy Hield put up 11 of his team-high 25 points in the opening frame that end with Sacramento leading 41-30.

The Kings continued to roll into the second quarter, and with their lead holding at eight prior to the half, Malone was at his boiling point. When Malik Beasley took a physical path to the basket without a foul call, Malone went from coaching to observing instaneously. Two technicals sent the defensive-minded coach to the showers.

“I think our players know me, they know who I am,” Malone said of his ejection. “I am a fighter, I am a competitor. I didn’t like some of the calls that were not being called and I am going to stick up for my players.”

Denver’s third quarter response was an example of why and how quickly they’ve vaulted to the top of the Western standings this season. With Jokic the primary ballhandler, the Denver offense turned poetic, a parade of driving, cutting and passing with the 6’11” center as the hub. Jokic’s consecutive assists on baskets by Torrey Craig and Malik Beasley brought the Nuggets within 85-83 with 3:09 left in the third.

Isaiah Thomas got into the act later in the third with eight, quick points in the final two minutes plus that allowed the Nuggets to open the fourth period with a 93-91 lead. Thomas, seeing his first action in Denver uniform, missed the first 56 games of the season rehabbing his hip.

When asked what type of impact Thomas will have on the Nuggets and their post-season aspirations, Monte Morris, a player who likely will lose minutes to Thomas, was quick to chime in.

“13 minutes out there (and score) eight points quick.” Morris said. “That just shows you right there what type of player he is.”

Jokic tipped in the game winner with 0.8 seconds remaining, which allowed enough time for a desperation shot from the Kings. Hield got a shot off that would have counted, but it merely grazed the front of the rim.

The Kings open the post All-Star break portion of the schedule in Oakland a week from Thursday against the Warriors.

The Kings feast on some home cooking as they crush the Hawks 135-113

atl score

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings returned to their home court on Wednesday night after going 2-6 on their longest road trip of the season. The team was in need of a rowdy home crowd and a big win.

Things started off rough

The Atlanta Hawks entered the game with a 16-33 record, but they did not start the game like a team that is in 12th place in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks opened up a 20-10 lead at the 6:36 mark in the first quarter as they were shooting near 70%. It appeared that the Kings were going to be in for a real fight as they opened their longest homestand of the season.

The Kings second unit stepped on the court and put some life into the game. By the time the buzzer sounded at the end of the first 12 minutes, Sacramento held a 32-31 lead.

The Kings made a statement in the second quarter

The Kings decided not to lift their foot off the accelerator in the second quarter. The team came out kept the pace fast and continued to score at will. They outscored the Hawks 35-22 in the quarter.

Sacramento outscored Atlanta 24-4 in the paint. They scored eight second chance points to none for the visitors. The Kings won the battle of fast break points 7-0.

Marvin Bagley III led the Kings scoring with nine points while Yogi Ferrell added seven. Hawks rookie Trae Young pace his team with 11 points.

At the half, Sacramento held a 67-53 lead over Atlanta.

The Kings poured it on in the third

atl giles
I’m Harry Giles – get out of my way! Photo: @SacramentoKings

Sacramento smelled the victory and decided to put the game away in the third quarter. Harry Giles III led the way for the Kings as he scored 12 points in just over 10 minutes on the floor. Giles went a perfect 6-for-6 shooting in the period.

Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 10 points in just under eight minutes of playing time. “Bogi” hit 3-of-5 shots including one 3-pointer. He also went a perfect 3-for-3 from the free throw line to go along with his three assists.

The Kings outscored the Hawks 38 to 27 in the period and led the game 105-80 after 36 minutes of play.

The fourth quarter was “garbage” time

That is really not a fair description of the final 12 minutes because there were players who received an opportunity to play that have not had the chance to see the court for a while. All 13 active players on both benches saw playing time in this game.

When the final buzzer sounded, the Kings had won the game 135-113. Sacramento is now 26-25 on the season and is tied for ninth place in the Western Conference with the Lakers just two games out the eighth and final playoff spot.

Atlanta now has a record of 16-24 and is eight games out of the playoff race in the Eastern Conference.

Kings Top Performances

atl buddy
Buddy Hield scored 18 points Photo: @SacramentoKings
  • Harry Giles III scored a team-high and a career-high 20 points in the game. He shot an impressive 10-for-12 in the game and added seven rebounds.
  • Marvin Bagley III had a double-double game scoring 17 points off the bench to go with 12 rebounds (five offensive rebounds).
  • Buddy Hield put 18 points in the book. He went 6-for-11 shooting, including going 4-for-8 from behind the 3-point line.
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic recorded 16 points and added seven assists.

Atlanta leaders

atl lin
Could Linsanity come to SAC? Photo: @ATLHawks
  • Rookie Trae Young scored a game-high 23 points and dished out eight assists.
  • John Collins put up 14 points and pulled down seven rebounds.
  • Alex Len scored 13 points off the bench hitting 6-of-10 shots.
  • Jeremy Lin, who has been mentioned as a possible trade target for the Kings, scored 11 points.

Key numbers

  • Points in the Paint: Kings 76, Hawks 40
  • Second Chance Points: SAC 19, ATL 8
  • Fast Break Points: Kings 25, Hawks 8
  • Biggest lead: Sacramento 29, Atlanta 10

Up Next

The Kings will be back in action on Saturday night when they will host the Philadelphia 76ers at the Golden 1 Center. Philly is 33-18 on the season and currently is in third place in the Eastern Conference.

The Hawks travel to Utah and will play the Jazz on Friday night.

Clippers lead the game wire-to-wire, down the Kings 122-108 on Sunday

lac bogie
Photo @SacramentoKings

By Charlie O. Mallonee

Have you ever had one of those days at the office when you show up and you feel that your rhythm is just a half a beat off? For you “old schoolers,” everyone in the workplace is moving at 45 rpm while you are dragging at 33 1/3 rpm. The was the kind of day the Kings had on Sunday in Los Angeles versus the Clippers as they lost 122-108 to close out their six-game road trip.

Sacramento never held a lead in the game on Sunday. The Clippers largest lead of the game was 25 points. LAC held a 16 point advantage — 67 to 51 — at the half.

The Kings came out in the third quarter playing with improved energy and appeared to ready to make a game of it. In the fourth quarter, Sacramento twice closed within five points of the lead, but the Clippers were able to go a scoring barrage that would allow them to open a lead as large 19 points in the final period to end Kings hopes of a comeback victory.

The victory upped the Clippers’ record to 28-22 for the season while the loss drops the Kings back to .500 on the year at 25-25. The loss dropped the Kings’ record on the road trip to 2-4.

Early Start
The Kings did have to battle an early start in the “City of Angels” on Sunday. Because the Lakers also have a home game scheduled on Sunday at the Staples Center, the Clippers always have to play the early game. That game has to tip-off by 12:30 so the second game can begin by 6:00 PM.

The early start may have been a problem, but then again, this is a young team that should be able to handle time diversity easier than older veterans.

Playoff Picture at Game 50
LAC holds the eighth and final playoff berth in the Western Conference with the win on Sunday. They are 7.5 games behind the conference-leading Warriors. The Clippers have won three consecutive games and are 4-6 in their last 10 games.

Sacramento is in 10th place in the Western Conference 3.0 games behind the Clippers for the final playoff spot in the West. The Kings are now on a one game losing streak and are 5-5 over their last 10 games.

From the Game Book
Kings

lac kings 5
Kings starting five Photo: @SacramentoKings

Team Stats

  • SAC shot 39.8% (37/93) for the game. NBA teams do not win shooting under 40%
  • It was a horrible 3-point shooting night: 8-for-36 (22.2%)
  • 44 rebounds – 8 less than LAC
  • The Kings recorded just 18 assists. That is not their game. They average 25.8 assists per game
  • The team committed 12 turnovers that resulted in 18 points for the Clippers
  • Two positives: 12 steals and six blocked shots

Player Stats

  • De’Aaron Fox was the Kings’ leading scorer with 21 points. He shot 8-for-16 from the field with one 3-pointer
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic came off the bench to put 19 points in the book. He was a monster at the free throw line, converting 8-of-9 opportunities
  • Buddy Hield and Iman Shumpert scored 16 points each in the game. Hield went just 2-for-7 from downtown
  • Marvin Bagley III did not start, but added 14 points, hitting 5-of-10 shots in the game
  • Willie Cauley-Stein flirted with a double-double as he scored nine points and grabbed 12 rebounds

Clippers
Player Stats

lac beverley
Graphic @LAClippers
  • Montrezl Harrell came off the bench to score a game-high 25 points. He shot an incredible 11-for-13 for the game
  • Tobias Harris scored 18 points, including going 4-for-4 from the charity stripe
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander put 17 points up on the board by going 7-for-7 from the free throw line
  • Patrick Beverly tried to post a triple-double by scoring 16 points, hauling in 10 rebounds and dishing out eight assists

Team Stats

  • The Clippers shot 47.7% (42/88) overall versus the Kings
  • LAC hit 11-of-29 (37.9%) of their 3-point field goal attempts
  • Los Angeles converted 27-of-29 opportunities from the free throw line (93.1%)
  • They dished out 35 assists and made just 19 turnovers to very close to that magic 2:1 ratio

Up Next
The Kings return to Sacramento and will host the Atlanta Hawks for the only time this season. Hawks guard Jeremy Lin has been rumored to be a trade prospect for the Kings.

The Clippers will host the Hawks on Monday night at Staples Center.

No Kawhi–no problem! Raptors beat Kings 120-105 Tuesday night

raptors kings 2
Photo:@Raptors

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Toronto Raptors handed the Kings their second consecutive loss in two days as they downed Sacramento 120-105 at Scotiabank Arena on Tuesday night. This was the second game of a back-to-back set that began in Brooklyn on Monday. The Nets beat the Kings 123-94 on MLK Day.

Battle of the Tiers

The Raptors are a Tier One team. They know that they will be playing deep into the month of May and could be playing in the month of June for the Larry O’Brien Trophy. Their 36 wins are the most in the NBA to date.

The Kings are a Tier Three team that is working very hard to become a Tier Two team. Becoming a Tier Two team does not mean that they would make the playoffs this season, but it would mean they would have very few ping pong balls in the barrel for the NBA Draft Lottery.

The Kings are just four wins away from matching their win total of the 2017-18 season, and they still have 34 games to play in the regular season. Sacramento is just 1.5 games out playoff contention, even after losing on Tuesday night.

Both teams played shorthanded

raptors kings tor starters
Up North Starting Five @Raptors

The Raptors played without Kawhi Leonard, who has been on an eight-day break. Leonard has now sat out 13 games this season and the Raptors are 11-2 without him in the lineup. That is what you call depth.

Toronto plays the Pacers in Indiana on Wednesday night, and it is believed that the Raptors felt it was more important to have Kawhi available for that game than to play against the Kings at home on Tuesday night.

The official reason for Leonard’s absence was “Rest-Load Management”. Some observers are beginning to ask if Leonard would be worth a long-term contract investment since he has needed to be rested 13 times in 49 games to date this season.

raptors kings scorers
Kings Starting Five @SacramentoKings

The Kings also held out three key players on Tuesday night. De’Aaron Fox and Nemanja Bjelica did not dress and did not play. That was listed as a coach’s decision. Iman Shumpert was also held out of the game for “Rest-Load Management”.

Coach Dave Joerger mentioned in his postgame comments that two of those players went through therapy on Tuesday without giving any details. It would be fair to project that Fox was one of those players since he has needed on-going attention for a shoulder he injured approximately one month ago.

The Raptors did not miss a beat without Kawhi

raptors kings saikam
Siakam jams it home Photo: @Raptors

Six Raptors scored in double figures in the win over the Kings on Tuesday night (four were starters):

  • Fred VanVleet put up 19 points to go with seven assists and seven rebounds. VanVleet has been the “designated started” when Leonard has been unavailable.
  • Kyle Lowry also scored 19 points and dished out nine dimes in 34-minutes on the floor.
  • Pascal Siakam put 18 points up on the board, shooting 8-for-14 from the floor.
  • Serge Ibaka had a double-double night, scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
  • CJ Miles came off the bench to score 15 points in just over 15-minutes in the game. Miles hit 4-of-5 3-point attempts.
  • Norman Powell was the last of the double-figure scorers with 11 points.

Toronto refused to let the Kings build a lead in this game. The biggest lead for SAC on the night was five points. There were seven lead changes and six ties. The Raptors’ largest lead of the game was 19 points.

The Kings had seven players score in double figures

raptors kings mb35
Graphic @SacramentoKings

Sacramento has some strong individual performances, but they could not put together the runs they needed to stay with the Raptors. Much like game on Monday in Brooklyn, the Kings kept things close in the first half then the game started slipping away in the third quarter. By the time the clock started in the fourth quarter, the game became a runaway for the home team.

Important Kings performers:

  • Marvin Bagley III made his first start of the season and he did not disappoint. MBIIIV scored a game-high 22 points and made it a double-double by adding 11 rebounds. It will not be his last start of the season.
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic put 16 points in the book to go along with nine assists and eight rebounds. “Bogi” also had three steals in the contest.
  • Buddy Hield scored a “quiet” 15 points in the game. He shot 5-for-14 overall and hit just two 3-point baskets. Hield did dish out five assists, but one has to wonder if fatigue was not a bit of a factor for “Buddy Buckets” in the game.
  • Harry Giles III had a very productive 22-plus minutes off the bench for the Kings on Tuesday night. He scored 11 points, shooting 4-for-8 from the floor.
  • Willie Cauley-Stein, Yogi Ferrell and Ben McLemore each scored 10 points in the game.

Key Numbers

  • The Kings outscored the Raptors 50-46 in the paint
  • Toronto scored 24 Second Chance Points to 12 for Sacramento
  • The Raptors scored 26 Fast Break Points to 16 for the Kings

Up Next

The Kings (24-24) will travel to Memphis on Wednesday to prepare for their game with the Grizzlies (19-28) on Friday night.

The Raptors (36-13) will face the Pacers (31-15) in Indy on Wednesday night.

Kings bounce back Saturday with a 103-101 “ugly” win over the Pistons on the road

pistons kings final
Graphic/Photo:@NBCSCA

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Kings began their longest road trip of the year on Thursday night with a disappointing 114-95 loss in Charlotte. That was a game that should have gone in the win column for the Kings on this six-city road swing.

Sacramento had the table set for them on Saturday night going into the game. The Pistons were playing the second game of a back-to-back set after having played the Miami Heat on Friday night. Detroit also lost center Andre Drummond in the first quarter of the Miami game when an arm in the face caused a nasal injury that would also keep him out of the game versus the Kings.

This was a snoozer for three quarters
In fact, you could make the case that this game was a sleep inducer for 44 minutes. After 36 minutes, the Pistons held an 82-74 lead over the Kings. Detroit was controlling the pace. Blake Griffin was leading the scoring for the Pistons and Luke Kennard was sinking 3-pointers with ease.

The Kings were just hanging on in the game. They were allowing the Pistons to set a slow-down pace. SAC was shooting poorly (26.3%) from downtown, and they were allowing Detroit to outrebound them. The Kings seemed satisfied to trail the Pistons by 10 points.

At the end of three quarters, things did not look good for Sacramento fans.

Welcome to the “Buddy Buckets Show”

pistons buddy zone
In the 4th quarter, Hield was in the zone Photo:@SacramentoKings

Buddy Hield scored 20 points in the first half of the game on Saturday night. He played the entire third quarter and scored no points while shooting 0-for-3 from the field. Things looked grim indeed for the men from Sacramento.

Hield scored his first points of the second half with 3:26 to go in the game. He hit a 27-foot 3-point jump shot set up by an assist from Iman Shumpert. That cut the Detroit lead to four points.

After a Pistons miss, Hield promptly cut the Pistons lead to one after he hit another 27-foot 3-point bucket.

Hield went on to hit a 17-foot field goal, a free throw, and another 3-point basket during his 12-point blitz.

The Kings regained control of the ball with 3.4-seconds to go in the game when they grabbed the rebound off of Reggie Jackson’s missed jump shot. Sacramento called an immediate timeout in order to be able to inbound the ball in the frontcourt.

Bogdan Bogdanovic inbounded the ball to Hield. Hield, who was surrounded by three Piston defenders, lost control of the ball but was able to regain control. He turned and jumped off one leg then shot a 28-foot 3-point shot that went through the bucket at the buzzer to give the Kings the win.

Sacramento escaped the Little Caesar’s Arena with a 103-101 win over the stunned Detroit Pistons.

“(It was) my first buzzer beater in the NBA,” said Hield after the game. “It was one of those things as a kid you wanted to do and you want to cherish. I hope I have many more to come.”

Kings’ numbers on the night (24-22)

pistons kings 5
Kings starting five in Detroit Photo: @SacramentoKings

Hield was the Kings leading scorer with 35 points. He shot 13-for-22 overall and hit 7-of-9 from behind the arc. Hield also grabbed nine rebounds (3 OR).

Dave Joerger was full of praise for Buddy after the game, but he also wanted to point out the performances of some of his other players. “De’Aaron Fox had a terrific game even though he didn’t shoot the basketball (well). Iman Shumpert had a really nice night defensively. Marvin Bagley fought like crazy. Harry (Giles) fought like crazy. Those guys are getting better. It’s a great learning experience trying to learn. They’re learning it doesn’t take losses to learn.” Joerger also added that he thought, “Willie Cauley-Stein was solid tonight.”

Other contributors:

  • De’Aaron Fox had a double-double, scoring 14 points and dishing out 10 dimes
  • Marvin Bagley III put in 14 points–many with Blake Griffin in his face
  • Willie Cauley-Stein added 12 points and six rebounds
  • Bogdanovic and Giles scored eight points apiece

SAC team stats

  • The Kings hit 40-of-89 (44.9%) of their field goals in the game
  • They put in 10-of-25 (40%) of their 3-point attempts, thanks to Hield’s fourth quarter blitz
  • SAC converted 13-of-18 (72.2%) free throw attempts
  • They were outrebounded 46-39
  • Sacramento recorded 30 assists and made just 13 turnovers, which resulted in 17 Detroit points

Detroit by the numbers (20-25)

  • Blake Griffin was the game’s leading scorer with 38 points. He was also the game’s leading complainer as he had something to say to the officials after every play. He was especially boorish to referee Natalie Sago.
  • Luke Kennard put in 19 points off the bench.
  • Zaza Pachulla hauled in 12 rebounds
  • Bruce Brown recorded a career-high 10 rebounds

Up next
The Kings left the Motor City after the game for New York City. SAC will play the Brooklyn Nets (24-23) on Monday afternoon at 12:30 PM PST. The game can be seen on NBCSCA and heard on the Kings Radio Network.

The Pistons also play on Martin Luther King Day as they will be in Washington to take on the Wizards.

pistons buddy post
One happy “Star of the Game” Photo: @SacramentoKings