CALL it a Comeback! Go Kings!
Sacramento took their 2-1 2020 record into Phoenix on the second night of a back to back. Go Kings! This would be a big game in the fight for the western conference playoff race. Both teams are still within clawing distance of that elusive 8th seed!
The Suns come into this matchup with a record of 14-22, one game ahead of the Kings in the loss column, who are 14-23.
Sacramento is still decimated by injuries, which not many people including myself, have talked about in terms of the Kings struggles this season.
That menagerie of lineups makes it hard for the Kings to have any consistency. Especially on a young team who is learning and trying to find it’s identity. Usually these learning moments come in the middle of NBA games, and experience is the best teacher, as they say…
Bogdan Bogdanovich was out again (Happy Serbian Christmas!) for the 3rd game in a row. Richaun Holmes hurt his shoulder in the 3rd quarter of Sacramento’s previous game and is out for this matchup. And Marvin Bagley is still out with a mid-foot injury.
Sacramento is already a “small” team, but with the addition of Holmes to the injured list the Kings front line looked to have it’s hand’s full. Especially against the larger Phoneix squad, featuring big men Deandre Ayton and Aron Baynes.
Would the Kings be able to win 2 in a row, on the second night of a back to back? Would the Suns win the season series and leave us slithering out of the desert pondering over our dwindling playoff hopes?
Read ahead and find out!
1st Half Recap
Sacramento got out to a 10-2 run to start the game. The game was back and forth in the 1st quarter, with the Kings going down by 5 at one point.
De’Aaron Fox has added depth to his offensive game this season. That showed that late in the first half with a CONFIDENT pull up jumper to give the Kings a lead at 48-47.
With .9 seconds left in the 2nd quarter Buddy Hield hit a 3 pointer that tied the game up 53-53 going into the half.
2nd Half Recap
Kings fans began having flashbacks of the inept basketball that the Kings were playing most of the 3rd quarter in Phoenix. Sacramento started off 0-10 in the 3rd quarter. The Kings fell down by 21 points at one point in the 3rd.
The Kings starters were in the game during the Suns 18-3 run in the 3rd. Coach Walton subbed starters Barnes, Buddy, and Giles out of the game and the ‘Bench Mob 2.0’ would be the men to make the valiant comeback!
The Kings defensive minded, veteran bench brought the game closer at the end of the 3rd quarter. They clipped it to a manageable 9 point deficit going into the 4th quarter.
To the 4th!
With 7:30 left in the 4th quarter Bjelica hit a 3 pointer from a step or two in from the half court line. The gave the Kings their first lead in a long time, at 95-93.
The Kings were in the bonus in the 4th quarter with more than 8 minutes left in the game. A rare thing for the Kings, but a welcome change!
Fox’s offensive evolution was on display in the 4th. De’Aaron complimented his crafty drives with continued increased CONFIDENCE in his deep shot. He hit a 3 over Ayton that bounced on the rim multiple times and dropped in, and then another long, step back 2 pointer.
Fox has added a lot of confidence to his deep shot, and pull up shot this season. He may not be shooting at a high percentage at the moment but his added confidence makes it so opposing teams can’t just pack the paint and sag off of Fox anymore. They have to respect his shot, along with his elite driving and finishing ability.
The Kings went up 107-100 with around 3:00 left in the game and never really looked back.
Phoenix scored just 16 points in the 4th quarter! The lockdown crew, aka Bench Mob 2.0, came in and did their work when the starters weren’t able to carry the load.
Sacramento beat the Suns 114-103 to improve to 15-23 on the season and only 1.5 games back of the 8th seed in the NBA west!
*Cue up Will Smith’s, ‘Wild Wild West’ soundtrack*
Individual Stats and Thoughts
Fox led the Kings in scoring, with 27 points on 9-21 shooting, 1-6 from 3 point range, and 8-8 from the free throw line!!! He also chipped in 6 assists, but did commit 4 turnovers.
Trevor Ariza had another BIG game off the bench! He played 31 minutes, scored 15 points, grabbed 7 rebounds and 2 steals, while helping the Kings make their bench mob 2.0 led comeback in the late 3rd and 4th quarter.
Dewayne Dedmon played his first real minutes since early December, and boy did the Kings need him! He played 31 minutes, had 12 points and 10 rebounds and helped the injury decimated Kings front court.
Cory Joseph also had a great game off the bench. Playing 29 minutes, scoring 10 points and only committing 1 turnover, while playing his lockdown brand of defense.
It will be interesting to see what happens if the Kings can EVER get all of their players back and healthy for a few weeks in a row. The Kings coaching staff has had their hands full trying to figure out lineups, rotations, player roles. And that was before all the injuries added to that equation.
The Kings have some POTENTIAL!
Team Stats and Thoughts
FREE THROW SWAG! The Kings went 25-28 from the charity stripe! The Kings went 25-28 from the charity stripe! No that wasn’t a typo, I just thought I’d reiterate. Get into the paint, draw fouls, get into the bonus, create shots from the inside out, RINSE AND REPEAT.
Even though Sacramento’s front court was missing the rebound machine Holmes, Sacramento still won the rebound battle 50-44 and only gave up 6 offensive rebounds to Ayton and crew!
CLICK HERE for Stats on ESPN
Going Forward! Go Kings!
The Kings take their 2 game win streak back to Sac-Town to face the NBA eastern conference’s 1st place squad Milwaukee Bucks on Friday.
Hopefully the 2 day break will give Bogi and Holmes some time to heal and get back into a lineup that desperately needs all hands on deck!
I predict a Kings…. loss.
It ALWAYS has been, and ALWAYS will be… GO KINGS!
Your resource for Sacramento Kings basketball recaps, stats, analysis, and ‘witty’ thoughts. Go Kings!
Written by: Tom Witt – ‘SpikeballTom’ – @tomtoowitty on Instagram and Twitter
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