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Sacramento Kings Weekly Recap – Optimism High After First 2-0 Start Since 2003

Game 1: WIN (1-0)Sacramento Kings 124 – Denver Nuggets 122 (Overtime)

The Sacramento Kings exceeded most early expectations, tallying a 2-1 record in their first week of the NBA 2020-21 regular season. That first week of regular season play was highlighted by the Kings first 2-0 start since 2003!

Inside The Sacramento Kings Weekly Recap

  • Sacramento Kings results – Week one of the 2020-21 NBA regular season
  • Look back at the 2003-04 Sacramento Kings
  • Key Moments, Notable Stats and Tom’s Takes for each Kings game from the previous week
  • Kings week ahead!

Kings Results – Week One

Game 2: WIN (2-0) – Phoenix Suns 103 – Sacramento Kings 106

Game 3: LOSS (2-1)Phoenix Suns 116 – Sacramento Kings 100

Sacramento finished their first week of play with a 2-1 record. Sacramento’s next game is Tuesday 12/29 at home against the Denver Nuggets.

Kings 2020-21 Schedule

Kings First 2-0 Start Since 2003!

The Kings first 2-0 start since 2003 was aided by a buzzer beating tip-in by Buddy Hield on opening night, as well as great team play on both ends of the floor. Most predictions for the 2020-21 NBA season didn’t look pretty for the Kings. Including many who did not think they would reach the .500 mark at ALL this season.

Even I was doubtful that these ‘Kardiac Kings’ could crack .500. In my Kings Season Win-Loss Predictions Part 1 I predicted Sacramento PROBABLY wouldn’t break .500 during the season unless it was during the first four games. I was HAPPILY incorrect.

Glance Back – 2003-04 Sacramento Kings

That 2003-2004 Kings team led the league in field goal percentage, three-point field goal percentage, and assists. Chris Webber played only 23 regular-season games while recovering from a devastating knee injury, which he suffered in the 2002-03 playoffs.

Sacramento acquired Brad Miller in the off-season, and saw an MVP type season from Peja Stojakovic – who shot 48% from behind the arc! The Kings finished the regular season fourth place in the NBA western conference.

Unfortunately, when C-Webb re-joined the Kings, the team was not the same. Webber had lost a step and a lot of confidence in that newly repaired knee. The Kings offense fell flat, often just staring as Webber held the ball in the high post, stagnating the Kings early-season mojo. Sacramento’s season ended with a second-round playoff exit, losing to Kevin Garnett and the Minnesota Timberwolves in 7 games.

Honestly, Sactown still hadn’t recovered, then or now, from the INFAMOUS 2001-02 NBA western conference finals 7 game series loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Sacramento Kings Weekly Recap – Week 1

Game 1: WIN (1-0)
Kings 124 – Denver Nuggets 122 (OT)

Key Moments and Notable Stats

The Kings season started off in ELECTRIC fashion! The final few moments of the Kings season-opening win at the Denver Nuggets featured a few tough defensive stands, some friendly calls, and a buzzer-beating tip-in by Buddy Hield.

Denver’s Nikola Jokic had an impressive triple-double with 29 points, 15 rebounds, 14 assists. Buddy Hield led the Kings in scoring with 22 points. De’Aaron Fox and Harrison Barnes each scored 21 points.

Sacramento out-rebounded Denver 66-53. The Kings also outscored the Nuggets in fast break points 19 to 11.

Marvin Bagley III recorded a double-double in his much-anticipated return from injury, after injury.

The Kings defense shined at the end of the game. De’Aaron Fox had a HUGE block from behind in the final few minutes, which really helped spark the Kings. The game was won on a last-second steal by Harrison Barnes, outlet down the court by Fox to Barnes, who had his final second dunk attempt partially blocked. Fortunately, Buddy Hield has a nose for the ball and followed up Barnes’ miss with a buzzer-beating tip-in!

That’s what we call Buddy BALL GAME!

Tom’s Takes

The 2020-21 season opener was EXCITING and exactly what Kings fans needed. This game gave Kings fans HOPE! The hope of what the team can be in the future – when they play as a team, play defense, pass the ball, and don’t let mistakes compound.

ESPN Game Stats

Game 2: WIN (2-0)
Kings 106 – Phoenix Sun 103

Key Moments and Notable Stats

De’Aaron Fox scored a team-high 24 points to go along with 7 assists. Marvin Bagley III notched his second double-double in as many games, adding in 13 points and 11 rebounds. Harrison Barnes also had a double-double with 11 rebounds and 11 points.

Sacramento got off to an 11-0 run to start the game. They held multiple runs by the Suns during the game and showed great tenacity and poise in tough situations.

Both teams shot terribly from behind the three-point line. Phoenix went 11-44 (25%) and the Kings 5-23 (21.7%). Sacramento dominated points in the paint, outscoring the Suns 62-46. The Kings also dominated the rebounding battle, 67-50.

Though, the Kings did commit more turnovers than they would have liked. Tallying 19 turnovers compared to 11 by Phoenix.

Tom’s Takes

Not many Kings fans thought they would be sitting at 2-0 the day after Christmas. In the final minutes, the Kings held off multiple Suns late-game runs, looking confident down the stretch against a playoff contender. One thing that really stood out to me was – Tyrese Haliburton was tasked with inbounding the ball in the final seconds of the game, a HUGE situation. The rookie looked confident, froze the defense and made a great pass to Buddy Hield to help seal the Kings win.

ESPN Game Stats

Game 3: LOSS (2-1)
Phoenix 116 – Sacramento 100

Key Moments and Notable Stats

The Kings committed only 5 turnovers in the first half. They went on to commit 7 in 3rd quarter alone.

That was compounded by De’Aaron Fox who was in foul trouble early, which negatively effected the Kings. The Kings couldn’t seem to get any ‘flow’ with their various Fox-less lineups.

After the game was tied at 73 with just under four minutes left in the 3rd quarter, the Suns outscored the Kings 43-27 during the rest of the contest.

Phoenix didn’t seem to focus on offensive rebounding at all – instead electing to have all five guys run back to the defensive end to stop the Kings from pushing the pace. This led to only 6 fast break points for the Kings.

Sacramento did a good job limiting the Suns trips to the foul line, holding them to 10/11 from the charity stripe. Though, the Kings did not take advantage of their free chances, shooting a disappointing 18-25 (72%) from the free-throw line.

Tom’s Takes

Fox’s foul trouble created many dilemmas for the Kings. One of those was strange, ineffective lineups. When Sacramento fell down by more than 6 points or so, they started playing ‘hero ball’ – forcing three-point shots, not passing the ball, playing out of ‘system’. It feels like they have a ‘deer in headlights’ mentality when they give up leads and fall behind by more than a couple of buckets.

With that being said, it is a tough task to win a back to back games against the same opponent. Especially against an improved Suns team, who are considered a playoff contender in the stacked NBA western conference.

ESPN Game Stats

Check back next week for the next installment of the Sactown Crown Report Sacramento Kings Weekly Recap!

HaliBURNIN’ Baby!

Kings rookie Tyrese Haliburton is making a positive impact on the Kings in just his first week in the NBA.

Haliburton has done a great job of making smart decisions while playing with confidence and poise. He has had some ‘rookie moments’, sometimes trying to do too much, not consistently making great ‘NBA decisions’, but that is to be expected. More positive changes will come with time and experience.

The ‘stat’ that sticks out to me from Haliburton’s first three NBA games is his discipline. He has committed just 1 turnover in his first three games, where he has averaged over 26 minutes per game.

Don’t worry Kings fans – I’ve already helped to start the EARLY push for the #reseROY NBA Rookie of the Year movement. More seasoned Kings fans will remember the #rekeROY days of Tyreke Evans winning NBA Rookie of the Year for the Kings for the 2009-10 season.

Final Thoughts of the Week

Assistant Coach Rex Kalamian is REVOLUTIONZING the Kings defense. I cannot wait to see what happens as this young team gets more time together on the DEFENSIVE end of the court. We saw full-court press, 3/4 court press, press after free throws, zone defense, deflections, blocks, gang rebounding… it’s a welcome sight in Sactown!

The positive is EASY to find, the Kings are 2-1 and had their first 2-0 start since 2003. That in itself will help boost the morale of the passionate, yet chronically woeful, Kings fanbase through at least mid-January, or until another loss… but that’s to be expected.

Upcoming Kings Games

Tuesday 12/29 – Denver Nuggets vs. Sacramento Kings

Thursday 12/31 – Sacramento Kings vs. Houston Rockets

Saturday 1/2 – Sacramento Kings vs. Houston Rockets

Check back next week for the next installment of the Sactown Crown Report Sacramento Kings Weekly Recap!

Go Kings!

-Tom Witt

TWITTER – @sactowncrown
INSTAGRAM – @sactowncrownreport

Website – https://sactowncrownreport.com/

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Sactown Crown Report – By: Tom Witt – GO Kings!

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