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Kings 83, Pacers 101: Another slow start dooms Kings

The Kings somehow managed to come out even slower than in their previous game, scoring just 13 points in the first quarter.

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Indiana Pacers Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

If you thought it couldn’t get any worse than Sunday night’s fiasco against the Washington Wizards, think again. While the Pacers weren’t hitting nearly as many shots as Washington did, the Kings struggled even more than they did on Sunday, scoring just 13 points in the first quarter and only 30 by the half. If it weren’t for a 35 point outburst in the fourth quarter with the game already decided, it would have looked even worse.

The blame can’t fall entirely on the youth here either. While George Hill and Zach Randolph sat out on Sunday, they were back in the starting lineup today and both were complicit in the slow start. Hill in particular seemed very passive and both he and Randolph had some very bad turnovers at the beginning of the game. Randolph did finish shooting 6-10 as one of the few Kings who shot well, but Hill was just 4-12 and had only 2 assists.

The Pacers on the other hand had five starters finish in double digits, led by Bojan Bogdanovic’s 17. Second year big man Domantas Sabonis had 12 points, 16 rebounds and 5 assists. 9 of those rebounds came in the first 7 minutes of the game, which goes to show just how badly the Kings were shooting to start the game.

Surprisingly, the Kings managed to finish the game shooting better than the Pacers from the field (42.5% to 42.4%) but the big difference was on the perimeter where Indiana made 12 threes to just 2 for Sacramento. Buddy Hield’s shooting slump continued in a big way, as he scored just 4 points on 2-9 shooting including 0-3 from downtown. Malachi Richardson even got 19 minutes as Dave Joerger was searching for some sort of answer on offense but he shot just 1-6 as well.

De’Aaron Fox was one of the few players to come out and bring a spark for the Kings. Fox scored a game-high 18 points on 9-18 shooting and also had 5 assists and 4 rebounds. It was a nice bounce back game for the rookie who had the worst outing of his early career on Sunday against the Wizards.

The Kings won’t have much time to rest on their laurels and think about this one, as they head straight to Boston tonight to face the Celtics tomorrow.

For the opponent’s perspective, visit Indy Cornrows.

Random Observations:

  • Bogdan Bogdanovic retained his starting spot at Small Forward after getting his first career start on Sunday. While he only scored 7 points and was outplayed by the other Bogdanovic, I’d expect to see him continue to start. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Justin Jackson returns to the starting lineup at some point, but for Buddy Hield, moving Bogdanovic to his more natural position.
  • Speaking of Buddy, the slump he’s in right now has to be mental because he’s too good of a shooter to be shooting like this. The shots he’s missing aren’t even terrible shots, he’s getting open looks that aren’t falling. I wonder if he might be better served coming off the bench right now and trying to get a rhythm with the second unit.
  • Fox can get that midrange jumper whenever he wants, but teams are content to let him shoot it. I want to see him try to take it all the way to the basket a little more and get to the line. He had just 1 free throw attempt tonight and that’s too low.
  • George Hill needs to be more aggressive early. He’s been very passive lately and it’s unfortunate since he’s a proven scorer in this league.