The Kings dropped their seventh game in a row tonight, sinking their overall record to 1-8. Although the losses are beginning to pile up, and future win possibilities look slim, this was a much more encouraging defeat than our previous three contests, if such a thing is possible.
This is what most of us expected at the start of the season: competitive games in which a few young guys play well, but the lack of overall talent on the roster is eventually too much to overcome.
Although a new starting lineup of De’Aaron Fox, Garret Temple, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Zach Randolph, and Willie Cauley-Stein was utilized due to George Hill’s absence (personal reasons), the Kings once again started off slower than a Chuck Hayes sprint. Fears of yet another blowout began to creep into Kings fans hearts when the Pistons opened the game on a 10-0 run and held a 22-14 lead midway through the first quarter, but thankfully the Kings were able to make a run behind Zach Randolph and Bogdan Bogdanovic, who combined for 19 points on 8/8 shooting in the first quarter.
Frank Mason III, Malachi Richardson, and Buddy Hield anchored the scoring and playmaking in the second period. Dave Joerger played a 13 man rotation in the first half, and after briefly taking the lead, Sacramento walked into the break down 52-49.
After an exciting start to the third quarter, including a quick 6 points from Willie Cauley-Stein, the Kings lost significant ground on Detroit’s lead. The Pistons won the quarter 33-25 behind a strong offensive performance from Tobias Harris, who scored 10 points on his own. A 14-5 run to end the 3rd helped Detroit build an 85-74 lead, and the Kings were never able to make a significant dent in the deficit from the end of the third.
The final period was back and forth, but the Kings couldn’t get enough stops to make a difference. The reserves who were extremely effective in the first half struggled to make any impact, and Joerger was probably a little late in getting his best players back in the game. An Avery Bradley three-pointer with three minutes left in the game put the final nail in the coffin for the Kings.
- Vince Carter picked up a technical foul after a minor shoving spat with former Kings legend, Eric Moreland.
- Frank Mason had the best game of his short NBA career. After a rough start with two turnovers in just four minutes, he continuously penetrated the lane for the Kings, which opened up the floor for his team-high six assists.
- Bogdan Bogdanovic is quickly entering the conversation as Sacramento’s most complete player. He’s the perfect piece for the starting lineup, and his court vision is the best on the team. He does need to be a bit more intentional in his scoring effort, as he shot an impressive 6/7 from the field.
- Just as Bogi looks great starting, Buddy also looks much more comfortable coming off of the bench. He had his second double-digit scoring game in a row, putting in 13 points on 5/11 shooting, along with a team-high 8 rebounds.
- Cauley-Stein recorded two dunks tonight, which increased his season total to just six. That’s completely unacceptable for a freakishly athletic seven-footer. I lay part of the blame at Dave Joerger’s feet for constantly having him away from the hoop, and part of the burden on Willie for his lack of aggressiveness in the open court.
- Skal Labissiere played only six minutes, but this is one of those times in which Randolph and others playing over him was justified. He picked up 3 fouls in his short stint and simply looked overmatched by the Pistons front line.