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Kings 116, Wizards 112: .500 Baby!

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The Kings are in the 8th seed!

Kimani Okearah

The Sacramento Kings defeated the Washington Wizards in a sloppy, back-and-forth affair Friday night, bringing their season to a unexpected 3-3 record, their best start since 2014. Nemanja Bjelica led the way with 26 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block, while nailing 6 out of 10 shots from deep, and John Wall was the best player for Washington, recording 26 points and 8 assists before fouling out in the final moments of the 4th quarter.

The game showcased the strengths and weaknesses of the core built over the summer, as the Kings’ four best players, De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Nemanja Bjelica, and Willie Cauley-Stein combined for a +/- of plus-63, while the rest of the team account for a disappointing -41. That same core four also scored 83 of the team’s 116 points. The severe gap in production from the small forward spot once again reared its ugly head, with Iman Shumpert and Justin Jackson combining for just 1/9 shooting from deep.

Aside from the glory of an important win, the Kings did shine in several areas despite the cacophony of whistles that interrupted the game throughout the entire night. Sacramento won the rebounding battle 53 - 42, including an impressive 14 offensive boards, and also recorded more assists than the Wizards, while attempting a season-high 37 shots from deep. De’Aaron Fox also managed to push through his foul trouble and leave an imprint on the game, scoring 18 points, including 2/5 from three-point range, and dishing out 9 assists.

Play of the game:

Game Notes:

  • Willie Cauley-Stein flirted with a triple-double, scoring 17 points, snatching 11 boards, and handing out 7 assists. The big man is on his way to a large payday this summer.
  • Troy Williams saw his first action for the Kings and didn’t look completely incapable. He knocked in a three, as well as one rebound and one steal.
  • Buddy Hield spent some time at point guard, and while those specific minutes weren’t an unmitigated disaster, his ball-handing abilities are still lacking for a shooting guard.
  • Marvin Bagley was called for several legitimate travels and turned the ball over 5 times in just 22 minutes of play.