The Kings fell to the Warriors tonight, but two injuries to a pair of key rotational players may be far more devastating than a close loss to the most talented team in the NBA. Marvin Bagley attempted to grab an offensive rebound early in the second quarter, collided with a Warriors player, fell awkwardly, and immediately clutched his left knee. He stayed in the game for one offensive possession, but immediately requested to be taken out of the game following that bucket. The Kings later announced the injury as a left knee strain, but all expectations are for Bagley to receive an MRI in the coming days. Here’s video of the injury and his heavily assisted walk back to the locker room:
Marvin Bagley III exits the game after taking a fall early in the 2nd quarter pic.twitter.com/4YGyviqcEt— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) December 15, 2018
Bagley had to be helped to the locker room pic.twitter.com/xppPSQBp4H— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) December 15, 2018
Iman Shumpert was lost in the third quarter to a left hip contusion. He slipped on a wet spot after a steal and fell a bit awkwardly. We’ll keep you updated in the coming hours and days on both players’ conditions.
The game itself was a showcase of two offensive juggernauts, with massive runs executed by both teams throughout the evening. The Warriors scored 23 points in the first four and a half minutes, and although the defending champions put up 42 points in the first quarter, the Kings matched their pace with 38 points of their own, including 18 combined points on 6/8 shooting from Nemanja Bjelica and Willie Cauley-Stein. Golden State was led by Kevin Durant’s 11 points, as well as another 9 from Klay Thompson.
The second period was much of the same for both teams, although at a slightly slower clip. Sacramento refused to let the lead grow to more than six or eight points, but couldn’t quite close the gap, either. De’Aaron Fox closed the quarter with a blow-by drive against Draymond Green and the Kings walked to the tunnels down 76-64.
The third quarter started off poorly for Sacramento, despite 9 straight points from emerging star De’Aaron Fox, and Golden State worked their way to a 100-87 lead with just over two minutes left in the period. The
Kings of old, and most teams in the league, likely would have collapsed when facing such a deficit from the most stacked team in the league, but Dave Joerger’s squad held no such notion. A pair of late quarter three-pointers from Buddy Hield and Yogi Ferrell ended the third on a 10-3 run, pulling the Kings to within six points.
That run extended early in the final period behind buckets from Buddy Hield, Justin Jackson, and Bogdan Bodanovic, with a Bogi three-pointer giving the Kings the lead 107-105 for the first time Friday evening. Sacramento began to step up the defensive pressure over the last 12 minutes as well, holding the Warriors to just 10 points over the first six minutes of the fourth quarter, and the Kings built a 10 point lead with 4:23 remaining. The collapse began under a minute later, as De’Aaron Fox picked up his fifth foul with just over three minutes remaining in the game. Dave Joerger elected to remove his star guard from the game in an effort to preserve Fox’s availability for the final moments, and Golden State used those few minutes to wrestle the momentum from Sacramento. Kevin Durant scored 7 key points and the Warriors ended the game on their own 17-2 run.
The Kings may not have walked away with a victory, but they’ve twice faced the Warriors and have hung with the defending champions in both games. A seven-game series would certainly make for an interesting battle between the two California superteams.
Player of the Game
De’Aaron Fox: 25 points (9/19 FG), 6 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 steals
Highlight(s) of the Game
Put this man in the skills challenge pic.twitter.com/xQPvnHpGeZ— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) December 15, 2018
- Iman Shumpert’s injury showcased the lack of depth at wing for the Kings. Justin Jackson had some nice defensive moments, but Sacramento could definitely use an upgrade at small forward. If only a trade had just collapsed between two teams with a few spare forward between them...
- The Kings attempted 44 three-pointers, knocking down 34% of their attempts, and also managed to hit 80% of their free throws, a rare feat for the league’s least accurate team from the charity stripe.
- Dave Joerger stuck with his plan and played Yogi Ferrell over Frank Mason. The backup point guard had a rough night from the field, scoring just three points on six shots, but did manage to record three rebounds and three assists.
- Even with Marvin Bagley’s early exit, Harry Giles stayed glued to the bench, receiving a DNP-CD, probably the right choice in a contest as close as this one.