Whatever happened in the fourth quarter could’ve been insane. After the Kings starters went down 118-95 in the fourth quarter (they were down pretty much the rest of the game), the bench somehow made a miraculous run to give everyone a heart attack and closed the gap at 118-121. However, the Clippers scored six straight after a Frank Mason layup was “blocked” at the rim and they escaped with a win.
Another first quarter, another slow start for the Kings. While the Kings were struggling on the offensive end, rookie point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was getting easy looks on uncontested layups, plus a wide-open three. He scored 11 points on 5-5 shooting in eight minutes. Tobias Harris came up with 10 points on 4-6 shooting (his shot looked really good) and Montrezl Harrell was a problem again with six points, one rebound, one assist, one steal and two blocks. For the Kings, Buddy Hield was 2-7, Iman Shumpert was 2-6, and Yogi Ferrell was 0-4. The shots were not falling for them in general, as they were 11-29 in the quarter and 0-8 from three. However, Hield did lead the team with seven points as they trailed 39-27 at the end of the quarter.
Harrell continued his dominance into the second quarter, getting rebounds and easy twos. He went up to 15 points and four rebounds on 6-6 shooting in 13 minutes. It was just too easy for him. Harris and Gilgeous-Alexander stayed at their first quarter point totals. For the Kings, De’Aaron Fox woke up and took his point total to 15 on 6-10 shooting, with four rebounds, three assists and one steal. Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 11 off the bench with three assists, while Hield was 0-4 from three and 3-11 overall. Nemanja Bjelica only had one attempted shot in the first half. The Kings went down by 19 again and the lead went over 20 at one point. They were able to cut the lead down to 71-56 to end the first half.
Sacramento definitely made things interesting in the third quarter, largely in part to Bjelica’s strong quarter. He started making his threes and scored 11 in the third. He also got two steals to help get on the run, but a point blank miss by Kosta Koufos killed their momentum and a 10-point lead immediately jumped to 17 for the Clippers (100-83). The quarter ended 102-85.
The bench was cleared out in the fourth quarter, with Harry Giles, Skal Labissiere, Frank Mason and Ben McLemore all getting minutes. Louis Williams kept making shot after shot to have 22 points off the bench, including a mark of 4/5 from three. It all seemed over but wait what? It’s a 10 point game? Wait, eight? Calm down, six? A Mason three makes it three? What is going on? The Kings bench literally went on a 27-3 run to somehow make this a game out of nowhere but after a Mason shot was “blocked” at the rim, the Clippers survived 127-118. Kings fall to 18-16.
De’Aaron Fox played 30 minutes and scored 19 points on 8-15 shooting. He also dished out nine assists, grabbed six rebounds and stole the ball twice. He had a big second quarter in terms of points but could’ve been flirting with a triple-double had the starters kept it close.
Nemanja Bjelica was all over the stat sheet. After a quiet first half, Bjelica finished with 11 points, five rebounds, three assists, two steals and four blocks.
Willie Money Watch
Not the best game for Willie. In 23 minutes, he scored 11 points on 5-8 shooting and grabbed five rebounds. He looked lost on defense on multiple occasions.
Buddy Hield had another rough shooting night against the Clippers, finishing 4-18 and 0-6 from three. He has yet to hit a three against this team.
Iman Shumpert scored 12 points on 5-11 shooting.
Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 13 points off the bench on 5-12 shooting.
Ben McLemore was on fire off the bench in the fourth, with 11 points in nine minutes. He was 3-4 from three with a steal.
Sacramento was 49-104 from the field and were 10-30 from three.
They were out-rebounded by LA 50-43, but won the assist battle 26-23.
The Clippers had more fast break points than the Kings, 15-14. That’s one battle the Kings usually win every game.
The Game in One Sentence (and one question)
Give Harry Giles more minutes because he looked good in that fourth quarter frame (besides the offensive foul). Does McLemore deserve more playing time with how he shot??
The Kings return to Sacramento for a back-to-back tomorrow with a game against the Los Angeles Lakers at 7:00 PM PST. There will be no LeBron James or Rajon Rondo for the Lakers.