As optimistic as many of us were for the season opener, that feeling faded away rapidly in the second half. The Kings couldn’t convert anything on offense besides Buddy Hield’s three pointers and they kept finding new ways to turn the ball over. The Phoenix Suns jumped on every failed Kings’ opportunity, propelling them to a blowout win over Sacramento no one saw coming.
Sacramento closed the first quarter of the regular season up 29-25. It was a sloppy start for the squad but not with turnovers. The guys visibly are working on their chemistry on both sides of the floor. Buddy Hield came out scorching hot, scoring 11 of the team’s first 14 points making two threes and an and-1. He also grabbed four rebounds. A full season with a real small forward could make an underrated impact and Harrison Barnes got to work with seven points on 3-5 shooting. Cory Joseph made two crafty offensive buckets to get his time in Sacramento running.
Hield caught fire again in the second quarter, helping the Kings take a 50-39 lead and when the Suns cut into the deficit, he continued to hit threes to hold the advantage. Joseph continued to be a steady presence on both sides of the floor as De’Aaron Fox gained some momentum on the scoring end with seven points. Hield led all scorers with 22 points with Barnes adding nine points and five rebounds. For Phoenix, Deandre Ayton and Kelly Oubre Jr. had 10 points each. Devin Booker struggled with five points. The Kings led 59-54 to end the first half.
With Fox picking up his fourth foul with 10 minutes remaining in the third, the Suns gained all the momentum as they went on a 14-5 run to retake a lead. The Kings couldn’t gain any of their own momentum because they found new ways to turn the ball over every possession. The Suns went on to take a 83-73 lead late in the quarter as it would close at 86-76 in favor of Phoenix. Hield led all scorers with 25 points and Oubre led his team with 16. Sacramento also had 18 turnovers compared to nine for the Suns.
Not much to analyze in the fourth. The Suns capitalized on every single Kings turnover with ease. Phoenix did everything right on both ends as Sacramento looked uninspired all night despite Buddy’s points as the Kings fall to 0-1.
Buddy Hield: After scoring 22 in the first half, Hield only added six to his total in the final 24 minutes finishing with 28 on 10-19 shooting. He had five rebounds, two assists and five turnovers. A rolled ankle cut his day short but the score had already done the damage.
Marvin Bagley: Finished with a 14 point, 10 rebound double-double along on 6-16 shooting along with one steal and one block. Ayton dominated Bagley on the offensive end and Bagley struggled to make his looks.
De’Aaron Fox: Only eight points and five assists for Fox in 27 minutes on 3-8 shooting. Like Hield, he also had five turnovers but fouls massively limited his potential contributions in the third quarter where the tides of the game flipped.
Bogdan Bogdanovic: Two points, two rebounds and two assists for Bogdanovic on 1-10 shooting in 22 minutes off the bench.
Harrison Barnes: 12 points, six rebounds, one assist and one steal on 5-11 shooting. Played solid on both ends in the first half but failed to make an impact in the second like much of the team.
Turnovers absolutely killed the team. Sacramento had 26 to Phoenix’s 14.
The Kings ball movement lacked any type of creativity or even simplicity. They only had 17 assists to the Suns’ 31.
The free throw woes of last season hasn’t seemed to improve, but after one game it got worse. They shot 17-26 from the line (65.4%).
Phoenix used what Sacramento is best at against them, winning the fast break battle 27-11.
It gets tougher for the Kings as their home opener on Friday sees them welcoming the Portland Trail Blazers who will also be 0-1. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. PST.