Well the Kings looked like they felt the effects of the Sactown Royalty staff being fired because they had no energy all game. They had a chance to climb back to .500 with the 12-17 Hornets in their way and the Kings came out flat. No answers or adjustments on defense, Harrison Barnes and Buddy Hield disappeared and despite a good game from De’Aaron Fox, they lose the season series. It’s just not acceptable and the Kings are currently 2-2 in the lightest stretch they’ve had all season.
Both teams came out the gate pretty sloppy. The Hornets were missing baskets at the rim and the Kings kept letting them get second chances. Offensively, the Kings struggled to get good looks but once they got the ball in the paint, they found more success. Fox made his debut, forced a bad pass turnover then found Buddy Hield for an open three with an extra pass. The Hornets answered with a 10-0 run as the offense clearly lacked chemistry. Charlotte took a 24-10 lead as they scored from inside and out and the Kings offense had no answer. They closed it out better with Bagley getting a big two-handed dunk while being fouled and Bogdan Bogdanovic knocking down a three. Fox had five assists in seven minutes, but the Kings trailed 26-21.
Trevor Ariza and Bogi each had unforced turnovers to open the quarter. The Kings had many shots go everywhere but in and the Hornets were scoring with ease. Sacramento shot 3-11 from deep with 6:56 remaining. Fox came in and the offense moved the ball around much better but they still weren’t able to drop in any threes, going 0/6 in the quarter. They also had defensive rebounding issues as Charlotte kept getting two, three and even four chances at it. Luckily, Fox slapped the ball away from Cody Zeller on the fourth try but Barnes missed a wide open three. Fox would finally make a three to break the drought. Then he made another one. Buddy was able to hit a corner three to cut it to 50-47, but then Devonte’ Graham would drill one with 1.9 seconds left and the Kings went into the half down 53-47. Fox led the Kings with 11 points and six assists while Zeller and Marvin Williams had 10 a piece for Charlotte.
The Kings had better offense to open up the third. Nemanja Bjelica had eight points halfway through the quarter, knocking down some deep shots despite one coming with a foot on the arc. Barnes and Joseph got in the paint and made shots as well. Charlotte’s big men brought problems defensively with their size and strength. Fox came back in and showed his ability to get to the rim and score two points. The game was even at 73 with 2:23 left. The offense fell flat for a few possessions until Bogi hit a three, followed by one from Bagley. Charlotte led 80-79 to end the quarter. Fox had 15 to lead the Kings followed by 12 from Bagley and Barnes. Marvin Williams and Zeller were killing the Kings with a combined 31 points.
Bagley jumped a pass to open the quarter but couldn’t keep it inbounds. Bogi gave the Kings an 81-80 lead after a stop and pop jumper from the stripe, then Ariza hit a corner three. Grant Napear said the Kings want Malik Monk shooting because of his recent struggles, then Monk scored eight in a row and Charlotte led 93-84 as they went on a 13-3 run. Charlotte would take their lead to 13 with under four minutes left as they got whatever they wanted on offense. Nobody other than Fox could do anything on offense and they lose.
The Kings get blown out in this game if it wasn’t for De’Aaron Fox. They looked incompetent when he sat on the bench and had life when he entered the game. In 29 minutes (a lengthy restriction), Fox produced 19 points and eight assists which are better than his season averages. Fox made threes when no one else wasn’t, but he didn’t have enough help either.
Marvin Bagley only played 22 minutes and made some mistakes on both ends of the floor to start his game, but cleaned things up later on and looked solid. However, he didn’t play much in the fourth quarter and finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and an assist.
Harrison Barnes could not buy himself a basket for much of the game, going 6-17 from the field and 1-6 from three. He’s been in a shooting slump as of late.
Buddy Hield finished the game with 11 points, but he really only had eight because he made a three at the buzzer. Buddy shot 4-12 from the field including 3-7 from three, but it was far from the performance needed to get a win.
The Kings were held to 37-91 shooting (40.7%) compared to the Hornets going 39/81 (48.1%).
The Kings shot 12-13 from the stripe (92.3%), but they needed to get to the line more often.
The Hornets won the rebound battle 62-43 and had more assists at 26-23.
Sacramento kept the turnovers low despite having five in the first 14 minutes of the game. They finished with 10 to the Hornets’ 16.
The Kings head to Indiana to take on the 18-9 Pacers this Friday at 4:00 p.m. PST. The Pacers are on a four game winning streak and just beat the Los Angeles Lakers. Maybe it’ll be a good thing for the Kings to play a tougher opponent?