On the first game of a back-to-back, the Kings came out really well against the Pacers early and had a lead after the first quarter thanks to Nemanja Bjelica’s hot hand. But after the first, the Kings were outscored 38-25 in the second quarter and they got close once, but that was it. Indiana made their looks inside and out and played lock down defense. The Pacers are the better team and they showed it as the Kings drop to 12-16.
Both Bogdan Bogdanovic (ankle) and Trevor Ariza (personal reasons) were unavailable for the Kings today. It was back and forth action for much of the first quarter. Malcolm Brogdon was showing how much he’s improved early on and Myles Turner drilled a good three. Nemanja Bjelica was the man for the Kings. Besides getting blocked on a drive, Bjelica was very successful all over the floor going for 13 points on 5-8 shooting. Cory Joseph also made a three. De’Aaron Fox, Marvin Bagley and Justin James all came off the bench and combined for nine points with James hitting a corner three. The Kings went on a 10-0 run but the Pacers closed out better and trailed the Kings 32-30.
The Kings came out massively flat in the second quarter and two sloppy turnovers were the culprits. Buddy Hield and Cory Joseph both made lazy passes that resulted in turnovers and the Pacers made two threes off of them. The ball wasn’t moving as much and even if it did, the Kings missed their shots. Bagley and Domantas Sabonis were battling down low with each getting their way offensively. Indiana took a 53-42 lead with six minutes left. The Kings were able to cut into the deficit thanks to Richaun Holmes feasting on dunk after dunk. Holmes had 14 points on 7-7 shooting. The Kings made it 62-57, but allowed six straight points and went into the half down 68-57. Bjelica still had 13 points and Bagley had eight on 3-5 shooting. Fox added four points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals.
The third quarter started horribly for Sacramento. They couldn’t make their shots and Turner was converting multiple and-1’s the other way. It quickly went up to a large double-digit lead for the Pacers and it kept getting bigger. Luke Walton rolled out a lineup consisting of Bagley, Bjelica and Holmes together. Bagley drilled a three and had two good defensive possessions in a row, including a block and steal. But he missed a three badly and then got blocked on a drive to the rim shortly after. The Kings were being outscored 20-9 in the third, but ended the quarter being outscored 24-22. They made a small run to get a chance in the fourth thanks to two threes from Justin James, including one from halfcourt at the buzzer. Kings trailed 92-79 and James had 10 off the bench with 3-4 from deep.
Bagley made the first basket of the quarter, then the Kings allowed multiple threes on defense and fell victim to another large deficit again. The backups came in for Sacramento and that signaled the loss.
Richaun Holmes only played 24 minutes (fourth quarter factored in) but was spectacular for the Kings. He finished with 20 points on 9-10 shooting along with nine rebounds and a block.
Justin James was called on to play more minutes because of Ariza’s absence and came out strong knocking down threes and playing good defense. He finished with 14 points (3-5 from three), three rebounds, two assists and a block.
Marvin Bagley finished with 17 points on 6-12 shooting, five rebounds, one assist and three blocks in 27 minutes. He played in the fourth when the game was already over but was solid prior to that. More Bagley with Holmes minutes are needed.
De’Aaron Fox came off the bench and finished with eight points, five rebounds, six assists and three steals.
Buddy Hield could not buy a basket today, ending the game 3-15 from the floor including 1-9 from three. That’s exactly what the Kings don’t need from the $100 million man. He added eight rebounds and six assists.
Harrison Barnes had five points in 26 minutes. Kings can’t have that either from the $85 million forward.
The Pacers were 14-31 from deep (45.2%) and 45-86 overall (52.3%).
The Kings were 13-15 from the stripe (86.7%).
Sacramento had more rebounds at 42-39, but less assists at 34-25.
Indiana only had nine turnovers to the Kings’ 12.
The Kings head to Memphis tomorrow to play the Grizzlies at 5:00 p.m. PST. Memphis is currently 10-18.