The Kings go 1-3 on this Eastern Conference road trip, only coming away with a victory against the New York Knicks. The odds were already against them since they were on a SEGABABA facing one of the best teams out East who provide countless mismatches to Sacramento. The Kings trailed early but came back and kept it close. That was the story throughout the game as they eventually lose 123-114 and are now 33-35 on the season.
The first quarter started really poorly for the Kings. They trailed 17-8, made it 19-15, then fell down 29-19, but a late quarter surge from the bench cut the lead to 33-29 to end one. Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Boban Marjanovic were all having their way on offense. They were a combined 12-15 from the floor and Embiid had already grabbed six rebounds. The Kings were led by Marvin Bagley’s six points off the bench on 2-2 shooting and 2-2 on free throws. Harry Giles and Corey Brewer both provided a spark off the bench with Giles getting an assist, steal and rebound while Brewer got an offensive rebound on the fast break and put the ball in for two.
Led by Bagley, Giles, and Brewer off the bench, the Kings rallied and took a 43-41 lead over the 76ers. However, the starters came back in and didn’t match the same energy as the bench. Philly took advantage and went on a 12-2 run to grab their biggest lead of the game at 57-45. Giles and Harrison Barnes made some nice plays and the Kings ended the half down 62-58. The Kings were led by Bagley’s 10 points on 4-5 shooting and Giles’ eight points also on 4-5 shooting. Willie Cauley-Stein scored seven points on 3-3 shooting and grabbed five rebounds, while Bogdan Bogdanovic and Nemanja Bjelica were a combined 4-19 from the floor. Embiid and Jimmy Butler led the 76ers with 14 points and Simmons chipped in 10.
Combining the second half, the Kings started out the third quarter well. Hield knocked down some shots and Harrison Barnes hit a three to give Sacramento the lead. However, it all went south from there as Philadelphia regained complete control in the game. The Kings fought until the very end to try to take the lead back, but the 76ers always had an answer. Even when the Kings got a stop on defense, an Embiid block was waiting. The Kings fall short again and are now two games under .500.
Marvin Bagley makes this team so much better it’s not even a debate. He’s being limited with his minutes since coming back from injury and in his 20 minutes today, he scored 15 points on 5-9 shooting and going 5-6 from the free throw line. He added four rebounds, one assist and a steal.
Harrison Barnes continues to look good with the team. Despite two missed free throws and contested jumpers in the post and at the rim, Barnes shot well, especially from deep. He was 4-6 from three and finished with 16 points, six rebounds and three assists.
Harry Giles just makes the game easier for his teammates. We saw it multiple times today with passes to Bagley and a beautiful bounce pass to a cutting Yogi Ferrell for two points. Giles finished with four assists along with four rebounds, one steal and 12 points on 6-9 shooting in 18 minutes.
Willie Money Watch
I might be ending this section soon because Willie might not be getting paid likes he wants to. He will, but maybe not as much as he wants. There’s just too much inconsistency for a player I really wish would fix. He finished with 13 points on 6-7 shooting, seven rebounds and two assists. His counterpart in Embiid finished with 21 points on 9-19 shooting, 17 rebounds, three assists, one steal and four blocks.
Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic were both a rough 4-14 from the floor, finishing with a combined 23 points. You can’t win with these two combining for almost what Buddy averages a game.
Nemanja Bjelica was 2-11 from the floor, but many of those misses came from his inability to putback his own miss multiple times on one possession.
Sacramento was out-rebounded 49-40 and out-assisted 28-23.
The Kings only had nine turnovers and 20 fast break points. Philly had 11 turnovers and 19 fast break points.
Sacramento was 19-24 from the free throw line, which is at 79%. They improved from the dreadful 13-23 mark against Boston.
The Kings start a homestand as they host the Chicago Bulls on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. (PST). The Bulls are on a three-game losing streak (not counting their game today against the Clippers at 7:30 p.m. (PST).
This is not the result I wanted for my birthday :(