Moral victories are not the way right now, but considering the injuries that Sacramento had coming into the game, coming back from a big deficit and keeping it manageable for a late comeback was better than expected. Especially since the Kings could’ve called it a night once Milwaukee took a big lead to end the first. Harrison Barnes got dinged up in the fourth quarter, so add him to the long list of injuries the Kings have sustained. The Bucks closed it out and that’s what you would expect from a now 34-6 squad.
Injury notes: Bogdan Bogdanovic (ankle) is OUT. Richaun Holmes (shoulder) is OUT. Marvin Bagley (foot) is OUT. Ersan Ilyasova (knee) is OUT for Milwaukee.
Harry Giles got the start and drew a foul on Giannis Antetokounmpo for early free throws. Buddy Hield made a fallaway mid-range shot which was a good sight to see considering his inside the arc struggles. Giles once again went down low against Brook Lopez and finished with a quicky lefty layup. The Kings held a 12-7 lead, but the Bucks went on a quick 7-0 run following a Giles missed jumper and Fox turnover to take the lead. Milwaukee got fantastic play from Eric Bledsoe who had 11 points on 5/5 shooting. Hield had two threes wiped away on offensive fouls by big men attempting to screen. The Bucks went on a 22-4 run to lead 29-16 and the quarter ended 34-18. Bledsoe led the Bucks in scoring and four Kings’ starters were tied with four points.
The Kings decided to become the Golden State Warriors from earlier in the week as they could not a three to save their life. After a Cory Joseph miss, they were now 0-11 from deep but many of the looks that guys like De’Aaron Fox, Dewayne Dedmon and Trevor Ariza got were wide open. Not much you can do if you can’t make the open ones. Nemanja Bjelica finally splashed one in to stop the drought, but they still couldn’t do anything defensively. Sacramento chipped into the lead with a 14-2 run to cut it to 49-43 after a big Ariza dunk. The Kings outscored the Bucks 26-19 and trailed 53-44 at the half. Fox’s 10 points led the way followed by nine from Barnes. Bledsoe scored 17 on 8-10 shooting for Milwaukee.
Sacramento brought the game to just three as their offense looked much better and making their shots definitely aided them. Giles recklessly fouled Khris Middleton on a three point attempt, but Middleton missed two of the free throws and a Hield three followed by a Bjelica floater made it 60-59, Bucks. A left-handed turnaround hook by Giles gave the Kings the lead. Giles made a tough basket down low, but then ran right into Bledsoe who got three free throws. Milwaukee answered with their own run to retake the lead at 80-66. The Bucks eventually led by 18 again and the quarter ended at 90-75. Fox’s 17 points still led the Kings while Middleton scored 23 points on 8-10 shooting.
The Kings shot themselves in the foot early in the fourth with some good looks being missed. The backcourt for the Kings made some plays that cut the lead a bit, but Bledsoe and Middleton continued to do what they have been all game long on offense. Barnes attempted a eurostep on a fastbreak, but collided with knee-to-thigh with a defender and went to the bench, but he did make the shot. Kyle Guy made his NBA debut, signaling the Kings knowing the game is out of reach. Kings drops to 15-24.
De’Aaron Fox was one rebound short of a triple-double today, going for 19 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists to go with four steals and two blocks. Fox played solid with good defensive guards in Milwaukee, but his six turnovers also didn’t help. He slipped and fumbled the ball on back-to-back possessions in the fourth.
Harrison Barnes played great on both ends of the floor and can step up when needed. He also finished with 19 points on 8-13 shooting, three assists, one rebound and one steal.
Nemanja Bjelica’s status coming into the game was up in the air following the ankle injury he suffered versus Phoenix, but played 40 minutes and notched a 12 point, 13 rebound double-double. He added four assists and a block.
Harry Giles had 10 points and five rebounds in 15 minutes, but after a crucial foul on a three point play that completely swung the momentum in the third, he never saw the floor again. The fouls continue to be Giles’ biggest problem.
Trevor Ariza provided another good game off the bench going for 11 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three steals in 32 minutes.
The Kings shot 10-35 from three (28.6%) following some good shooting performances from deep. They were 8-10 from the line.
Milwaukee had more rebounds at 52-45 and more assists at 29-26.
Both teams had 17 fast break points.
The Kings host the 18-21 Orlando Magic on Monday at 7:00 p.m. PST. Orlando will be coming off a loss to the Phoenix Suns.