For the first time since the 2003-04 campaign, the Sacramento Kings are 2-0 to start an NBA season.
Point guard De’Aaron Fox had 24 points and seven assists, while Marvin Bagley III finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds for his second double-double in as many games as the Kings beat the Phoenix Suns 106-103.
Just like in the season-opening win over the Denver Nuggets, this game was close down the stretch. This time, it was center Richaun Holmes who came up big to help seal the win.
Sacramento led 99-97 with 1:43 left to go when Holmes rebounded a Harrison Barnes miss and completed a three-point play to put the Kings up by five. Chris Paul responded with a jumper and a free throw to cut into the lead, but Holmes stepped up once again.
Clean up those boards, Richaun pic.twitter.com/UZSpKUdEYE— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) December 27, 2020
He corralled a Buddy Hield miss with 50 seconds left in the game and was fouled on his putback attempt. Holmes made both free throws to extend the lead back to four, and the Kings never looked back.
Sacramento was dominant on the boards once again. The team finished with 15 offensive rebounds and had the overall advantage over Phoenix as well, out-rebounding the Suns 56-40.
We are only two games into the season, but the Kings look like a completely different team than what we saw during the NBA restart in Orlando. Fox is playing with an All-Star level of confidence and continues to breakdown the defense with ease.
Barnes has been one of the team’s best players while Holmes, Bagley and free-agent acquisition Hassan Whiteside — who had eight points and eight rebounds in 15 minutes — have been dominant on the glass.
The most encouraging part of the 2-0 start is that Sacramento has beaten two teams projected to be among the Western Conference’s upper echelon. When the Suns took the lead late in the third quarter, the Kings didn’t fold under pressure. They went toe-to-toe with Phoenix and made enough plays to escape with yet another win.
Sacramento’s team defense also looks much better than it did under head coach Luke Walton last season. The Kings’ rotations have been quicker and they’re forcing the opposition into tougher shots, something that they couldn’t do consistently enough a season ago.
Again, it’s only two games in, but Sacramento is off to a great start.
What are your main takeaways from the win?