The Sacramento Kings started the game off strong getting whatever they wanted, it was just Bam Adebayo they had to worry about. Both teams were out multiple key players but it was Sacramento who rode a hot third quarter to cool off the Miami Heat. We saw some FIBA Bogi tonight as well as Buddy Hield’s great play off the bench. Nemanja Bjelica did a lot of everything and the Kings tie the season series with Miami.
Injury notes: Marvin Bagley III (foot) and Richaun Holmes (shoulder soreness) are OUT. New additions Jabari Parker and Alex Len are also out due to injuries. For Miami, Jimmy Butler (shoulder), Tyler Herro (foot) and Meyers Leonard (ankle) are out. Andre Iguodala, Solomon Hill and Jae Crowder are all NOT making their Miami debuts tonight either.
Sacramento started off really well with excellent ball movement and attacking the rim. They jumped out to an 11-3 lead behind some good play from De'Aaron Fox and Harry Giles. However, Miami found offense through three pointers from Duncan Robinson and company. Bogdan Bogdanovic made some tough threes and Buddy Hield set him up for a good corner three too. Hield made a three of his own too, but Sacramento struggled on defense by not being able to get rebounds. Miami got multiple second chance points and that's how they stayed in it. The Kings would lead 30-28 after one.
The Kings got off to a good start in the second despite a pretty low scoring affair almost halfway in. Sacramento took a 40-30 lead and put out their best Houston impersonation with a lineup of Yogi Ferrell, Cory Joseph, Buddy Hield, Bogdanovic and Nemanja Bjelica. The lineup didn’t fare too well against All-Star Bam Adebayo who the Kings didn’t have much of an answer for with the lack of big men depth due to injuries. Miami went on a 7-0 run to cut into the lead, but a Harrison Barnes tip-in stopped that. Bogi drilled two threes in a row and made the lead 48-37. Miami went to a zone on defense and the Kings offense was not good enough to beat it so the Heat were right back into the game. It didn’t help that the refs were calling fouls on every Miami possession on offense. Sacramento led 52-50 at the half, but they were fortunate to be up. Bogi led the Kings with 17 points on 6-10 shooting overall and 5-8 from three.
Adebayo caught a lob to tie the game at 52. Adebayo then blocked a Fox layup attempt but it should’ve been goaltending. Giles scored the first points for the Kings on a putback slam which was followed by a Bjelica triple and this was followed by a Barnes three. Bam still couldn’t be stopped by the Kings but Fox hit a three to get some offense going and Hield drilled a three on the following possession as well. However, Miami continued to answer with their own deep balls from Robinson and Kendrick Nunn. Sacramento was sitting on 69 points and Bjelica drilled a nice three. Sacramento extended their lead to 83-76 with Fox getting more aggressive and that’s how the quarter would end. Bogi’s 21 points led the way, followed by Hield’s 15 and Fox’s 14.
Bam threw down a thunderous jam to open the fourth, but beautiful ball movement by the Kings saw Buddy knock down a three and then Cory Joseph made one the following possession. Bjelica then provided the Serbian Special to extend the lead to 92-81. Bjelica then found a cutting Kent Bazemore for two. Read that previous line again. Buddy drilled another three to make the lead 103-88, good guys. Bazemore then blocked a layup from behind. The Kings didn’t score for a long stretch to end the fourth, but it didn’t matter. Kings win!
Bogdan Bogdanovic from the tip-off was superb. He was drilling every three he put up, moved the ball around nicely and paired well with every guard he shared the floor with. Bogi finished with 23 points (6-13 from three), four rebounds, two assists and three steals in a great game.
Buddy Hield came off the bench and did Buddy Hield things. Hield went off for 21 points on 5-13 shooting from three and added seven rebounds and five assists. It’s been seven games since the shooting guard switch, but it’s really been working out for both guards.
Nemanja Bjelica turned in a brilliant all-around performance. He needed to defend Bam more often tonight than he would’ve had the Kings depth been healthy, but offensively he shredded the Heat’s zone defense. Bjelica finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists while shooting 5-6 from three.
A quick shout to Harry Giles who finished with 10 points on 5-5 shooting along with five rebounds and one steal in 14 minutes. They’ll need him tomorrow.
De’Aaron Fox struggled from the stripe and missed some bunnies, but finished with 16 points, eight assists, one steal, one block and two rebounds. He went 3-8 from the stripe and that’s too concerning.
The Kings shot 19-44 from three, good for 43.2%. However, they were 6-12 from the free throw line.
Miami grabbed more rebounds at 42-36, but the Kings had more assists at 29-21.
Miami turned it over 20 times to the Kings’ 14.
Sacramento only registered five fast break points. Good thing they won.
The Kings are right back at it tomorrow against the San Antonio Spurs at 7:00 p.m. PST at the Golden 1 Center. The Kings need to win tomorrow for their (gulp)...playoff hopes.