The Kings needed to win this game. They came in winning five of their last seven and the Spurs lost five of their last seven. The Spurs are also narrowly ahead of them in the playoff standings and the Milwaukee Bucks are the next opponent. Buddy Hield chose a great game to shoot 9-10 from three in one of the best three point performances you will ever see and Harrison Barnes added 25 points on 9-13 shooting.
Injury notes: Marvin Bagley, Richaun Holmes, Alex Len and Jabari Parker are all OUT. No injuries for the Spurs.
Sacramento clearly showed signs of a team on a SEGABABA as they were slow on offense and had seven points on the board with five minutes in the quarter. They turned it up a notch towards the end thanks to some threes from Kent Bazemore and Buddy Hield, who drilled one right at the buzzer to give Sacramento a 24-23 edge after one. Nemanja Bjelica also pulled out a beautiful sidestep move to free himself from multiple defenders and finished with a layup. Sacramento's interior defense was putrid but it was understandable due to the lack of rim protection available.
The Kings jumped to a good start in the second through some hot three point shooting. They were 4-5 from that range with Hield and Bazemore knocking some down. Bazemore then would attack Patty Mills down low with some fast post moves and then jump-stopped his way to a basket. Bazemore overall provided solid minutes on both ends. The Spurs continued to go after the paint and get their points there and the Kings didn’t usually have answer. San Antonio made two threes and would cut the lead to 50-49. De’Aaron Fox was fouled with 1.7 seconds left and made both free throws to take a 52-49 lead at the half. Hield’s 10 points on 4-6 shooting led Sacramento but four other Kings’ player had eight or nine points.
The Spurs started hitting more of their shots in the third and outscored the Kings 28-18 halfway through the quarter. Bryn Forbes was the player causing havoc for the Kings knocking down shots from anywhere. The Spurs held the lead for a good portion of the quarter but then the eruption started for Sacramento. A 15-0 run that was technically a 19-2 run started for the Kings. Buddy Hield drilled three after three even when contested, Bazemore joined in with a three and Cory Joseph putback a missed Hield three right at the buzzer. Insane ending.
Bjelica started off the fourth with a corner three from Giles. Hield then knocked down another three after and eventually made another one. It was a clinic from Hield from downtown. Barnes went in the post and found a cutting Giles who threw down a two-handed jam with the foul. Giles hyped up the crowd and made the free throw. DeMar DeRozan was ejected from the game and Barnes made the free throws on the technical fouls. The Kings were able to close out the game strong due to hot shooting and blow out the Spurs.
Buddy Hield obviously is the reason this game blew wide open. His 9-10 shooting was impossible to stop en route to a 31 point performance. He also added six rebounds, five assists and two steals.
Harrison Barnes had his way on both ends on the floor, both in the post and covering the wings of San Antonio. Barnes finished with 25 points on 9-13 shooting, seven rebounds and four assists.
Kent Bazemore chipped in 15 points off the bench and shot 3-7 from three to combine with the torching Hield. He also added three rebounds, two assists and a steal.
The Kings shot 19-34 from three, good for 54.3% and it doesn’t get much better than that. However they were 13-20 from the free throw line.
San Antonio won the rebound battle 41-39 but the Kings assisted more at 25-23.
Sacramento only turned it over 11 times. Winning basketball.
Both teams had 48 points in the paint and 11 fast break points.
The Kings go to Milwaukee on Monday to play the best team in the league at 5:00 p.m. PST. It’s going to be a difficult game.