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Kings come out of the gates sluggish, fall to Pacers

The Kings had several opportunities down the stretch to tie or take the lead.

Indiana Pacers v Sacramento Kings Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

The Sacramento Kings had a legitimate chance on Sunday to come out like bandits and steal victory from the jaws of defeat from the Indiana Pacers. However, despite having a number of chances to make a game-tying or game-winning basket down the stretch, they just weren’t able to get anything to fall and the Pacers won 94-91.

Through three quarters of basketball on Sunday, it was shocking that the Kings ever had a real chance to win this game. Some hot shooting by Buddy Hield and sloppiness by the Pacers kept the Kings within shouting distance despite some pretty ugly basketball.

Whether it was the strange Sunday afternoon start time, a sparse crowd, or threes just not falling at their typical rate, the energy for the Kings looked off for most of the night.

Led by the hustle of Tyrese Haliburton, the Kings went on a run to start the fourth and ended up taking a 78-75 lead with 8:13 left in the third. That lead didn’t last long, however, as the Pacers immediately went on a 10-0 run led by the play of T.J. McConnell and Caris Levert.

The Kings then fought all the way back to make it a 93-91 deficit with just over a minute left in the game, but just weren’t able to connect on any of their attempts down the stretch of the game to tie or take the lead.

The Kings put up their lowest point total of the season on Sunday, mainly due to some major regression from the three-point range. After making a franchise-record 22 three-pointers on Friday night, the Kings made just 10 of their 34 attempts on Sunday.

De’Aaron Fox was pretty horrific on both ends of the court on Sunday. Offensively, he continued his ice-cold outside shooting and a surprising lack of completion on his drives to the rim. Defensively, he got absolutely torched by McConnell one on one down the stretch of the game and couldn’t punish his McConnell on the other side of the court.

After two solid games against the New Orleans Pelicans and Charlotte Hornets, Fox resumed his early-season struggles. Now through 10 games this season, it is getting close to panic-button time for Fox, who is on a max contract and is expected to be the franchise player.

After a slow start to the game, Haliburton rallied back to have a productive 17 points on 7 of 14 shooting. Unfortunately, he couldn’t hit when it mattered most as he had the chance at a deep three to give the Kings the lead in the closing seconds.

Through 10 games, the Kings sit at an even 5 and 5 and will try to crawl back over .500 on Monday night as they host the Phoenix Suns.