The Sacramento Kings followed up their best stretch of the season with their worst.
Sacramento shot just 27.9 percent from beyond the arc in its 122-114 loss to the Chicago Bulls, dropping its sixth-straight game. Marvin Bagley III had 26 points and 11 rebounds in the loss.
The Kings have to get back to being better on the defensive end. The team ranked No. 2 in opponents’ field-goal percentage and 10th in point against per game during their 7-1 stretch last month but have failed to keep up their defensive intensity.
Since the losing streak began, the Kings are giving up 123.7 points per game, third-most in the NBA over that stretch. The team couldn’t get a stop when it counted in Chicago.
Sacramento had an up-and-down two quarters to start the game. Bagley helped keep the team in it over the opening 24 minutes. He shot seven-of-11 from the field, finishing with 18 points and four rebounds. The Kings struggled from deep in the first half. They shot just 35.7 percent from the 3-point line over the opening two quarters.
Sacramento’s defensive issues were apparent during the first half. Chicago had 40 points in the paint over the opening 24 minutes and held a 68-58 lead at the break. The Kings also struggled to keep Zach LaVine in check. The high-flying guard completed seven-of-nine field-goal attempts for 20 points at the break.
It’s gut-check time for Sacramento. Everything that went well during the 7-1 stretch has come apart at the seams over the past two weeks. The Kings are still very-much in postseason-contention but will need to be better in every facet of the game if they want to end their league-high 15-year playoff drought.
Things won’t get any easier for the team, with a matchup against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday.