Despite missing three of their best players, the Sacramento Kings continue to play some of their best basketball during the stretch drive of the season.
Marvin Bagley III had 31 points and 12 rebounds, while Delon Wright chipped in with 21 points and six steals to lead the Kings to a 104-93 win over the Indiana Pacers.
Head coach Luke Walton deserves a ton of credit for keeping his players focused despite missing so many talented pieces. Sacramento has been without De’Aaron Fox, Harrison Barnes and rookie Tyrese Haliburton in recent games, but the team has won four contests in a row to keep its slim play-in hopes alive.
The Kings defense gave the short-handed Pacers fits all game. Sacramento held Indiana to 43.4 percent shooting from the field (9-of-25 from the 3-point line) and forced 22 turnovers. The Kings piled up 25 points off those turnovers and outscored the Pacers 62-46 in the paint.
makin' it happen @buddyhield ✖️ @MB3FIVE pic.twitter.com/wyAF1PCX2r— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) May 6, 2021
Both teams got off to a slow start on the offensive end. The Pacers held a 12-6 lead four minutes into the first quarter, which is when Bagley began to take over and brought the Kings back into it.
Bagley scored 14 points in the first and helped Sacramento to a 30-26 lead after one.
The Kings continued to ramp up their aggressiveness in the second. After getting some rest, Bagley got back into the game and picked up where they left off. He had 24 points (on 12-of-17 shooting), and eight rebounds in the first half as Sacramento began to pull away late in the second.
Marv's back like he never left pic.twitter.com/qo9nsMIFhL— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) May 6, 2021
The Kings outscored Indiana 44-28 in the paint over the opening 24 minutes and held a 56-47 lead at the break.
Sacramento came out of the locker room and dominated from the beginning of the third. Buddy Hield and Richaun Holmes combined for 14 points in the opening seven minutes and helped stretch the lead to 76-56. The Kings did a tremendous job defensively in the third, holding the shorthanded Pacers to just 21 points in the period and took a 17-point lead into the fourth.
With the San Antonio Spurs getting blown out by the Utah Jazz, Sacramento would be only 2.5 games out of the 10th seed in the Western Conference. The Kings host the Spurs on Friday before playing back-to-back games against the Oklahoma City Thunder.