As I mentioned in our last postgame review, tonight — and this road trip as a whole — were going to be a good litmus test to see just how good the Kings truly are. Unfortunately, the Sacramento Kings were unable to come away with the win against the Milwaukee Bucks, falling 113-126. However, I actually thought the Kings played well.
A loss is never a good thing no matter the situation. But as losses come, this one is definitely a “better” one. The Bucks are obviously one of the NBA’s best teams and are capable of winning a title this season, and despite the final score, the Kings made them work for this win. It was a competitive game up until the final minutes with the deficit being as low as four points at the 6:15 mark in the fourth quarter.
Here are a few takeaways from the game.
What’s really going on with De’Aaron Fox?
Tonight, De’Aaron Fox passed Mitch Richmond to move into ninth all-time in franchise assists. An amazing accomplishment. But that’s the best thing he did tonight.
After his incredible start to the season, Fox has only had one 20-point game in his last seven outings. During this stretch, he’s also shooting just 38 percent from the field. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still making plays and helping the team win games, but something just doesn’t look right.
I’m officially concerned with De’Aaron Fox. Is he banged up? The shot just isn’t what it’s been all year.— Carmichael Dave (@CarmichaelDave) December 8, 2022
4-17 3p over his last 3 games.
39-102 FG (38%) over his last 7.
The team keeps saying that he’s battling a bug that’s going around, but in all actuality, he looks like he’s hurt. He’s moving noticeably slower and not taking shots the way he needs to. Regardless of the truth, I think it’d be best for Fox to get some rest. His body is obviously being afflicted in some way and needs to get healthy again.
The Kings have the depth to let Fox sit a couple games. It’s also good to note that everytime Fox is out, Davion Mitchell steps it up tremendously on offense while still being his normal pesky self on defense. The way Domantas Sabonis, Harrison Barnes and Malik Monk have played lately, I think this team will still be able to play some good basketball and win games.
The Kings allowed the Bucks to grab 17 offensive rebounds as opposed to the 8 they managed to get. As we all know offensive boards lead to second chance points. Tonight, the Bucks had a whopping 25 second chance points to the Kings 8. This is an unacceptable number by any standard and one of the biggest reasons Sacramento lost this game.
The 17 Offensive Rebounds and 25 2nd Chance Points by the Bucks are both season highs that the Kings have allowed.— Will Z. Stats (@will_zimmerle) December 8, 2022
The Kings came into the game giving up 9.1 Off Rebs (3rd least) and 11.2 2nd Chance Pts (2nd least).
One of the most important attributes a winning team can have in consistency. To essentially double both the amount of offensive rebounds and second chance points allowed is definitely a fluke... I hope. Knowing how Mike Brown and his staff operate, it will definitely be brought up expeditiously and brashly.
Defense is and will be a constant focus for the Kings until they establish themselves as a good team night in and night out. Mike Brown let that be known the day he became the head coach. Creating a good defense is something that will take time and we all knew this going into the season. In their recent stretch, things have started to look pretty good. They held their first opponent under 100 points, had a real presence in the paint and become more efficient on rotations.
RTing again because this is really well put together and we haven't had a Kings Defense Film thread that was good since Twitter existed. https://t.co/t36yAdRnES— Very Nice Akis (@Aykis16) December 6, 2022
But not tonight. Mike Brown had this to say after the game, “Our defense was almost like a glorified scrimmage game or pick up game.” Along with the aforementioned 25 second chance points. the Bucks gathered 34 assists, shot 42.4 percent from three and scored 56 points in the paint. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday were able to score at will from anywhere on the court, combining for 66 points. The same amount as Fox, Malik Monk, Keegan Murray and Harrison Barnes combined.
Allowing opposing stars to have their way has been a constant theme this season. As well as Antetokounmpo and Holiday, this is the list of players to score 30 or more points against the Kings this season: Trae Young, Devin Booker, Donovan Mitchell, Steph Curry, Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner, Zach LaVine, Jayson Tatum and Ja Morant with Devin Vassel and PJ Washington both being one basket away.
Obviously there’s only so much you can do against a few of these guys, but this number is was too high for only being a quarter of the way into the season. Basketball is a team sport, but it’s unique in the way just one player can takeover an entire game and essentially win on their own unlike football or soccer. Every player on the opposing team needs to be guarded regardless of who they are, but if the defense can’t even stop just one guy, this playoff push is going to be very rough.
“I didn’t think they felt us at all defensively.”— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) December 8, 2022
Coach Brown breaks down the team’s performance tonight in Milwaukee. pic.twitter.com/boL2ftRH3m
Even with all of the negatives, I still think the Kings played some good basketball tonight and had moments where they looked like they were going to beat the team with the second best record in the league. Milwaukee is not only a great team but a hard place to walk into and win, it won’t get any easier after this. On Dec. 9, the Kings will be traveling to Cleveland for a rematch against D Mitch and the Cavs. Another good litmus test, except we’ve already seen that the Kings can beat the Cavs. Was their win in the first game a fluke?