The Kings played some fantastic basketball tonight and gave the fans a show on Star Wars tonight, especially Harrison Barnes who went from the Black Falcon to the Millennium Falcon.
Sacramento Kings fans going to the game Wednesday night like pic.twitter.com/8EGzi9QrDC— iamTheRealVegasMURPH (@RealMurphdog916) January 4, 2023
Here are seven takeaways from the win:
The Kings came out the gate firing on all cylinders tonight. In the first quarter, they shot 17-for-24 from the field and 7-for-11 from three-point range to take an early 41-31 lead. But it didn’t stop there. They would continue shooting well into the second quarter, knocking down 55.8 percent from the field and 46.2 percent from three to finish the half with a 72-52 lead.
But it wasn’t just their points that led them to a 20-point lead. The Kings went on to finish the first half with an stunning 20 assists to go along with 8 offensive boards. Simply electric offense! It was clear that they walked into the Golden 1 Center with victory on their minds.
Our old friend the third quarter
For those of you that watch NFL Redzone, you know about the witching hour, “when wins become loses and loses become wins” as host Scott Hanson so eloquently says each week. For the Sacramento Kings, the witching hour equivalent is the third quarter. The Kings never have just an average time coming out of the half, it’s always good or horrible. And tonight was both.
The Magic were able to cut the 20-point lead at half to 11 thanks to a 12-2 run midway through the quarter, prompting a trademark Mike brown timeout. The Kings looked like they were beginning to fold. But whatever was said in the huddle definitely worked, as the now 11-point lead ballooned back up to 23 — and would have been 24 if not for Malik Monk getting a technical — to end the quarter. The Kings need to become consistent and stay focused coming out of the break. far too often they lose games or make things close with their sloppy and almost lethargic third quarter play. An issue that is not unique to this season.
Harrison Barnes in January
HB went nuclear tonight. He was hot as fish grease all night and was the biggest offensive factor for the Kings in their win. After starting 9-for-9 for 23 points from the field, he finished the game with 30 points, 1 rebound and 1 assist while shooting an impressive 11-for-13 from the field and 6-for-7 from deep. He was reliable, he was confident and he showed everyone that he’s still got it. He’s been hot all month averaging 21 points per game to start the new year. Hopefully this trend is consistent to finish the season.
Love this play from the Kings to counter ORL's coverage.— Brenden Nunes (@BrendenNunesNBA) January 10, 2023
They fake the double drag and let Domantas Sabonis find the slipping Harrison Barnes in a high-low action of sorts. pic.twitter.com/S9y5A8e3fZ
Dominant bench play
Against the Los Angeles Lakers on Jan. 7, the Kings’ bench had a combined 24 points and 4 assists. In this game, the bench put up 54 points and 14 assists. Five different guys were able to get in over 10 minutes of action, and they all did their part to secure the dub.
The most impressive being Chimezie Metu. Metu hadn’t played 10+ minutes since Dec. 13, but that didn’t stop him from being ready to have an impact in this one. In his 14 minutes he managed 11 points, 9 rebounds and 2 assists shooting 5-for-7 from the field. The next man up mentality with this team is very reassuring.
OFFICIAL: Chimezie Metu has finally reached the 1000 points club!— kingsinsight (@Kings_Insight) January 10, 2023
-- 109 points on the San Antonio Spurs
-- 898 points on the Sacramento Kings https://t.co/5YjD0DzFOL pic.twitter.com/UDuGVQH8Di
Record breaking shooting
Yes...the Kings made a franchise record 23 three against the Magic. And they did it shooting 50 percent as a unit. Along with HB’s aforementioned 6-for-7 from deep, eight other Kings made a three in the game. The most impressive being Keegan Murray and Kevin huerter who shot 5-for-6 and 4-for-8 respectively from deep. The Kings have struggled at points this season to make their open shots. Not tonight. They were scorching hot, and they need to keep it up to stay where they are in the West.
Assists vs turnovers
Tonight the Kings tied their season high with 39 assists from 12 different guys. Per usual, De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis led the charge with nine and eight respectively. They also only had 11 turnovers, three fewer than their season average. When a team is able to efficiently distribute the ball at this volume without giving it away there’s a high chance they gone home with a win that night.
This is something the Kings have been good at all year, as they had the sixth best assist/turnover ratio in the league at 1.814 before this win. One of their more underrated stats that has greatly impacted their success so far. Last year, they were ranked 22nd in this category. That’s the difference a coach can make.
No game is perfect. One of the biggest flaws from this game was the King’s lack of attempts at the stripe, just 12. And they only made nine of them. Yes, they blew out their opponent, but the Kings have had issues at the line all year. In games like this it’s still good to execute on the fundamental aspects on the game plan.
Sacramento can not expect to win against good teams with such a little amount of attempts at the line. Part of this issue on the season is due to officiating but not all of it. You gotta take the easy points when you can.