SACRAMENTO -- For one of the few times this month, the Kings were able to practice Saturday afternoon before hopping a flight for Los Angeles for a rematch with the Lakers on Sunday.
Marvin Bagley III, who is out for another two weeks at a minimum, worked on one end of the court with assistant coach Larry Lewis. He hit jumper after jumper as he moved around the perimeter.
Ben McLemore finished off the session with his customary half-court shot. Bogdan Bogdanovic played one-on-one against former NBA Sixth Man of the Year Bobby Jackson, and Buddy Hield trash-talked player development coach Akachi Okugo.
Following the session, both Hield and coach Dave Joerger swung by to chat as the team prepared for an early afternoon flight.
Hield, the Kings’ leading scorer at 19.7 points per game, is coming off his worst two-game stretch of the season. One of the league’s best 3-point shooters this year, Hield went cold in Thursday's loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, shooting just 4-of-18 from the field while missing all six of his long range attempts.
The 26-year-old guard posted just six points the following night against the Lakers, as the Kings escaped with a buzzer-beating win.
“The Clippers game, they didn’t take me out of anything, the Lakers game, they were denying me,” Hield told NBC Sports California. “I just missed shots in the Clippers game and in the Lakers game, I was in a funk. I’m a scorer, man. We all have those games.”
Neither Hield nor Joerger seemed concerned with the two-game stretch. Joerger pointed to the team struggling with their shot overall, and also on the defensive end. Without stops and rebounds, their transition game suffers and that is where Hield gets a lot of open looks.
“A little bit is a scheme thing,” Joerger said. “Today was a good opportunity for us. We haven’t practiced in a while. We needed to clean up a lot of things on defense and also we had an opportunity for the first time in several weeks to practice what the other team is going to do.”
If the Kings hope to continue their hot start, they need Hield at his best. They'll hope the last two games were a hiccup, and not a developing trend.
Rookie big man Harry Giles returned to the Kings after spending Friday night on assignment in Stockton with the team’s G League affiliate. The 20-year-old posted 20 points on 6-of-13 shooting and tossed in seven rebounds, five assists and three blocks in 23 minutes of action.
“He played, I thought his best game there last night, he was terrific,” Joerger said. “His motor is going, he’s running hard. There’s definitely a talent there. I thought he played really well last night.”
The Kings haven’t shied away from using their G League team as a way to get young players minutes. Two years ago, Skal Labissiere spent time with the team and Justin Jackson made a trip up last season during his rookie campaign.
“It’s a positive tool for us,” Joerger said. “Our team has a good vibe in Stockton. We’ve got good coaches and good players and we’re seeing development from the guys that are spending time there.”
With playing time scarce at the parent club, this is the third time Giles has joined Stockton -- and it might not be the last.
“You may see some more of it, I think it’s a good development tool,” Joerger added.
Giles was back at practice working with the Kings, and he was part of the squad that boarded a flight to LA.