Kings

Buddy Hield questions missed buzzer-beater in close loss to Warriors

Buddy Hield questions missed buzzer-beater in close loss to Warriors

OAKLAND -- With 25.5 seconds remaining in the Warriors' 125-123 win over the Kings, Draymond Green hit 1-of-2 free throws to give the defending champs a six-point lead. The game was all but over.

And then, Buddy Hield happened. 

After missing his first six 3-point shots of the evening, the Kings guard stepped into a 32-footer in Kevin Durant’s face and drilled it.

Harrison Barnes fouled Warriors star Stephen Curry to give the Kings a five-point deficit with 17.4 seconds remaining. But once again, Hield sprung open in the corner and De’Aaron Fox hit him in stride for another 3-ball. 

“The first one was crazy and the second one, I was driving and everybody thought I was going to shoot a layup,” Fox said. “But the way Buddy plays, he’s always hunting the ball and ready to shoot. And he kept running.”

Hit or miss, Fox was sending the pass. After a year-and-a-half playing alongside Hield, Fox knows exactly what kind of player he is.

“I’ll live with one of the best shooters in the world missing a three,” Fox added. “I just threw it to him and he made a shot and he got us back in the game. I’ll always live with Buddy shooting a shot like that.”

Andre Iguodala missed a pair of free throws with 7.4 seconds remaining, setting up another dramatic finish between these two teams. 

Trailing 125-123 with under seconds remaining, Kings coach Dave Joerger called a play to get Hield the ball one more time. He thought about tossing up another 30-footer, but instead put the ball on the floor.

With very little time on the clock, Hield attempted a stepback 12-footer over the outstretched arms of Klay Thompson, but the shot barely drew iron and the game ended. 

“I should have pulled that b----, I should have pulled it,” a clearly frustrated Hield said about the decision not to shoot from the perimeter. “I should have pulled it, no excuse.”

“I thought he was going to shoot it,” Fox said. “We were like, you should have shot that s---. You just made two of them. If we miss, we go home. If you make it, we go up one. It is what it is.”

Hield hasn’t been shy about hoisting up shots all season, and he has been lights-out for Sacramento on most nights.

While it’s only one loss, it was clear that this one hurt. The Kings went toe-to-toe with the NBA's best, and once again came up just short.

[RELATED: The advice Draymond gave Fox about being Kings' leader]

Hield sat in his locker stall long after media members walked away. He had his phone out watching the replay again and again, feeling worse about the decision with every view.

The loss dropped the Kings to 30-28 on the season. Golden State swept the season series 4-0, but by a total of 12 points. 

Sacramento doesn’t have long to think about the narrow defeat. They Kings will play in Oklahoma City on Saturday night, trying to avoid a three game losing streak.

Kings' Wenyen Gabriel making family proud in road from war-torn Sudan to NBA

Kings' Wenyen Gabriel making family proud in road from war-torn Sudan to NBA

Kings forward Wenyen Gabriel is one of 25 active NBA players who attended the University of Kentucky, but his journey to the league is far from common.

“I’m 100 percent pure-bred, South Sudanese and I take pride in that.”

Gabriel emigrated to Egypt when he was just a year old to escape a brutal civil war, before eventually getting to the U.S. as a refugee through the United Nations. His first name, Wenyen, means “wipe your tears” in Sudanese, and Gabriel takes that message to heart. 

“I’ve kind of taken it on going forward, that I’m going to wipe the tears from my family, wipe the tears from my country.”

Gabriel was also a college teammate of Kings guard De’Aaron Fox, who has been more than impressed by Gabriel throughout his career.

“He’s great, I mean he’s been through a lot, but that’s why he works so hard,” Fox said.

“I met him like our senior year, before we were both committed to Kentucky, and he reached out to me.”

Gabriel went undrafted in 2018 and was signed to a two-way contract by Sacramento, playing in 42 games for the Stockton Kings in the G League. The big man averaged 10.1 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.

[RELATED: Why Kings' De'Aaron Fox likely walked away from Team USA opportunity]

His game really made waves this summer, as he averaged just over 15 points and seven rebounds in six summer league games, while also shooting 42 percent from three.

Despite the small sample size, an ability to stretch the floor at his size and athleticism will make Gabriel a valuable commodity for a young Kings team looking to make some noise in the Western Conference.

Harrison Barnes all smiles as last Kings player on Team USA roster

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USATSI

Harrison Barnes all smiles as last Kings player on Team USA roster

And then there was one.

Harrison Barnes is the last Kings player left on the Team USA roster after point guard De'Aaron Fox decided to withdraw Saturday, one week after big man Marvin Bagley did the same.

Fox was scheduled to travel with the team this week to Australia for two friendlies, but he’ll now stay home to focus on helping the Kings end their 13-year NBA playoff drought.

Fox's choice was a bit shocking and confusing, considering what he had said in recent days, but in the end, it's the right thing to do based on all the travel that would come along with playing another two weeks until the FIBA World Cup in China.

Barnes, on the other hand, is one of the sage veterans on the team, and it appears he plans to stick it out.

The 13 remaining players on the Team USA roster got together for a photo shoot in Marina del Rey on Saturday, and Barnes was all smiles.

Fox impressed his coaches and teammates during Team USA's training camp, but he never found a consistent role. Barnes, though, started the friendly against Spain on Friday, and finished with two points and three rebounds in 14 minutes.

[RELATED: Why Fox likely decided to leave Team USA]

With the Kings traveling to India for two preseason games in October, Barnes could have three long trips in his future if he also goes to China with Team USA.

Hope you're able to sleep on planes, Harrison.