SACRAMENTO -- Every once in a while, a game is more than just a game. In a schedule of 82 contests, there is an occasional moment when two teams meet up, each in desperate need of a win. For the Sacramento Kings and Minnesota Timberwolves, that night came the day after Christmas this year.
Unfortunately for Sacramento, the team lost to the T-Wolves, 105-104 in double-overtime, which snapped Minnesota’s 11-game losing streak. The Kings also lost both De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley to injury, again, and then Buddy Hield -- who missed a potential game-winner as time expired -- went off-script.
“It seems like we’re all over the place, the coaches and everybody -- trust issues going on, I guess guys stop believing in players,” Buddy Hield said after the loss. “It is what it is, man. They have who they have playing out there and I just have to be supportive.”
Hield has been hit and miss all season long, but over the last handful of games, his shot is all over the place and head coach Luke Walton has started to scale back his time on the court.
Against the Rockets on Monday, Hield sat the entire fourth quarter. In the loss to the Timberwolves, Hield shot just 3-of-16 from the field through regulation and he was sitting on the bench for all but four minutes of the fourth.
“I want to make plays and make shots,” a clearly frustrated Hield said. “I feel like I wasn’t trusted the past two games to be on the court, so as a player, no matter what, I feel like it’s my job to go out there and compete at a high level and guys know that if I’m struggling or not, they’ve still got to ride the wave.”
In the first overtime, Hield played 1:11, hitting his lone 3-point attempt. Even that opportunity didn’t seem to sit well with the fourth-year guard.
“Surprised? I don’t think they even want to put me in,” Hield said. “The reason they put me on. The reason they put me in was because they were down by three, I feel like. They need a 3-pointer, they call on me, so I’ve just got to do my job.”
Walton left him in during the second overtime session and Hield sparked the team with five points in a 30-second window beginning at the 1:03 mark. He got hot late and his teammates continued to look for him.
On the final possession and with his team trailing 105-104, Hield had the ball in his hands one final time. After a Holmes rebound with 11.7 seconds remaining, Hield brought the ball down the court. Holmes set a series of picks to free the Kings’ leading scorer, and with a few ticks still on the clock, he hoisted a 27-footer for the win.
“I was wide open, I just missed the shot,” Hield explained.
Before Hield made his comments, Walton was complimentary of his starting shooting guard in his postgame press conference. He even described the final possession.
“Buddy had hit a couple of shots, right,” Walton said. “So if I draw something up, it’s going to be to get Buddy open. At that point, without having De’Aaron and [Bogdan Bogdanovic] wasn’t really making shots down the stretch, we would’ve just gotten the ball to Buddy anyway. He’s one of our best players and we get the ball in his hands and you get a chance to win, that’s what you can ask for.”
Hield finished the night with 17 points on 6-of-20 shooting, including 3-of-11 from 3-point range. He played almost 37 minutes, but that’s out of 58 due to the two extra five-minute sessions.
The Kings have now lost five in a row to drop to 12-19 on the season. There are some cracks forming in the foundation that need to be addressed before the team returns to the court on Saturday against another struggling team in the Phoenix Suns.