Kings

Dewayne Dedmon breaks out, but not enough for Kings in loss to 76ers

Dewayne Dedmon breaks out, but not enough for Kings in loss to 76ers

The Sacramento Kings starters looked disinterested and ready to get home for a turkey dinner when the ball tipped off Wednesday evening at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The second team came in to give the Kings a lift, but the inconsistent play lasted all night.

Joel Embiid went to work in the post and punished the Kings. Matisse Thybulle came off the bench to give the 76ers a lift on both ends of the court and the home team held on for a 97-91 victory to send the Kings home with a 1-3 road trip.

“That’s a good team and we did not play well enough to come in and get a road win,” coach Luke Walton told reporters. “I thought we started the game a little soft, a little tentative and then I think our bench did a nice job of finding that heart and passion that we play with.”

Bogdan Bogdanovic came in to stabilize the lineup, but he wasn’t the only second-teamer to step up. Rookie Justin James brought a ton of energy and after a rough start to the season, and Dewayne Dedmon put together his best game as a King.

“He hasn’t been playing as much as he was early on in the season, he stepped up big, he was huge for us,” Harrison Barnes told reporters about the seven-footer. “Depth is something we talked about at the beginning of the season and guys are staying ready.”

The veteran center has struggled at almost every aspect of the game this season, but especially from the perimeter, where he’d hit just 8-of-37 coming into the game.

Dedmon was impactful, scoring a season-high 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including a pair of 3-points and he chipped in six rebounds in 22 minutes of play.

“I thought he was leading out there, he was talking defensively, calling out coverages, getting to the rim, finishing when appropriate, kicking out when appropriate,” Walton said. “I thought his all-around game on both ends was really big for us.”

Before Wednesday’s game, Dedmon’s season-high in scoring was just 11 points on the season after averaging 10.8 points for the Hawks last season. The Kings desperately need the 30-year-old to find his game moving forward.

Dedmon helped keep the Kings in the game, but the Kings couldn’t buy a bucket from the perimeter, which was an issue early and then again late.

Sacramento hit just 9-of-34 from long range, including a 3-of-12 performance from leading scorer Buddy Hield. That’s a far cry from the 36.9 percent the team averages from distance on the season.

“We’ve got to knock down shots when we get em’,” Walton said. “We had a lot of open looks tonight that we didn’t knockdown.”

Hield wasn’t the only one to struggle. Barnes and Nemanja Bjelica each shot 1-of-4 from long distance and Yogi Ferrell missed his only two opportunities.

[RELATED: What we learned in Kings' hard-fought road loss to 76ers]

The Kings’ offense is predicated on the team hitting the long ball, especially with De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley sidelined. Unfortunately, the team has been hit or miss on the four-game road trip, which is a big reason they finished 1-3 on the eastern swing.

Sacramento flew home after the game and will have a two-day break to take in the Thanksgiving holiday and prepare for the Denver Nuggets on Saturday. Bagley is inching closer to a return after missing all but the opening night game with a broken right thumb, but there is no early word on his availability.

Buddy Hield matches rare Kobe Bryant stat day after NBA legend's death

Buddy Hield matches rare Kobe Bryant stat day after NBA legend's death

Don’t lie, did you stop watching? Did you angrily turn off the Sacramento Kings game in the fourth quarter thinking that they had lost another game to the Minnesota Timberwolves?

If you did, you missed a moment. You missed Buddy Hield harnessing the Mamba Mentality and helping his Kings pull off an improbable comeback. 

Down 22 with 5:43 remaining in the fourth quarter, coach Luke Walton left his rotational guys in the game and they responded. First Nemanja Bjelica hit a three ball. And then Bogdan Bogdanovic. And then Hield hit the nitro button.

The Kings’ leading scorer dropped in 20 of his career-high 42 points in the fourth, including 12 in the final 4:34 as the Kings tracked down the T-Wolves. 

A huge Kobe Bryant fan, Hield matched the legend with an obscure nugget dug up by ESPN’s Stats Info. 

Following the Kings' emotional 133-129 overtime victory, Hield stopped by and spoke to NBC Sports California’s Grant Napear and Doug Christie to discuss the game and what Bryant, who passed away on Sunday in a helicopter accident, meant to him growing up as a kid in the Bahamas.

“It was tough,” Hield said of preparing to play the game after Bryant’s death. “Just knowing where I came from and knowing what Kobe instilled in my life, everything was Kobe Bryant.”

With only nationally televised games available to watch, Hield was drawn to Bryant and his Los Angeles Lakers. He’s modeled his game after the 18-time All-Star and adopted Bryant’s work ethic as his own.

“Kobe was always that guy for me,” Hield said. “He made me believe, man and that’s why I’m here today because I wanted to chase what he’s chasing.” 

Hield knocked down 14-of-24 from the field and 9-for-14 from behind the arc. His 42 points surpassed his previous high of 41 that he set earlier in the season.

[RELATED: Walton reflects on Kobe's death]

“In the overtime, I didn’t want to score no more,” Hield said. “I had 42 points, I had five rebounds, three assists. Turn 42 around to 24. Five and three assists is eight points.”

Bryant wore No. 24 and No. 8 during his time with the Lakers. He made a tremendous impact on an entire group of young players, including Hield.

“It’s all Kobe, man, it’s all for Kobe,” Hield added.

Kings takeaways: What we learned in stunning 133-129 win vs. T-Wolves

Kings takeaways: What we learned in stunning 133-129 win vs. T-Wolves

The early focus of the Kings' game Monday against the Minnesota Timberwolves wasn't on the court as much as it was on NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who died Sunday at the age of 41 on Sunday along with eight others in a tragic helicopter accident. 

Sacramento looked listless from the opening tip. Maybe it was the emotions of the previous 24 hours. Maybe it was the end of the long road trip. Whatever the reason, the effort wasn’t there early. 

And then, the Kings started playing. 

In a wild contest that spilled into overtime, the Kings (17-29) battled back and came away with an incredible 133-129 victory over the Timberwolves (15-32).

Here are three takeaways from the Kings' second straight win.

Buddy was ready

Buddy Hield grew up idolizing Bryant, and he paid homage to the legend the way Bryant would have wanted Monday at Target Center. 

Hield lit the T-Wolves up in the first half and continued his assault in the second, finishing the night with 42 points on 24 shots. Twenty-four, of course, was Bryant's number for much of his Los Angeles Lakers career and is Hield's now in Sacramento.

Since being sent to the bench two games ago, the Kings’ leading scorer looks more like himself. He’s hitting his shots, playing with confidence and making good decisions. 

Sneaky like a Fox

With his team trailing by three points in the final seconds of regulation, De’Aaron Fox was fouled before he could get off a game-tying 3-point attempt. 

He went to the line and hit the first free throw. With the Kings down two, Fox threw the ball off the front rim, grabbed his own miss and put it back up for an improbable comeback with 3.6 seconds remaining. 

Fox came up huge late, finishing with 22 points, eight assists and seven rebounds in the Kings' win. 

[RELATED: Kings' Walton reflects on loss of his close friend Kobe]

Guard somebody

Clearly the Kings’ plan coming into the game was to double big man Karl-Anthony Towns and make the Timberwolves shooters beat them. That is exactly what they almost did.

Andrew Wiggins hit 7-of-11 from deep. Robert Covington knocked down 6-of-10, and six other T-Wolves dropped in a triple as Minnesota hit a franchise-record 23 3-pointers. 

There was a plan. It didn’t work. The adjustment came late, and somehow the Kings pulled off the win.