Kings

Five things to watch from Kings' wild road win vs. Grizzlies last season

Five things to watch from Kings' wild road win vs. Grizzlies last season

Programming note: Watch the re-air of the Kings’ victory over the Memphis Grizzlies from Jan. 25, 2019 tonight at 6:00 p.m. PT on NBC Sports California.

With the NBA on shutdown, NBC Sports California has decided to start replaying some entertaining games from the last few seasons of Kings basketball to quench the thirst of fans. 
Tuesday’s re-air of the Kings’ road win over the Grizzlies from the 2018-19 season is the fourth installment of the series.

While we know the final outcome of the game, sometimes the details become murky over time. Here are five things to watch in a nail-biting 99-96 win from FedEx Forum.

Coming of age

In his second NBA season, De’Aaron Fox showed flashes of brilliance and this was one of those moments. While he struggled to hang onto the ball, turning it over seven times on the night, Fox went at veteran point guard Mike Conley and got the best of him.

In the closing minutes, coach Dave Joerger turned to his young point guard and he responded with four of his 22 points in the final 39 seconds. His 19-foot jumper with 11 seconds remaining put the Kings up by four points and helped seal the win.

Buddy in the third

Buddy Hield had a breakout 2018-19 season for the Kings, posting a career-high 20.7 points per game as the team’s starting shooting guard.

In this contest, Hield got off to a slow start, but exploded for 13 of his game-high 26 points in the third quarter. 

When Hield starts knocking down the triple, he can change a game quickly.

Bagley vs. Jackson

This game pits the No. 2 and No. 4 picks in the 2018 NBA Draft against each other. Bagley did more than hold his own in the matchup. 

In his role as a primary scorer off the bench, Bagley posted 14 points and nine rebounds in 29 minutes of action. With Bagley playing just 13 games this season due to injury, games like this remind us of his incredible potential. 

Double-Double

Nemanja Bjelica isn’t the most athletic player in the NBA, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be effective against a talented young big like Jackson.

The sharpshooting Serbian drew the Grizzlies rookie outside and buried all four of his 3-point attempts on the night. He fouled out late in the game, but not before dropping 17 points, 11 rebounds, two assists and three blocks in 33 minutes of play.

A blast from the past

Omri Casspi was drafted by the Kings in the first round of the 2009 NBA Draft and spent two tours of duty in Sacramento. In his final game in the NBA, Casspi torched his former team.

[RELATED: NBA mock draft 3.0: Predicting Warriors, Kings' lottery picks]

Casspi came off the Grizzlies bench to score 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting. He chipped in five rebounds and four steals in 25 minutes

After playing 10 seasons in the NBA for seven different teams, Casspi returned home to Israel following the 2018-19 season. He signed a three-year contract with Maccabi Tel Aviv, th teame he played for before joining the NBA.

Harry Giles surprises Kings fan upset by coronavirus game postponement

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Harry Giles surprises Kings fan upset by coronavirus game postponement

On March 11, the Kings suspended their upcoming game at Golden 1 Center against the New Orleans Pelicans due to precautionary measures from the coronavirus pandemic.

This was right after the NBA announced the season would be suspended indefinitely after Jazz center Rudy Gobert's positive coronavirus test earlier that night. Still, it made an immediate impact, especially on one young fan.

Cameras caught a devastated girl crying in the stands after the announcement. The Kings, and Harry Giles wanted to apologize for the cancellation of the game with a heartfelt message to Sophie and her brother.

“I just wanted to tell you guys we apologize for the unfortunate situation that happened on March 11 with the game getting canceled, but I have a surprise for you,” Giles said. 

Sophie and her brother were sitting on the couch watching the video from Giles and were invited personally by the Kings’ forward whenever the season was to come back.

Sophie said thank you to Giles as she jumped on the couch sporting Kings gear. 

This isn’t the first time Giles paid back to Kings fans.

[RELATED: De'Aaron Fox cuts hair during NBA hiatus]

He also helped a couple plan a wedding. Well, he certainly played a big part. The groom actually sported a Giles’ jersey at the altar after a Twitter request of 10,000 retweets

Giles continues to be a man of the people. 

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Why Kings' Bogdan Bogdanovic is prepared for NBA games without fans

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Why Kings' Bogdan Bogdanovic is prepared for NBA games without fans

There is no guarantee that the NBA will be able to finish the 2019-20 season amidst the coronavirus pandemic. If they are able to pull off the tall task, there is a very good chance that the league will start out playing in empty buildings to ensure player and fan safety.

It is a difficult thought. The sound of sneakers squeaking and the ball bouncing, but nothing else. A referee’s whistle could be heard blocks away without 17,000-plus cheering bodies to dampen the noise. 

From the shot clock buzzer to the sound of Luke Walton’s baritone voice bellowing out commands, it’s all very strange to imagine. 

While the experience would be different for people on the outside looking in, this is how many NBA players grew up with the game. They started playing in front of parents at rec league games, but the real work came in their driveways, at local parks and in gymnasiums where they practice in front of a coach with a whistle.

On the latest edition of the Purple Talk Podcast, we caught up with Kings starting shooting guard Bogdan Bogdanovic, and one of the topics of discussion was the idea of playing without fans. 

“I played in Serbia without fans and we were fighting,” Bogdanovic said. “So I got used to it a little bit.”

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Serbia or New Orleans or the Bahamas, it doesn’t really matter. It wasn’t until college that most of these players truly had the experience of playing in front of a packed house. It might take a game or two to get used to, but that might be the reality facing all professional sports in the near future. 

“It will be weird for sure,” Bogdanovic added. “It will feel like a practice game, not a real game.”

While the Kings are in the middle of a 13-season playoff drought, that doesn’t mean that fans aren’t still flooding into Golden 1 Center every game. Known as one of the most loyal and loud fanbases, Kings fans have an ability to energize the building. 

[RELATED: Kings' Bogdan Bogdanovic shooting on neighbor's hoop during NBA shutdown]

For Bogdanovic, he equated the feeling to being in a battle. 

“The fans are something that brings that feeling like you are in a gladiator arena,” Bogdanovic said. “Imagine two gladiators fighting, or more, without fans. It would be boring.”

Bogdanovic is hoping to return to the court as soon as the league allows it, but he also has a strong perspective. He wants the fans to stay safe and if that means they have to watch the game through the television set while the team plays in an empty arena, then he understands.

We still are at least a month or more away from knowing what might happen this season, but all options are on the table. With any luck, there will be basketball, but what that might look like is a long way from being determined.