Through the first 24 minutes of the game, it looked like the Kings had completely given up on the season. Losers of six straight, the team couldn’t buy a 3-point shot and the New Orleans Pelicans built a big lead.
Led by the Herculean effort of De’Aaron Fox, the Kings showed some fight in the second half, but it was too little, too late. For the seventh consecutive game, the Kings ended up in the loss column, this time by a final of 117-110.
Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson put up big numbers and the Pelicans dominated the Kings on the glass in the crushing loss for Sacramento.
Adding injury to insult, Richaun Holmes missed the second half with right hamstring tightness.
Here are three takeaways as the Kings dropped to 22-32 on the season.
If you are the head of the snake, you have some responsibility to lead. With his team listless and getting thumbed in the Big Easy, De’Aaron Fox went to work.
The fourth-year guard knocked down the Kings first triple of the game as time expired to end the first half and he carried that over to the third quarter. Fox scored 17 of his team-high 43 points in the 12 minutes coming out of the intermission and he would have had a lot more if he could have hit his free throws.
Fox was a force to be reckoned with, but the Kings needed more. This was Fox’s fifteenth 30-point performance this season and the third time he’s crested the 40-point mark. If he hit his freebies, he could have pushed for 50.
Buddy misses, so do Kings
Buddy Hield is one of the more reliable players in the NBA. The Kings’ starting shooting guard came into Monday with a streak of 272 consecutive games played, but he was a late scratch due to a non-COVID-19 related illness.
Since coming into the league during the 2016-17 season, Hield has missed a total of three games out of a possible 372.
With Hield out of action, the Kings missed their first 14 3-pointers of the game and finished 10-for-35 from long range. The Kings also shot just 22-of-37 from the free throw line in seven point loss.
Showing some heart
With the Kings playing about as poorly as possible, Moe Harkless did his best to bring effort, energy and a little bit of defense until his teammates woke up.
Harkless had a huge block on Brandon Ingram early in the game and finished with 15 points, three assists and two steals in the loss.
If Harkless is one of your leading scorer, you probably aren’t going to win many games, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t add something to the game.