Kings takeaways: What we learned in 106-102 scrimmage win vs. Clippers

Kings takeaways: What we learned in 106-102 scrimmage win vs. Clippers

Little by little, the Kings are getting healthy and starting to look like themselves. 

After falling behind big early to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Kings were the aggressors in the second half and found a way to pull out a win. 

With 26.4 seconds remaining, Nemanja Bjelica drilled a 27-footer to give the Kings a 102-100 lead. Sacramento picked up a stop on the other end and then hit their free throws down the stretch.

Here are three takeaways as the Kings improve to 1-2 during their scrimmage schedule in the Orlando bubble, knocking off the Clippers by a final of 106-102.

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Welcome back

The Kings desperately missed Richaun Holmes and Harrison Barnes in their first two scrimmage games. Holmes is back after being quarantined to his room for 10 days and Barnes flew out to Orlando on Friday after clearing coronavirus protocol.

Holmes started at center and instantly brought energy to the court. He was active on the glass and finished with six points and five rebounds in 18 minutes of action.

Barnes came off the bench and played more minutes than expected for coach Luke Walton. He looked like he was moving well, but he’ll need to shake the rust off before Friday’s opener. Barnes finished with 12 points and six rebounds in 21 minutes.

Better Bogi

Bogdan Bogdanovic wasn’t very aggressive in the Kings’ first two games, but he looked more like himself against the Clippers.

The third-year guard scored 21 points on 7-for-15 shooting from the floor and 4-for-10 from long range. 

Bogdanovic is asked to do a lot when he’s on the floor for Sacramento. This was the first time he really looked comfortable. 

[RELATED: 2020 NBA mock draft 12.0: Projecting Warriors, Kings' first-round picks]

Buddy Heats Up

The Kings need Buddy Hield to carry their second unit scoring. He’s had a solid start during the scrimmage games, but he found his stroke in the second half against the Clippers.

Hield knocked down 3-for-10 from long range for the game on his way to 17 points. In addition to scoring, Hield made a couple of really nice passes to set up Harry Giles for easy buckets in the post and he ripped down eight rebounds in the win.

When Hield gets going, the Kings are dangerous. They’ll need him to be aggressive in the restart if they hope to contend for the final playoff spot.

Former Kings head coach, Hall of Famer Paul Westphal battling cancer

Former Kings head coach, Hall of Famer Paul Westphal battling cancer

Ten years ago, I walked into my first Kings media day as an independent writer with zero experience and no guarantee that I ever would be allowed in the building again. I was green and had no idea what I was getting myself into.

I had to fight my way into the building for media day in September 2010. When I was allowed to attend training camp a day later, it always was on uncertain ground. I kept showing up and the Kings kept opening the door and letting me in.

When I was credentialed for my first preseason game, it was with the understanding that it would probably be the only time that happened. When I made it on the list for the second game, it was explained that this was only for preseason.

A decade later, I keep showing up and the Kings keep letting me in the building. The reason? I had a backer in that first season that helped change my life.

I’ve met plenty of people throughout my journey that have impacted my career, but none more than former Kings head coach and Naismith Hall of Famer, Paul Westphal.

In the opening days of my first training camp, Westphal and I formed a connection. Maybe he was looking for an ally on the other side. Maybe I was, too.

Whatever the reason, we hit it off and unbeknownst to me, it was Westphal who had gone to the Kings’ media relations staff and told them to keep letting me in the building.

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It was the early stages of bloggers being allowed into NBA arenas. I showed up like clockwork, asked questions, was respectful and by the end of my first season, I was hooked.

At one point during that first season, Westphal and I exchanged numbers so I could reach out while the team was on the road. We would chat on the phone and I would transcribe the discussions for Q&A’s.

During the 2011 summer, the NBA hit a lockout, but that didn’t close a door with Westphal. We met for lunch during the lockout multiple times and would talk basketball and life for hours.

An incredible storyteller, Westphal would share behind the scenes stories of his coaching start at Southwestern Baptist Bible College, his experience working with Charles Barkley and the Phoenix Suns, and even the bizarre tale of Jerrod Mustaf.

Westphal was let go in Sacramento seven games into my second season covering the team after a public spat with young star DeMarcus Cousins. By that time, I already was considered a full-time member of the media corps, in part thanks to him.

On Sunday morning, Westphal’s longtime friend, Mike Lupica, turned to social media to give an update on Westphal, who was inducted in the Hall of Fame just last year.

Outside of my personal dealings with Westphal, he is widely considered one of the true gentlemen of the game. A magnificent player during his time in the league, he’s proven to be an even better person off the court.

It has been a while since we connected, outside of a text exchange when he received the call for the Hall, but he is an incredibly influential person in my career and my thoughts and prayers go out to Paul, his wife Cindy, their children and grandchildren as he battles a very unkind illness.

Kings vs. Rockets live stream: How to watch NBA restart game online, on TV

Kings vs. Rockets live stream: How to watch NBA restart game online, on TV

The Kings have won just one out of their first five games in the NBA's Orlando bubble. And now, here comes James Harden and the Houston Rockets. 

Sunday is another must-win for Sacramento, and it won't be easy. 

Kings guard Bogdan Bogdanovic has scored 62 points the past two games. But that only has resulted in one win. Buddy Hield's poor play has been a huge detriment to the Kings' playoff chances.

The sharpshooter left his shot in Sacramento. Hield is averaging just 11.8 points per game in Orlando while shooting 27.9 percent from beyond the arc.

The Kings will be eliminated from playoff contention with a loss or a win from the Portland Trail Blazers.

Here's how you can watch Kings vs. Rockets online (download the MyTeams app here!) and on TV:

When: Sunday, Aug. 9 at 5 p.m. PT (Kings Pregame Live starts at 4:30 p.m PT)
TV: NBC Sports California
Stream: MyTeams app