Kings

Kings takeaways: What we learned from 115-111 loss to Suns

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USATSI

Kings takeaways: What we learned from 115-111 loss to Suns

Needing a win to finish over .500 at the midway point of the season, the Sacramento Kings looked dominant early against the Phoenix Suns. And then they caught a case of the whoops. 

Sacramento blew a commanding 21-point third quarter lead and then squandered opportunities down the stretch to let one slip through their fingers. 

Phoenix got stops when they needed them and hit timely buckets down the stretch to come away with a 115-111 win over the Kings. 

Here are three takeaways as the Kings drop back below .500 at 20-21 on the season.

Butter Fingers 

Sloppy. The Kings looked like Keystone Cops for much of the night. It started in the first quarter when they gave it away five times. 

It looked like they solved the issue in the second quarter, where they turned it over just three times to take a commanding 72-53 lead into the half.

But the wheels fell off the bus in the third and it didn’t get much better in the fourth.  

Sacramento came into the night averaging just 13.1 turnovers per game. They fumbled it away a total of 26 times against the Suns, which cost them the game.

Trouble in the Third

The Kings had the game locked away early and then they fell apart in the third. Sacramento turned the ball over 10 times in the period and shot just 4-of-16 from the field as the Suns came charging back.

The starting backcourt of De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield combined to shoot 1-of-7 in the period and turned the ball over a total of five times. 

Phoenix outscored the Kings 33-14 in the period to tie the game going to the fourth. 

Stay Ready

It’s not easy sitting on the sidelines and watching your teammates find success. Playing on the second night of a back-to-back, Dave Joerger went deep into his bench, turning to seldom used wing Ben McLemore to help supplement his rotation. 

McLemore made a nice impact on the game, scoring 20 points on 4-of-5 shooting from behind the arc. The former lottery pick barely grazed iron on his shots, showing that he’s been working on his game behind the scenes. 

Kings takeaways: What we learned from 123-94 loss to Nets on MLK Day

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AP

Kings takeaways: What we learned from 123-94 loss to Nets on MLK Day

BOX SCORE

Beatdown in Brooklyn. The Sacramento Kings went into halftime with a lead and then never showed up for the final 24 minutes of the game Monday at Barclays Center. 

The Nets were the better team for most of the night as they ran Sacramento over by a final of 123-94.

D’Angelo Russell torched the Kings for 31 points on 7-of-14 from behind the arc. Joe Harris added 19 points and Rodions Kurucs ran through Sacramento’s defense for 16. 

Here are three takeaways as the Kings get embarrassed in Brooklyn to fall to 24-23 on the season.

Third Quarter Collapse

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Kings take a lead into halftime, only to give it all away in the third quarter. 

Through the first couple of months of the season, the Kings owned the third quarter. That hasn’t been the case in January. After leading 60-55 heading to the intermission, the ball got sticky and the shots didn’t fall in the third. 

Like most games this season, the Kings allowed their offensive woes to carry over to the defensive end. Brooklyn outscored Sacramento 38-25 in the third to take a 93-85 lead into the fourth. Russell got hot and the Kings didn’t have an answer.

Defensive? 

Sacramento lost their defense somewhere between Detroit and Brooklyn. Playing against a solid offensive club, the Kings couldn’t stay in front of anyone.

They made some adjustments in the second quarter, but they never figured out the counter move from the Nets coaching staff.

When Brooklyn wasn’t running layup lines past Sacramento’s guards, they were firing away from behind the arc with deadly accuracy. 

If the Kings want to compete for a playoff spot, they have to find a way to stop someone. The effort was bad, the rotations were slow and the rebounding was atrocious. 

Bogdanovic at the point

Bogdan Bogdanovic is the Kings’ most versatile player and against the Nets, he took on the role of distributor.

Coach Dave Joerger turned to his super-sub off the bench early and he instantly opened up the Kings’ offense. He got everyone involved, including Willie Cauley-Stein, who went on a dunking binge in the second quarter. 

Bogdanovic finished the game with 22 points, a career-high 11 assists and six rebounds in the loss.

Kings vs. Nets live stream: How to watch NBA game online on MyTeams

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NBC Sports Bay Area

Kings vs. Nets live stream: How to watch NBA game online on MyTeams

Coming off one of the most exciting wins of the season, the Kings (24-22) look to make it two in a row when they face the Nets (24-23) Monday in Brooklyn

The Kings' matinee on Martin Luther King Jr. Day won't be easy though. The Nets have won three in a row and have been on of the most surprising teams in the NBA. 

Fans should see an exciting battle of young backcourts in De'Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield versus D'Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie. Who will come out on top? 

We're about to find out.

Here's how you can watch Kings-Nets, as well as NBC Sports California's pregame and postgame coverage, live on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app. 

When: 12:30 p.m. PT on Monday, Jan. 21 (pregame show starts at 12:00 p.m.)
Live Stream: MyTeams by NBC Sports app

Desktop users can stream the game here.