Kings

Kings takeaways: What we learned in 122-108 loss to Clippers to end trip

Kings takeaways: What we learned in 122-108 loss to Clippers to end trip

BOX SCORE

Outmatched and overpowered. The Los Angeles Clippers dominated the Kings for the third time this season Sunday afternoon at Staples Center, and Sacramento ended its season-long road trip with a 122-108 loss. 

After trailing by as many as 25 early, the Kings pulled within five on a couple of occasions late. But when the game was on the line, they couldn’t get shots fall and they couldn’t stop Montrezl Harrell from dunking.

Here are three takeaways as the Kings drop back to the .500 mark at 25-25 on the season.

Mount Montrezl

Sacramento has no answer for Harrell. He’s an energy big that plays wreaks havoc in the post. 

He destroyed the Kings’ front line in the first two matchups, and he did it again Sunday afternoon.

Harrell outmuscled Sacramento’s bigs, coming away with 25 points on 11-of-13 shooting. He also grabbed seven rebounds off the Clippers bench. 

Keeping a body on Harrell is a difficult task and the Kings clearly weren’t up for the challenge.

[RELATED: Sources say Fox, Hield will participate in NBA All-Star Weekend]

Attack Mode

The Kings looked completely flat, and then De’Aaron Fox woke up. The 21-year-old point guard opened the second half with a 3-pointer to get himself going, and then it was on.

Fox pushed the tempo, got to the rim and picked up the energy level of his team. 

The sophomore guard finished the night with a team-high 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting. He added four rebounds, three assists and a steal.

Shumpert Shoots

Iman Shumpert has been in a monster slump that’s lasted most of January. Against the Clippers, he finally got a couple of shots to fall.

Shumpert finished the night with 16 points, six rebounds and two blocks. He shot 5-of-13 from the field, and hit 3-of-8 from behind the arc in 31 minutes of action.

The veteran wing had a couple of ill-advised attempts during crucial moments of the game, but the Kings need him to find his stroke. 

Kings' De'Aaron Fox to miss final preseason game with sore lower back

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USATSI

Kings' De'Aaron Fox to miss final preseason game with sore lower back

SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings held their breath Monday evening in Utah when young star point guard De’Aaron Fox went to the bench with 10:20 remaining in the third quarter. 

Already shorthanded at point guard with Cory Joseph nursing a sore calf muscle, Kings coach Luke Walton turned to Bogdan Bogdanovic to run the show.

The initial diagnosis given during the game was a sore lower back for Fox. On Tuesday afternoon, the team updated the 21-year-old’s status.

Fox will miss the team’s preseason game Wednesday against Melbourne United, but just as a precaution. He is expected to be ready when the regular season opens next week in Phoenix against the Suns. 

[RELATED: Kings guards Fox, Hield relive scoring first NBA baskets]

After posting 17.3 points and 7.3 assists per game last season, Fox has shown plenty of growth in the early preseason. Through four games, he’s averaging 14.5 points and six assists in 26.8 minutes per game in Walton’s system.

Fox played in 81 of the Sacramento’s 82 games last season. 

Kings guards De'Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield relive scoring first NBA baskets

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USATSI

Kings guards De'Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield relive scoring first NBA baskets

You don't often forget your firsts. 

For some NBA players, the memory of when they made their basket on the big stage sticks with them.

ESPN interviewed a number of marquee NBA players, who discussed how they remember their first bucket.

For Kings guard De'Aaron Fox, he remembers every detail.

"I checked in. It was actually on Trevor [Ariza], who's with us now. I did my little move, went by him, he did a back-tap, missed it and I had a layup. Yeah, I remember that. It was great. It was cool. For me, playing against the Rockets, growing up in Houston and then playing them for my first regular-season game in the NBA, it was definitely fun. It was a great experience."

For his teammate Buddy Hield, his experience was filled with much more anxiety.

"It was at New Orleans," he said. "We played against the Denver Nuggets. It was an isolation play and I got a left-handed layup going down the lane. It was wide open, and it was one of the hardest layups I've ever made. I don't know how I made it, but I made it, because it was wide open. It was one of those things. Your first NBA basket [comes with] all the anxiety, all the pressure, but it was fun, it was cool."

ESPN also interviewed Lakers wing Kyle Kuzma, veteran guard JJ Redick, and others. The verdict across the board appears to be synonymous: Anxious, high-pressure moments that they wouldn't trade anything for.

[RELATED: Hield doesn't want 'insult' contract offers]

Fox recently spoke out about wanting the Kings to keep Hield on the team with a long-term contract after a season where the two developed strong chemistry on the court. To keep that core group together is something Fox wants -- and he's making sure the negotiations have started to get that process going.