Kings

Kings takeaways: What we learned in 123-114 loss to 76ers to end trip

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AP

Kings takeaways: What we learned in 123-114 loss to 76ers to end trip

BOX SCORE

The slide continues. Needing a win Friday to finish the four-game road trip on a high note, the Kings ran out of gas late, and the star-studded Philadelphia 76ers showed no mercy. 

All five Sixers starters scored 18 or more points, as Philly edged Sacramento 123-114 for win No. 44 of the season.

Here are three takeaways as the Kings fell dropped two games under .500 mark at 33-35.

The Trip

After Friday's loss, the Kings finished their four-game road trip with just a single victory. They looked exhausted for stretches against the 76ers, which is to be expected on the second night of a back-to-back.

With 14 games remaining on the schedule, the Kings’ postseason chances took a major hit. They have a string of winnable games ahead of them, but major damage was done. Sacramento was 5.5 back of the Los Angeles Clippers as of press time.

Sticky Bandits

Marvin Bagley and Harry Giles continue to grow as a tandem. The rookie duo still needs time to grow into their bodies, which will help on the defensive end, but they both are a big part of the Kings’ future.

In his second game back from injury, Bagley scored 15 points on 5-for-9 shooting and added four rebounds. Coach Dave Joerger asked him to defend All-Star Ben Simmons for stretches. and he did a nice job staying with the young star.

Giles struggled to slow Joel Embiid and Boban Marjanovic, a 7-foot-3 giant, but that didn’t stop him from making an impact on the other end of the floor. In 18 minutes of action, the 20-year-old center scored 12 points on 6-for-9 shooting. Giles also chipped in four rebounds and four assists. 

They have plenty to learn, but the talent is there for the two 20-year-olds. 

[RELATED: Kings keep falling in latest NBA power rankings]

Reserves

Playing on the second night of a back-to-back, the Kings needed their second unit to come up big. Bagley and Giles were a big part of the success, but Yogi Ferrell, Corey Brewer and Bogdan Bogdanovic also stepped up.

Ferrell pushed the tempo and played feisty defense. He finished with seven points and two assists.

Brewer was all over the court, flying in for double-teams on Embiid and wreaking havoc. He chipped in eight points on 3-of-5 shooting.

Bogdanovic struggled with his shot, finishing with nine points on 4-of-14 shooting. But, he still ran a plus-11 on the night. 

Sacramento’s second unit outscored the Sixers bench 51-24, and kept the Kings in the game.

Kings continue to balance development and winning in surprise season

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AP

Kings continue to balance development and winning in surprise season

SACRAMENTO -- Coming into the 2018-19 season, the plan was to develop the young guys. That idea had to be augmented early in the campaign when the Kings decided to make winning a priority as well.

This isn’t an easy task for Dave Joerger and staff. Balancing a roster filled with young players has its challenges, especially when games matter.

It hasn’t always been pretty. There have been plenty of ups and downs, but through 69 games, the Kings have not only fought to stay in playoff contention, but they are identifying a core that they can build around for the long haul.

The starting backcourt of De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield were the first to make the leap, but there are others on the rise as well.

Bogdan Bogdanovic has struggled as of late, but he looks like a long term fixture in the rotation. The Harrison Barnes addition at the deadline brought in another young body and Willie Cauley-Stein has had moments for the Kings.

It doesn’t end there for Sacramento. Down the stretch of the season, the young duo of Marvin Bagley and Harry Giles are forming a fierce frontline for the future.

Giles struggled with foul trouble early in the year, but he’s continued to improve as the season has progressed. Joerger has slowly increased his role with the team and he’s answered the call.

“I’m starting to come into myself,” Giles said following Sacramento’s win over the Bulls on Sunday. “Just taken my time, patience. It’s all starting to come along for me. It took some time, but it’s right where I want to be. [I’m] making the right steps and I’m just going to keep going with it.”

After redshirting last season, the former Duke product has shown statistical improvement every month this season. In March, he’s taking his game to the next level, posting 11 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 19.9 minutes per game.

Giles has cleaned up a lot of his early mistakes, especially on the defensive end. He hasn’t had a breakout rebounding game, but he’s showing flashes as a passer and shot blocker.

Taken with the second overall selection in the 2018 NBA Draft, Bagley came into the league with all kinds of fanfare. He’s lived up to the hype in year one, although injuries have set him back twice.

Bagley hit his stride in February, averaging 17.5 points and 9.4 rebounds in 29.2 minutes per game before going down with a left knee sprain.

Against Chicago, he dropped 21 points and nine rebounds in just 21 minutes as he continued to work through a minutes restriction with the Kings’ medical staff.

As good as they’ve been individually, the two 20-year-olds are showing signs of some incredible chemistry. They are making reads and cuts and they are looking for each other.

“There’s a lot of times where Harry could have gone up and scored a basket, but he decided to pass, and there are times where I could have had a bucket to score, but I see Harry and return the favor,” Bagley said. “We’re just playing off each other and having fun with it at the same time.”

Giles is the lunch pail guy. He’s physical and making his presence felt. Bagley is the scorer with the jaw dropping athleticism and advanced offensive game. Both play with intensity and have big time motors.

“I feed off of all my teammates, that’s what I try to do,” Giles said. “But with Marvin, he just brings so much energy so it’s not hard to feed off of him. I think he’s an easy guy to play with, especially for me.”

The pair have been together for just part of one season, but they have an opportunity to develop into something special. They both need to get stronger in the offseason and the sooner they are able to extend their shooting range, the better.

“It’s the start of something that can be - who knows,” Giles said. “It’s our first year. We’ve had some success, but we have to take it with a grain of salt, knowing that anything can happen.”

Anything can happen, but if Giles and Bagley put in the work and make a jump anywhere close to what Fox and Hield accomplished, the Kings have the foundation of a winner.

De'Aaron Fox believes Kings 'growing,' details franchise's next step

De'Aaron Fox believes Kings 'growing,' details franchise's next step

Even though it appears the Kings will miss out on the NBA playoffs, there's no doubt this season has been successful.

No one expected them to win more than 25 games this season. But with their win over the Bulls on Sunday, the Kings now are 34-35 and have a legit shot to finish at .500.

In De'Aaron Fox's eyes, the Kings should have more than 34 wins.

"Looking back on this season so far, what do we have, 33 wins? I think we definitely could be close to 40 at this point right now," the point guard told NBC Sports California Kings analyst Doug Christie on the Uninterrupted Road Trippin’ podcast.

Fox and Christie talked about a handful of games the Kings gave away this season. They lost four close games to the Warriors, dropped two overtime games and fell by two points to the Nuggets and the Celtics.

While most people associated with the Kings feel it's a small victory to have exceeded expectations this season, Fox feels differently.

"I think we're growing, but I ain't with the moral victories," Fox told Christie. "But from last year to this year, last year, we probably wouldn't even be in those games. This year, we're in them and gave them away, so now you just gotta take that next step."

Entering Monday, the Kings are six games behind the Clippers for the final playoff spot with 13 games to play.

[RELATED: Why Fox admires Warriors]

Fox recently had to be convinced by his friend, Celtics star Jayson Tatum, that the playoffs feel differently.

"You got all these old cats, all the old guys saying, 'Ah, the playoffs are this much, it's night and day, it ain't the same.' It's like 'Yeah, whatever,' " Fox said. "But now that I have a peer that went through it, he's like, 'Man, the playoffs is crazy.' And he went to Game 7 of the conference finals. He's like, 'Man, the playoffs and the regular season are not the same.' "

Soon enough, Fox and the young Kings will get to experience what the postseason is like.

Listen to Fox and Christie on Road Trippin' in the player below, and subscribe here.