SACRAMENTO -- Desperately needing a win over a tough Brooklyn Nets team, the Kings looked like world beaters in the third quarter.
Then it all fell apart Tuesday night at Golden 1 Center.
Riding an incredible performance by D’Angelo Russell, the Nets erased the Kings' 25-point third-quarter lead. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson got a flip to fall with eight-tenths of a second remaining, and Buddy Hield’s desperation heave came up short as Brooklyn pulled out a shocking 123-121 win.
Here are three takeaways as the Kings dropped to 34-36 on the season, putting them seven games out of the final Western Conference playoff spot with just 12 to play.
The good run
Sacramento held a 66-58 lead going to intermission, and then the third quarter happened. The Kings came out on fire, punishing the Nets with a 20-0 run to open the second half.
Brooklyn slowed woke up to score 20 points in the quarter, but the damage was done. Sacramento outscored the visitors 37-20 to take a 25-point lead into the fourth.
The Kings shot 69.6 percent in the quarter, including 4 of 5 from 3-point range. Harrison Barnes scored 12 of his 17 points in the quarter, and Fox added nine as the Kings hit the jets and blew the Nets off the court.
The not-so-good run
An NBA game doesn’t end after 36 minutes, and the Kings learned that the hard way.
Led by an incredible fourth-quarter outburst from Russell, Brooklyn (37-36) stormed back in the final 12 minutes and maintained its position as the Eastern Conference's No. 7 seed.
Russell torched the Kings for 27 of his game-high 44 in the final period, single-handedly bringing the Nets to victory. He didn’t hit the game-winner, but with all of the attention focused on him, the Nets found a way to put the ball in the basket.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson breaks all of our hearts 💔 pic.twitter.com/HIRr46vjma— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) March 20, 2019
Bagley puts on a show
The rookie is growing by leaps and bounds every time he steps on the court. After dropping in 20 points and grabbing nine rebounds against the Bulls on Sunday, he destroyed the Nets' front line on Tuesday.
Bagley shot a perfect 8 of 8 from the field in the first half for 17 points. He backed that up after the break, finishing with a team-high 28 points on 12-of-15 shooting to go with seven rebounds.
The 20-year-old is looking to finish the season strong. He’s posted back-to-back 20 point games despite playing on a minutes restriction.