The Milwaukee Bucks are really good. The Kings were reminded of that fact Saturday morning in Orlando.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kyle Korver and Brook Lopez lit the Kings up, but it was a team effort for Milwaukee. They hit 20-for-45 from behind the 3-point line, including makes from eight different players.
Sacramento still is down two starters in Harrison Barnes and Richaun Holmes, but they clearly were overmatched by the team with the best record in the NBA. They’ll need to tighten things up significantly, especially on the defensive end as they build towards the restart opener on July 31.
Here are three takeaways as the Kings drop their second straight scrimmage in the Orlando bubble, this time by a final of 131-123.
[PURPLE TALK PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]
De’Aaron Fox rolled his left ankle in practice on July 15 and all seemed lost. Less than two weeks later, Fox returned to the court, although he played limited minutes for the Kings.
His numbers weren’t eye-popping, but he looked healthy and ready to compete when the games count. Fox finished the game with seven points and six assists in 19 minutes.
The Kings are a different team with Fox on the court. If they have any hope of making a run in Orlando, they need him 100 percent healthy.
When general manager Vlade Divac traded Trevor Ariza for Kent Bazemore, it almost looked like a straight swap of veteran wings. Whatever the reason, Bazemore has fit in perfectly in Sacramento and become a difference-maker.
Against the Bucks, Bazemore started for Barnes, who is in the NBA’s bubble but still awaiting clearance to play. He was active on both ends of the court and even made a few highlight-reel plays.
Kent Bazemore throws it down on the defender 😤 pic.twitter.com/DwQ8OHTOpS— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) July 25, 2020
Bazmore’s defensive intensity is contagious and his offense is a bonus. He finished the game with 16 points, eight rebounds and a block in 26 minutes of action.
Cleaning it up
Turnovers have been a huge concern for Kings coach Luke Walton throughout camp. Against the Miami Heat, Sacramento fumbled it away 18 times in the team’s 104-98 loss.
Against Milwaukee, the Kings gave it away just 10 times and finished with 23 assists.
Getting Fox back in the fold helps out, but against a very long and aggressive defensive team, the Kings valued the ball. It didn’t translate to a win, but the improvement was noticeable.
Now the focus for Walton’s team has to shift to team rebounding and defending the 3-point line.