When you looked at the Kings' schedule and saw a back-to-back on the road against the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers in March, it looked like a pair of losses.
After knocking off the Celtics on Friday night, the Kings came into Saturday with a glimmer of hope, especially when the injury report came out and Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Seth Curry were sidelined for Philly. That hope was extinguished in the first moments of the game.
Philly came out hot and completely blew the Kings off the court. In one of the more embarrassing performances of the season, Sacramento left the City of Brotherly love with a lopsided 129-105 defeat.
Tobias Harris was unstoppable, Danny Green caught fire from long range and Shake Milton spent half the night shooting free throws for the first place Sixers (29-13). If it wasn’t for Dwight Howard picking up multiple goaltending calls, the score would have been worse.
Here are three takeaways as the Kings failed to show up and were handed a brutal loss to 17-25 on the season.
Coach Luke Walton debuted his new starting lineup three games ago and coming into Saturday, the group of De’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes and Richaun Holmes were 2-0. That’s not the case any longer.
All five players posted monster negatives in the plus/minus category, including a team-worse -28 for Holmes, who was coming off one of his best games of the season.
In the group’s defense, all of them played major minutes in the team’s win over the Celtics and they looked worn out.
There was a time when Howard was an NBA superstar. That is no longer the case.
At 35-years-old, Howard is nothing more than a limited minutes backup, but with Embiid on the shelf, 76ers coach Doc Rivers has very few options.
Howard finished the night with a 10-point, 13-rebound double-double, but he gave the Kings eight points with a stunning four goaltending calls. I’m not sure what the NBA record is, but Howard seemed to be going to for it.
Buddy Hield is all over the board this season. He’s had major highs and even lower lows. Despite the blowout loss, Hield continued his strong recent play.
Hield couldn’t miss early and the Kings kept feeding him.
In an ugly game, Hield finished with a team-high 25 points on 7-of-13 shooting from behind the arc.