Kings takeaways: What we learned in close 123-111 road loss to the Bucks


Kings takeaways: What we learned in close 123-111 road loss to the Bucks


No Giannis? No problem.

The Sacramento Kings gave the Milwaukee Bucks all they could handle for three quarters Monday night at Fiserv Forum. But an NBA game is 48 minutes, not 36.

The NBA’s best team hit the Kings with a right cross to open the fourth and Sacramento never regained their footing.  Despite the Kings’ best effort, Milwaukee came away with the 123-111 victory.

Eric Bledsoe, Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton all scored 20 or more for the Bucks as they to improve to 46-7 on the season.

Here are three takeaways as the Bucks snapped the Kings’ three-game win streak and dropped them to 21-32 on the season.

No Greek Freak

Reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo came into the day questionable due to a personal issue. That reason became clearer early in the afternoon.

Milwaukee came into the night 4-0 on the season without their superstar. They made it 5-0, giving Liam Charles Antetokounmpo his first victory. 

The Bucks are the best team in the NBA this season. At 46-7, they are pacing for 71 wins on the season. Every once in awhile it’s okay for your best player to take a night off.

Do it again

Harrison Barnes put the Kings on his back and carried them Saturday in the team’s victory against the San Antonio Spurs. He was back at it again Monday in Milwaukee.

When the shots weren’t falling early, the 27-year-old challenged the Bucks bigs down low. When the Kings started the game 1-of-12 from long range, it was Barnes who finally started hitting. 

Barnes scored 17 of his team-high 23 points in the first half. He shot 8-for-13 from the field, including 5-of-9 from long range and he added three assists. 

Sacramento doesn’t need big offensive numbers from Barnes every night, but an occasional breakout game is welcome.  

Find a way

De’Aaron Fox has nights when the shot just doesn’t fall. It is in those moments where he has to find a way to produce. That is exactly what the third-year point guard did against the Bucks.

Despite shooting just 5-of-19 from the field, Fox managed to hit the NBA’s best team for 17 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds in the loss. 

The rough shooting didn’t slow Fox. He continued to attack the teeth of the Bucks defense and create for both himself and others. 

Kings players provide meals to locals in need amid coronavirus pandemic

Kings players provide meals to locals in need amid coronavirus pandemic

The Kings are getting involved.

It started with a 5,000-pound food donation in the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak, but the team is stepping up to help both the local community and abroad.

Late last week the Kings offered up Arco Arena as a surge hospital and it is currently being transformed by the Army Corps of Engineers into a 400-bed facility. On Tuesday, we learned that Bogdan Bogdan, Nemanja Bjelica and Ana and Vlade Divac are sending aid to Serbia, including ventilators, masks and other medical supplies.

Bogdanovic is now joining Richaun Holmes, De’Aaron Fox and Harrison Barnes in a new local venture, where the players are partnering to support local eateries while supplying over 1,000 meals to families in the Sacramento area.

“Since coming to Sacramento I have experienced firsthand how our community is truly one big family, so my teammates and I are committed to looking out for those in need and lending a helping hand,” Holmes, who initiated the plan, said via press release. “I am very thankful for my teammates in joining me to help bring smiles to others and get through this time together.”

The quartet of players are working with non-profits Juma Ventures and City Year, as well as Buckhorn Grill, Chicago Fire, Fixins Soul Kitchen and Jimboy’s Tacos, who will deliver food to those in need.

[RELATED: Kings' Bogdan Bogdanovic shooting on neighbor's hoop during NBA shutdown]

“Sacramento is a huge part of my life and my career,” Bogdanovic told NBC Sports California when reached for comment. “We all said, ‘we have to give back to our community.’ We’re trying to help as much as we can. There are all of these people, most of who are fans, who are helping us during our games. Now it’s our time to help them”

The group has gone through local non-profits to find those in need and will have food delivered in the coming days. 

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Kings' Bogdan Bogdanovic shooting on neighbor's hoop during NBA shutdown

Kings' Bogdan Bogdanovic shooting on neighbor's hoop during NBA shutdown

Every player in the NBA is different when it comes to their workout routine. Some players like to live in the weight room. Others use their key cards to show up at all hours of the day to get shots up.

Bogdan Bogdanovic is known for his incredible work ethic and his need to be in the gym shooting, but like everyone else, he’s locked out of the practice facility. 

Without a state of the art facility to work in, Bogdanovic has purchased equipment for his garage and turned to an interesting option to get his shots up.

“I have a little basket hoop from my neighbors, sometimes I’m shooting over there,” Bogdanovic said during the special edition of the Purple Talk podcast. “I ordered one, but it will come in two months or something.”

Once a hoop arrives, it will be in a box. Does the Serbian sharpshooter own a socket set? Can he make it through a complex “exploded view” diagram as he assembles a hoop on his own? 

[RELATED: Kings' Vlade Divac, Bogdan Bogdanovic send coronavirus aid to Serbia]

These are questions that we will have that will have to wait until the NBA’s mandated shutdown ends. Until then, we must assume that Bogdanovic is putting in work on his neighbor's water-based, roll around hoop that he can lower if he feels like trying a 360 dunk. Or maybe he’s installed a nerf hoop in his living room to keep fresh.

The coronavirus has caught all of us off guard. Bogdanovic, like everyone else, will need to adapt if he hopes to overcome. Or the team's most versatile player could just sign his extension offer from the Kings and go out and purchase a home with a built-in court. 

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