SACRAMENTO -- If cardboard cutouts could boo, the Kings would have been ushered off the court in the first half.
In another lackluster performance, the Kings finished out their homestand on a low note. Playing without Harrison Barnes and Richaun Holmes is tough. Playing without energy for more than a half of basketball is worse.
Despite playing on the second night of a back-to-back, the Miami Heat coasted to a 118-110 win over the Kings on Thursday night at Golden 1 Center. Sacramento (12-16) looked listless in the first half and fell behind by as many as 23 in the third quarter before showing some signs of life heading to the fourth.
In the end, the hole was too deep to dig out of, despite the efforts of Nemanja Bjelica and DaQuan Jeffries.
Tyler Herro dropped in 27 points off the Heat’s bench to lead all scorers. Kelly Olynyk added 22 points and Duncan Robinson chipped in 20 for Miami, who improved to 12-17.
Here are three takeaways as the Kings dropped their fifth straight game to fall to 12-16 on the season.
Hot and Cold
This might feel like a copy and paste, but Buddy Hield couldn’t buy a bucket once again in this game.
Known throughout his career for his ability to knock down a triple, Hield drew iron on almost every shot he took. He finished the night with five points on 1-of-8 shooting from long range.
With Hield out of sorts once again, coach Luke Walton turned to Jeffries and got a surprise punch from the second-year wing. Jeffries scored 11 of his career-high 17 points in a wild barrage in the third quarter.
Jeffries brought energy the Kings needed, which helped them avoid a complete blow out. He also shot an incredible 6-of-6 from the field, including five makes from long range.
Bjelica picked up his first start of the season and made the most of his time on the court. When the Kings couldn’t score at all, it was Bjelica who continued to compete.
The veteran has fresh legs after missing 14 straight games. He struggled from the outside, but he managed to hit the Heat with one crafty take to the basket after another.
Bjelica posted his best game of the season, finishing with a season-high 25 points on 11-of-21 shooting to go with eight rebounds.
Center of attention
With Holmes out of action, Walton shifted Marvin Bagley to the five. Despite playing on a minutes restriction, the young big had an impact.
Bagley outdueled NBA All-Star Bam Adebayo in the post. He was active on the glass, rebounding outside of his zone on multiple occasions.
The 21-year-old notched his seventh double-double of the season, finishing with 19 points and 10 rebounds on the night in 24 minutes.