The Kings’ 2020-21 season is spiraling out of control.
Coming into Saturday night, Sacramento had lost five straight and needed a win desperately against the Chicago Bulls with a back-to-back versus the Bucks looming on Sunday. Like the previous matchup against the Bulls, the Kings had no answer for Zach LaVine and fell by a final of 122-114.
Chicago’s star shooting guard dropped a game-high 38 points on 15-of-20 shooting. Thaddeus Young added 18 points off the bench to help move the Bulls to 13-16 on the season.
Marvin Bagley had a tremendous game for the Kings, but with Harrison Barnes and Richaun Holmes missing the game due to injury, the Kings didn’t have enough to snap the skid.
Here are three takeaways as the Kings dropped their sixth straight game to fall to 12-17 on the season.
Since missing two games last weekend with a calf issue, Bagley has returned with a little extra spring in his step. He’s playing on a minutes restriction, but over the last few games, he’s making the most of his time on the court.
Against the Bulls, he was active from the opening tip and helped keep the Kings in the game when shots stopped falling in the first half.
Bagley notched his eighth double-double of the season in the loss, tying his season-high with 26 points and 11 rebounds. He’s playing with confidence and looks about as comfortable on the court as we’ve seen him look since his rookie season.
Buddy Hield and De’Aaron Fox put up numbers, but when the chips were down, they missed shots and made mistakes.
Hield dropped in 23 points on 10-of-21 shooting, but he bricked wide open shots late, including an airball runner that would have drawn the Kings within four with under two minutes remaining. He also struggled defensively, but that’s par for the course for the Kings’ starting shooting guard.
Fox dropped in a 20-point, nine-assist game, but like Hield, he missed shots in crucial moments that could have impacted the final outcome. He also turned the ball over four times in the loss.
With two starters missing, Luke Walton made the decision to turn to Cory Joseph over Tyrese Haliburton with his opening group. The move may have worked as planned.
Haliburton took ownership over the second unit, especially late in the game. The rookie pushed the tempo, scored in traffic and found his teammates for open looks.
The rookie was relentless late, finishing with 16 points, five assists and two steals.