Kings takeaways: What we learned in dominant 124-103 win over Clippers

Kings takeaways: What we learned in dominant 124-103 win over Clippers


LOS ANGELES -- Better effort, better result. 

After a dreary effort Wednesday on their homecourt, the Sacramento Kings walked into Staples Center and played to their potential Thursday against the Clippers.

De’Aaron Fox put up a career night and the Kings knocked down a franchise record 21 3-pointers as they pummeled the Clippers (33-15) on their home floor by a final of 124-103.

Here are three takeaways as the Kings improved to 18-30 on the season with a stunning win on the second night of a back-to-back.

Fox trot

Head coach Luke Walton called his team out after Wednesday’s loss to OKC for not playing with enough physicality. De’Aaron Fox heard the message.

From the opening tip, Fox the most aggressive player on the court. He went at the Clippers defense and set up his teammates on the perimeter. He even got in on the 3-point fun. 

Fox finished the night with a new career-high with 34 points on 14-for-24 shooting, including 3-of-4 from long range. He added eight assists, four steals and two blocks as the Kings pulled off the improbable win.

Make it rain

Every once in a while a team get so hot, there is nothing their opponent can do. It happened to the Kings on Monday in Minnesota when the T-Wolves hit a franchise record 23 3-pointers. On Thursday in LA, it was the Kings’ turn. 

Sacramento caught fire in the first half, launching and hitting 15-for-25 from distance. They slowed down after the intermission, but still managed to hit a new franchise record 21 3-pointers in the win.

Seven players knocked down a triple for the Kings and six of them hit two or more. Sometimes the rim looks twice it’s normal size.

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CoJo shines off bench

As soon as star sixth man Lou Williams stepped on the floor for the Clippers, Walton turned to Cory Joseph to slow him down. What Walton didn’t plan on was his veteran point guard catching fire.

Like the rest of his teammates, Joseph got it going from long range, hitting 4-of-9 from 3-point range on his way to a season-high 16 points. He chipped in seven assists and didn’t register a single turnover in his 32 minutes of play. 

Teams like the Clippers is why the Kings invested in Joseph in the offseason. He’s a strong veteran player that every once in a while will surprise you with his offense.

Kings' Luke Walton brought seven pounds of coffee to Orlando bubble

Kings' Luke Walton brought seven pounds of coffee to Orlando bubble

Always come prepared.

For an NBA player, an XBox 1 or PS4 are high on the list of "must bring" items for the extended stay in the NBA's Orlando bubble. Players have their priorities, but so do coaches.

According to Kings head coach Luke Walton, he packed the usual stack of clothing items and basic necessities, but he also had a full carry on filled with a luxury item.

"The strangest thing I brought that I'm happy I brought now is I dedicated a whole carry-on bag to my coffee," Walton said. "Which is seven pounds of coffee beans, my coffee grinder, I've got a French press in my room. I knew we were going to be quarantined, so I couldn't trust whatever was going to be in my room."

[RELATED: Four member of Kings' traveling party stayed behind]

One could imagine bringing your own varieties of Kuerig pods, but Walton has not officially upped his game. Hopefully he has more than some powdered creamer and a flimsy stir straw to work with as he settles in for the long hall at The Yacht Club.

Four Kings' traveling party members didn't fly to NBA's Orlando bubble

Four Kings' traveling party members didn't fly to NBA's Orlando bubble

The Sacramento Kings are short-handed in Orlando.

On the first day they are allowed to practice as a team, coach Luke Walton confirmed that none of the three players who tested positive for the coronavirus have traveled with the team and a fourth unidentified member of the traveling party missed the team flight as well.

“We’re still in the protocol,” Walton told the media during a Zoom call following practice on Friday. “From our traveling party, I’m not going to get into names, I’ll make that a personal decision, but from the travel party, out of the 35, we left four people back. From those four, nobody has passed NBA protocol yet to rejoin us, but we are hopeful that some of them are getting close.”

We know that three of the four are Buddy Hield, Alex Len and Jabari Parker, all three of which are confirmed to have tested positive around the June 23 mark.

“There could be a week, there could be a hey, someone doesn’t come at all,” Walton added. “It’s just the reality of what it is. I’m very open to our team about that.”

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It’s a tough situation. If Hield can’t make it back in time to play, the Kings are without their second leading scorer and one of the better 3-point shooters in the game.

Len provided a massive lift to the team as a defensive roadblock in the middle of the key. His skill set could really come in handy against players like Zion Williamson. Parker wasn’t in the rotation, but with so much uncertainty regarding the coronavirus, there could be a time where his ability to score the ball could come into play for the Kings.

“The mindset is that we’re going to embrace all of it,” Walton said. “We know that it’s going to be crazy. People are going to join us. Maybe they won’t. Maybe there are people that are here that test positive at some point. Every team has to go through this, so we’ve got to be ready to accept what our roles are. Our roles are going to change as this thing goes and the teams that can do that most efficiently I think are going to give themselves a big advantage.”

The Kings, like the other 21 teams in the bubble, have to prepare for as many variables as possible. In the meantime, the players are communicating with teammates back in Sacramento with the hopes that reinforcements are on their way.

[RELATED: Kings react to Orlando arrival]

“It’s a troubling time, a lot of unknowns and things like that, but we’ve definitely been in contact with those guys and always let their voice be heard in the group,” Richaun Holmes said. “We just want them to get healthy. Get as healthy as possible and make sure everything is good with them and their families and then when they get down here, be ready to rock and roll.”

Sacramento has another practice session on Saturday, which will be another limited contact practice as Walton and his staff slowly build towards scrimmage games beginning on July 22. It will be a quick ramp up with the Kings playing their first official game on July 31 against the San Antonio Spurs.