One quarter can completely change the complexity of an NBA game. The Kings once again learned this lesson Saturday night in Atlanta.
After a stellar first quarter, the Kings came out flat in the second and the Hawks ran them off the court. Sacramento played catch up the rest of the night, but never found a way to break through, falling by a final of 121-106.
Clint Capela put up a solid double-double, Trae Young had his customary big scoring night and Danilo Gallinari dropped in 15 points off the bench to pace the Hawks.
The Kings had chances to climb back in the game, but couldn’t get shots to fall when they needed them.
Here are three takeaways as the Kings stumble in Atlanta to fall to 15-23 on the season.
The Kings were the more aggressive team in the first quarter, hitting the Hawks with a 33-22 punch in the game’s first 12 minutes. And then the second quarter happened.
Led by strong performances from Rajon Rondo and Capela, the Hawks pounded the Kings to the tune of 39-18 in the period to take a 61-51 lead into the half.
Sacramento turned the ball over, missed shots and were completely outclassed in the period. Fox scored 12 of the team’s 18 points in the quarter and the rest of the team completely melted down.
Atlanta threw a right hook and the Kings never got off the canvas.
Fox vs. Trae
De’Aaron Fox and Young are two of the up-and-coming guards in the league and they always put on a show when they go head-to-head. Saturday night in Atlanta was no exception.
Fox was the better player in the first half, scoring 20 points before the two teams could get back to the locker room. In 40 minutes of action, the Kings’ star young guard finished with 32 points, six assists and seven rebounds.
Young took a while to get going, but he started shooting from the logo in the third and dropped a big 28-point, nine-assist performance. Fox may have won the battle, but Young clearly won the war.
Bogdan Bogdanovic spent the first three years of his NBA career in a Kings jersey. He signed an offer sheet with the Hawks during the offseason and Kings GM Monte McNair passed on the deal.
After missing 25 straight games with a knee injury, Bogdanovic is trying to work his way back into Atlanta’s rotation. He doesn’t quite look like himself yet, but he managed to finish with six points, four rebounds and an assist. He hit just 2-for-11 from the field, including an 0-for-5 night from 3-point range.
If the Hawks hope to climb up the standings in the Eastern Conference, they’ll need Bogdanovic to find a rhythm and quickly work himself back into basketball shape.