SACRAMENTO -- Bad basketball is back.
After playing inspired hoops for a few weeks, the Kings reverted back to soft defense and uninspired play. It happened Friday night against a completely depleted Orlando Magic team and then again on Sunday night when the Memphis Grizzlies bullied the Kings for a 124-110 victory.
Don’t buy the final score, it wasn’t that close. Seven Grizzlies players dropped in double-figure scoring, led by a team-high 22 for Dillon Brooks. Jonas Valanciunas added a 25-point, 12-rebound double-double as Memphis moved to 11-11 on the season.
After climbing over the .500 mark at 12-11, the Kings have now dropped three in a row with a tough back-to-back scheduled Wednesday against the Brooklyn Nets.
Here are three takeaways as the Kings got embarrassed on their home floor to fall to 12-14 on the season.
At least someone has some fight in them. Rookie Tyrese Haliburton came off the bench to give Luke Walton’s squad a lift, like he does on most nights.
While he struggled slightly with the physicality of the Grizzlies, Haliburton got it going on the offensive end. He got in the lane with ease and used a variety of floaters off the glass and even had a couple of breakaway dunks off of steals.
Haliburton put up 22 points on 9-for-14 shooting. He chipped in four assists and four rebounds in the lopsided loss.
Battle at the point
De’Aaron Fox and Ja Morant are two of the best up-and-coming guards in the NBA. Fox dominated the matchup last season and despite his team’s poor performance on Sunday night, the Kings’ guard was the better player again.
Coming off his first missed game of the season, Fox took a little while to get going and he couldn’t buy a 3-pointer. That didn’t stop him from posting 23 points and nine assists in just 30 minutes of action.
Like Fox, Morant sat out a good portion of the fourth quarter with the game out of reach. He finished with 16 points on 7-for-18 shooting and dished out 10 assists.
Fox may have won the battle, but he lost the war in ugly fashion and was visibly angry when he came off the court for the last time in the third quarter.
Cory Joseph isn’t known for his offensive prowess, but with the Kings struggling to keep up with Memphis, the veteran guard went to work.
In 27 minutes of action, Joseph scored 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting. He was one of the few Kings player that could make a 3-point shot and he did a nice job defending Morant as well.