The Kings are reeling.
After an abysmal 2-5 homestand, Sacramento found the road equally rough. Playing the star-studded Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center, the Kings looked solid for about 20 minutes of action and that’s not going to cut it at the NBA level, regardless of the opponent.
Despite another solid performance from De’Aaron Fox, the Kings were dominated from the third quarter on, falling by a final of 115-96.
Kawhi Leonard bullied his way to 32 points and six steals. Paul George added 19 points as the Clippers (10-4) strong-armed the Kings (5-6) off the court.
Here are three takeaways from the Kings' fourth straight loss.
Back it up
Fresh off his best performance as a professional in the Kings’ narrow loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, Fox showed up again in LA. The 23-year-old guard appears to be ready to take that next step in his development.
After spending most of the first quarter setting up his teammates, Fox went off in the second for 14 of his team-high 25 points on the night. He was aggressive, even against an elite defender like Patrick Beverley.
Fox added seven assists, four rebounds and a steal. On the downside, he turned the ball over six times and shot just 3-of-8 from the line in the loss.
The Kings' slow start doesn't mean it's time to give up on the season, but it might mean it's time for a new starting lineup.
Tyrese Haliburton is only 20-years-old, but he already has proven to be one of the Kings' best players. He brings a confidence level to the court and Sacramento is just a different team when he’s on the floor.
Haliburton finished with 11 points, three points and two rebounds, and the Kings were just minus-1 with him on the floor during a 19-point loss. He needs more minutes and opportunities.
Good Buddy, Bad Buddy
Buddy Hield has been all over from one game to the next this season. Against the Clippers, he was all over the place from one possession to the next.
Hield knocked down 3-for-7 from long range on his way to 13 points. He also hustled on the defensive end and came away with three steals.
But the lack of focus with the ball in his hands led to four turnovers, and his lack of attention on the defensive end also hurt his team on multiple possessions. The Kings can't succeed if Hield remains so inconsistent.