SACRAMENTO -- Better effort, same result.
The Sacramento Kings showed a lot of life Monday evening at Golden 1 Center. They fought back from multiple deficits and got to within two of the Denver Nuggets late in the fourth quarter.
In the end, the Kings’ shots fell short and they dropped a close one by a final of 101-94.
Jamal Murray led the way for Denver with 18 points, including a big three with just over 30 seconds remaining to seal the win. Gary Harris added 17 to help the Nuggets improve to 3-0 on the season.
Here are three takeaways as the Kings come close, but fall to 0-4 to start the 2019-20 season.
Three minutes into the first quarter and you could hear a pin drop in Golden 1 Center. The energy from the crowd matched the Kings’ play on the court.
Starting center Dewayne Dedmon picked up his second foul in just under 180 seconds of action and went to the bench. His replacement, Richaun Holmes, brought the energy and a whole lot more.
Sacramento trailed 10-3 when Holmes entered the game. By the end of the first quarter, they were up 28-21 and Holmes already had 11 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting.
Holmes didn’t stop his dominating performance after the first 12 minutes of the game. The 26-year-old center finished the evening with 24 points on 10-for-13 shooting to go with 12 rebounds and two blocks.
Running with Fox
After three stinkers to start the season, the Kings looked more like the team that folks became accustomed to last season. They ran, the scored, they played energy.
De’Aaron Fox was a huge reason for the change.
The 21-year-old point guard flashed the speed that made him a candidate for the league’s Most Improved Player award last season. He even showed his ability to launch from the perimeter.
Fox finished the game with 20 points on 7-of-17 shooting. He added nine assists and three rebounds, but it wasn’t quite enough to get the win.
The disappearance of Buddy Hield Part 2
Hield is struggling. For a second straight game, Sacramento’s starting shooting guard couldn’t buy a bucket.
After scoring just three points on 1-of-7 shooting against the Jazz on Saturday, Hield missed his first eight shots and didn’t score a point until there was 7:36 remaining in the fourth quarter.
With Marvin Bagley sidelined, Sacramento has to have production from every player on the floor, especially last season’s leading scorer. Scoring five points and turning the ball over five times in 33 minutes isn’t going to cut it.