The Kings had lost six straight in Denver heading into Wednesday's season opener. Despite leading the Nuggets for most of the second half, the Kings couldn’t close it out in regulation. And then all hell broke loose in overtime.
In a wild final few seconds of extra time, the Kings turned defeat into victory. The Nuggets had the ball with six seconds remaining and a chance to win it, but Harrison Barnes came up with a huge steal to set off a crazy finish.
Barnes broke for the basket with the clock ticking down and missed a hammer dunk that would have put the game away. Buddy Hield trailed the play and flew in for a tip-in as time expired to give the Kings the improbable 124-122 win in OT.
Nikola Jokic hit the Kings with a huge triple-double and Michael Porter Jr. posted a strong performance, but it wasn’t enough.
Here are three takeaways as the Kings start the season with a shocker in Denver to move to 1-0.
The Kings told us they would run. They told us De’Aaron Fox would drive the bus. They didn’t lie.
Despite playing at mile-high elevation, the Kings turned on the jets from the opening minutes of the game and made the Nuggets work.
Fox took a little while to get his offense going, but once he did, the Kings’ star young point guard put on a show. In 39 minutes of action, Fox scored 21 points on 8-for-20 shooting. He chipped in seven assists, four rebounds and one of the biggest blocks in Kings history.
It was the type of performance Sacramento needs out of Fox each and every game this season.
Flashes of the future
There was a reason the Kings selected Marvin Bagley with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. When healthy, the 21-year-old power forward is a walking double-double, which he showed the Nuggets on opening night.
Kings coach Luke Walton started Bagley at the four, but he used him for major minutes at both power forward and center.
Bagley was aggressive on both ends of the court, finishing with 13 points, nine rebounds and a block in 27 minutes before fouling out. It was the start to the season that Bagley needed.
Even more flashes of the future
The Kings’ front office celebrated like crazy when Tyrese Haliburton fell to the No. 12 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. The rookie showed everyone why in the opener.
Haliburton put up a modest 12 points, four assists and two rebounds, but Walton showed trust in the 20-year-old down the stretch and he came up huge.
In his first NBA action, Haliburton looked like a seasoned veteran. He hit big shots, was a nuisance on defense and came up with plays in crunch time.