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What we learned in Kings' stunning home loss to Hornets

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Tired of the roller coaster? Don’t worry, there are only 38 Kings games remaining in the 2020-21 NBA season.

After snapping their nine-game losing streak Friday night in Detroit, the Kings looked ready to make it two wins in row Sunday at Golden 1 Center when the Charlotte Hornets dropped by Golden 1 Center.

The Kings had a solid lead late, but they missed free throws and allowed the Hornets to sneak in and steal a stunning win by a final of 127-126.

P.J. Washington put up a career-high 42 points and rookie LaMelo Ball hit the Kings for 24 points and 12 assists, but it was Malik Monk’s lay-in and free throw with 1.4 remaining that stole the game away. 

Buddy Hield knocked down eight 3-pointers to put him over a 1,000 made mark for his career. He is the fastest player in NBA history to a 1,000 makes, accomplishing the feat in just 350 games, 19 games faster than Warriors superstar Stephen Curry.

Here are three takeaways as the Kings fall apart late and fall to 13-21. 

Let it fly

Buddy Hield is having a brutal season, but every once in a while the shots go down for the 3-point bomber. That was the case early for Hield.

In a wild opening quarter, Hield knocked down 5-of-7 from long range on his way to a 17-point quarter.

Hield continued his hot shooting throughout the game, finishing with a season-high 30 points on 10-for-16 from the field and 8-of-14 from deep. He rolled his right ankle late, but made his way back to the court. Unfortunately, he hit just one of two at the line in the closing moments, which would have helped the Kings tremendously.

 

Black Falcon soars

Since missing three games with a foot strain, Harrison Barnes has regained his early season form. Coming into Sunday, he had posted 18, 22 and 21 points over a three game stretch and he went back to work against the Hornets.

Barnes stuffed the stat sheet, finishing with 28 points on 4-of-7 shooting from 3-point range and 10-for-14 from the field. He added six assists and six rebounds. He even showed a little emotion in the fourth.

Young duo shines

The plan in Sacramento the last two seasons was to build around the core of De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley. Fox has taken a couple of giant leaps forward in production, but Bagley’s career has taken a winding path due to injuries. Against the Hornets, the pair showed a glimmer of what might be.

Fox dropped in his ninth double-double, hitting the Hornets for 20 points and a season-high 14 assists. He was decisive off the dribble and on more than one occasion blew through Charlotte’s defense. 

Bagley is on a hot streak as of late and he was a big time problem for the Hornets. In 35 minutes, he notched his 10th double-double of the year, finishing with 24 points and 10 rebounds.

Like Hield, Fox and Bagley both missed big free throws in the final minute of the game. The stats mean very little when you can’t close out a winnable game.