LOS ANGELES -- In a game of runs, the Sacramento Kings ran out of gas Sunday evening at Staples Center. Playing on the second night of a back-to-back, the Kings couldn’t buy a bucket the entire night.
Sacramento continued to hang around throughout the game, but Kyle Kuzma put up huge numbers and LeBron James notched his 81st career-triple double to hand the Kings a 111-106 loss.
Here are three takeaways as the Kings dropped back under the .500 mark on the season at 36-37.
Marvin Bagley has springs in his legs, even when the rest of the roster doesn’t. Playing on the second night of a back-to-back, the Kings’ rookie big looked fresh. The 20-year-old rolled through the Lakers' defense, scoring 25 points on 10-for-19 shooting in 36 minutes. He added 11 rebounds and a block, but it wasn’t enough to come away with the win. Since returning from injury, the No. 2 overall selection in the 2018 NBA Draft is crushing it, averaging over 19 points and eight rebounds per game.
A third to forget
The Kings couldn’t buy a bucket early, but they slowly came around in the second quarter to take a 49-48 lead into the half. Los Angeles came out hot in third and ran the Kings off the court. Led by the hot shooting of Kuzma, the Lakers outscored the Kings 39-28 in the period to take a 10-point lead into fourth. Kuzma torched the Kings for 21 of his 29 points in the 12-minute stretch, hitting 7-of-8 from the field and 4-for-5 from long range.
Sacramento looked dead in the water coming out of the third, but the Kings never stop playing. Bagley and Bogdan Bogdanovic kept the Kings afloat in the fourth to make things interesting. After trailing by as many as 17 in the third, the Kings reduced the Lakers' lead all the way down to two multiple times in the final three minutes, but they couldn’t get the big shot to fall when they needed it.
The Sacramento Kings are one of the up-and-coming teams in the NBA and they have money to spend to try to improve their squad.
One of the players they could target is power forward Tobias Harris.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on Tuesday that the Kings are among five teams that could pursue Harris once he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
The Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers, Utah Jazz and Brooklyn Nets are the other four teams that would have interest, according to the report.
The Inquirer reports that the biggest contract the Kings and any other team can offer Harris is $141 million over four years, while the incumbent Philadelphia 76ers can top that with a five-year, $188 million contract offer.
According to Spotrac.com, the Kings enter the offseason with $35.8 million in practical cap space.
Harris, who averaged a career-high 20.0 points per game this season with the Los Angeles Clippers and 76ers, would be an interesting fit with the Kings. Harrison Barnes has a player option worth more than $25 million, and the expectation is that he will exercise it. Marvin Bagley III, who was named to the All-Rookie First Team, should be the starter at power forward next season, so Harris' addition could complicate things. But at 6-foot-11, Bagley could potentially slide over to center, giving the Kings a smaller, but more dynamic lineup option.
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It will be interesting to see what the Kings do this offseason. After a 39-43 season, expectations in Sacramento are high, and their odds of winning an NBA title are increasing.
Spend your money wisely, Vlade Divac.
Marvin Bagley III capped off his successful first season in the NBA with a rookie's highest honor: NBA All-Rookie first team.
Bagley joined Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, Hawks guard Trae Young, Suns center Deandre Ayton and Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. on the first-team squad. Those five players also happen to be the first five players selected in the 2018 NBA Draft.
Bagley averaged 14.9 points and 7.6 rebounds in his first season in Sacramento after being selected with the No. 2 overall pick. Bagley appeared in 62 games (4 starts) and came on strong during the end of the season, averaging 18.5 points per game after the All-Star break while putting up only 13.3 points before the break.
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The Duke product fit in seamlessly next to point guard De'Aaron Fox, as the Kings hope Bagley and Fox form a dynamic duo for years to come.