Just a week ago, the Kings rattled off five straight wins and were right back in the mix for the playoffs. But just like earlier in the season, this team can’t handle success.
On Monday night at Target Center in Minnesota, Sacramento dropped their fourth straight game, falling by a final of 116-106 to the last-place Timberwolves.
Sacramento did a solid job of making Karl-Anthony Towns work for his numbers, but he made some big plays late. Rookie Anthony Edwards impressed, as did D’Angelo Russell in his first game back after an extended absence with a knee issue.
Here are three takeaways as the Kings dropped their fourth straight game to fall to 22-29 on the season.
After a quiet first quarter, De’Aaron Fox came out in the second and put on a show. The Kings’ star point guard scored 15 of his 20 first half points in a wild barrage leading to halftime as the Kings rallied to erase a deficit.
Fox didn’t back down in the second half. Building off the momentum of the first 24 minutes of action, Fox finished with 31 points, nine assists, six rebounds and two steals. He shot 8-for-16 from the field and 13-for-15 from the line. Both the attempts and make from the stripe are a career high for the fourth-year guard.
It might not be fair, but if the Kings have any shot of making the playoffs, Fox has to be this player in every game down the stretch. And even when he is this good, sometimes it’s not enough.
Harrison Barnes got it going early and often. The veteran forward scored 12 points in the first quarter and he was just getting started.
The Kings fed Barnes on multiple post ups and he bullied his way to a 21-point, 12-rebound double-double, including some big time dunks.
When the Kings are at their best, Barnes is featured heavily.
With LaMelo Ball likely out for the season, the NBA’s Rookie of the Year battle might come down to Edward and Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton.
Haliburton took home the first two Western Conference Rookie of the Month awards and Edwards just earned the latest one for the month of March. Monday’s game might be a microcosm of the debate between the two.
Haliburton finished with just nine points on 4-for-9 shooting with seven assists, two blocks and a steal. He was efficient, but not a focal point.
Edwards scored more points, finishing with 19 to go with eight rebounds and five assists. But he shot just 5-for-15 from the field and turned the ball over seven times. Despite the inefficient night, Edwards was the better player and his team one, so he gets the advantage.