Kings

Kings takeaways: What we learned in tough 127-106 loss to Pistons

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Kings takeaways: What we learned in tough 127-106 loss to Pistons

BOX SCORE

Are the Sacramento Kings starting to break?

In a season filled with lows, the Kings dropped their sixth straight game Wednesday night to a completely depleted Detroit Pistons team by a final of 127-106. 

Former league MVP Derrick Rose put on a show, finishing with 22 points and 11 assists. Reserve Christian Wood more than doubled his scoring average, dropping in 23 points on 7-for-8 shooting and Reggie Jackson added 22 points in the blowout win.

Here are three takeaways as the Kings look listless in Detroit and fall to a season-high 14 games under .500 at 15-29 on the season. 

Free Throws

The Kings continue to struggle not only with getting to the free-throw line, but with taking advantage once they get there. 

Sacramento got the stripe lust 23 times on the evening and missed 11 of those shots. It was a team-wide issue with seven players missing at least one freebie.

In addition to struggling with their chances, the Kings put the Pistons at the line 44 times, where they hit 37. 

It’s hard to compete when you get outscored at the free-throw line by 26 points. Sacramento needs to be more aggressive in their attack and they have to stop fouling teams at will.

New Guys

With Marvin Bagley and Richaun Holmes out with injury, coach Luke Walton turned to Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver to eat some minutes. 

Bazemore brought the same energy he’s been known for during his eight-year NBA career. With the Kings needing easy buckets, he got to the free-throw line and finished with seven points, three rebounds and a steal.

Tolliver went scoreless in six minutes of action, missing his only two attempts from the field. 

Bombing Bogi

Bogdan Bogdanovic is starting to get his legs under him after a six-game absence. The Kings need even more from their super-sub.

Against the Pistons, the Serbian-born wing went 3-for-8 from long range to finish with 19 points and three assists.

With Buddy Hield struggling to get anything to fall from the perimeter, Walton might need to rely more on Bogdanovic that originally expected if the Kings have any hopes of pulling out of the spiral. 

Would trying a starting backcourt of Bogdanovic and De’Aaron Fox make sense for Sacramento at this point?

Kings guard Kyle Guy reveals his grandfather died from coronavirus

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USATSI

Kings guard Kyle Guy reveals his grandfather died from coronavirus

The global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has forever changed Kyle Guy's family.

The Kings' second-round draft pick revealed Saturday that his grandfather died Friday night after contracting the virus.

"When I was 7 or 8 my grandpa had me sign a piece of paper saying he’d be my manager (jokingly) if I ever made it to the NBA 😂 something as small as that was always on my mind while I tried to make that dream come true. I know he’s up there waiting for his cut lmao.. and one day, I’ll give it to him ❤️," Guy wrote on Instagram.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 277,205 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States and 6,593 deaths in the country.

[RELATED: Kings' former arena to be converted to hospital]

Guy, who grew up in Indianapolis and went to school at the University of Virginia, signed a two-way contract with the Kings in July.

Five things to watch from Kings’ emotional comeback over Timberwolves

Five things to watch from Kings’ emotional comeback over Timberwolves

Programming note: Watch the re-air of the Kings’ victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves from Jan. 27, 2020 this afternoon at 3 p.m. on NBC Sports California.

To pass the time while the NBA figures out it’s next moves, NBC Sports California is bringing fans some of the best games from the last few seasons.

In our ninth installment, we go back to earlier this season when the Kings fell behind huge and pulled off an improbable comeback on the road against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

This was an emotional night for both teams. NBA legend Kobe Bryant had passed away the day before. The Timberwolves opened the game with an eight-second violation and the Kings gave it back on a 24-second shot clock violation to pay tribute to Bryant.

While we know the final outcome, sometimes the details are forgotten. Here are five things to watch from the Kings’ 133-127 overtime win over the Timberwolves at the Target Center.

The Decision

99 times out of 100, an NBA head coach pulls his starters when they are down 22 points with six minutes remaining in the fourth. That is not what coach Luke Walton did.

Showing some faith in his team, Walton left his starters in the game and they responded with a 33-11 run over the final 5:42 of the fourth to force overtime.

With momentum on their side, the Kings put the T-Wolves away in the extra five minutes to come away with one of the most stunning recoveries in team history. Sometimes you just have to play out the entire 48 minutes and show respect to the basketball gods.

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Buddy goes big

Buddy Hield can fill it up, but against the T-Wolves, he was on a different level.

In 38 minutes off the bench, Hield posted a career-high 42 points on 14-of-24 from the field and 9-for-14 from behind the arc.

With the Kings trailing big in the fourth, it was Hield who caught fire, scoring 20 points on a perfect 6-of-6 shooting from the field in the final 10:30 of the game.

With his teammates feeding him the ball at every opportunity, Buddy Buckets put on a show. A lifelong fan of Bryant, Hield had a little extra motivation in this game as well.


Fox misses ... and then doesn’t

It looked like the game was over in the third quarter and the Kings were barely breathing late in the fourth. The team got hot, played defense and had a little luck on their side to help claw back into the game, but they still needed a special play to get over the hump.

With three seconds remaining on the clock, De’Aaron Fox was fouled and sent to the line with his team trailing by three points. The Kings’ starting point guard nailed the first free throw and before the Timberwolves knew what hit them, he threw the ball off the front of the rim, caught it on the way up and scored a layup to tie the game.

Fox finished the game with 22 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. He closed out the game with six points in the overtime session to give the Kings the shocking comeback win.

Revenge game

Nemanja Bjelica spent his first three seasons in the NBA playing in Minnesota. He had all but given up on the league after that experience before the Kings talked him into signing a three-year deal.

In the overtime victory, the Kings power forward did a lot of everything. Bjelica knocked down 4-of-6 from long range on his way to 20 points. He added eight assists, nine rebounds, three blocks and two steals in 41 minutes of inspired basketball.

When Bjelica is on, the Kings are a different team.

[RELATED: Former Kings arena turned into coronavirus surge hospital]

Laws of averages

The Timberwolves aren't a great 3-point shooting team, but they were on in this game. The 'Wolves shot an incredible 23-of-46 from 3-point range and that almost carried them to victory.

Andrew Wiggins knocked down seven triples and Robert Covington added six of his own.

Unfortunately for the T-Wolves, they went cold when it mattered, hitting just 2-of-6 from behind the arc in the fourth quarter and 1-of-7 during the overtime session. As quickly as they shot themselves out to a huge lead, the Timberwolves shot themselves right out of the game.