Kings

Kings Under Review: Breaking down Sacramento's collapse against Suns

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USATI

Kings Under Review: Breaking down Sacramento's collapse against Suns

The last two weeks have been littered with missed opportunities for the Sacramento Kings. Close losses to the Lakers, Trail Blazers, Nuggets and Warriors killed the team's momentum. They got back on the right track Monday against the Orlando Magic, but the turnover bug struck Tuesday night in Phoenix, costing the Kings a chance for a win.

Planted in last place in the Western Conference, the Suns fell behind big in the first half, but didn't go away. They turned up the defensive pressure to come away with a 115-111 victory over the Kings.

The loss pushed Sacramento back below the .500 mark at 20-21. Here are the positives and the negatives from the loss.

NEGATIVE

Giving it Away

The Kings over-dribbled, forced the action and were just downright sloppy in the loss to Phoenix. Sacramento couldn't hold onto the ball, which allowed the Suns to stick around and eventually take over the game.

Against one of the worst defensive teams in the league, the Kings turned the ball over a shocking 26 times, including 17 in the second half as the team collapsed.

De'Aaron Fox gave it up a career-high eight times, including seven after the intermission. Buddy Hield added five turnovers and Bogdan Bogdanovic lost it four times.

It's hard to win a game when you give up 33 points off of turnovers.

NEGATIVE

Another Late Collapse

Sacramento came out of the first half with a 19-point advantage and pushed the lead to 21 early in the third period, but then the ball got sticky.

When the Kings move the rock, it's a thing of beauty. When they over dribble and force the action, they show their youth.

Their frustrations on the offensive end often lead to a lack of focus on the defensive side of the ball and the game can snowball out of control quickly.

Take all the excuses and throw them out the window. Playing without their leading scorer, the Suns ran over the Kings in the second half to the tune of 62-39. 

POSITIVE

McLemore Sighting

Ben McLemore wasn't part of the grand plan coming into the season for Sacramento. He was acquired in a move to break up Garrett Temple's salary and there was even a chance that he wouldn't make the opening day roster.

Despite playing a limited role all season long, the former Kansas star showed up big time Tuesday night. He ran the floor and hit his open jumpers on his way to a season-high 20 point performance on 7-of-10 shooting.

McLemore is built to play in an uptempo style. He has speed, athleticism, and a smooth looking shot. Unfortunately for the 25-year-old wing, the Kings have plenty of players at his position. When he gets an opportunity to play, he needs to take advantage like he did against the Suns.

NEGATIVE

The Standings

Losses happen, but the Kings had a golden opportunity to finish above .500 at the midway point of the season and they let it slip through their fingers.

It's a reoccurring theme for the team over the last two weeks. They get up big and they let off the gas. Those things happen against good teams, but there are no excuses for dropping a game to one of the worst team's in the NBA. At least not if the Kings want to be in playoff contention come April.

This is another in a long line of a learning experience for Sacramento. They are now tied for the ninth spot in the standings with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Utah Jazz.

Kings takeaways: What we learned from 123-94 loss to Nets on MLK Day

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AP

Kings takeaways: What we learned from 123-94 loss to Nets on MLK Day

BOX SCORE

Beatdown in Brooklyn. The Sacramento Kings went into halftime with a lead and then never showed up for the final 24 minutes of the game Monday at Barclays Center. 

The Nets were the better team for most of the night as they ran Sacramento over by a final of 123-94.

D’Angelo Russell torched the Kings for 31 points on 7-of-14 from behind the arc. Joe Harris added 19 points and Rodions Kurucs ran through Sacramento’s defense for 16. 

Here are three takeaways as the Kings get embarrassed in Brooklyn to fall to 24-23 on the season.

Third Quarter Collapse

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Kings take a lead into halftime, only to give it all away in the third quarter. 

Through the first couple of months of the season, the Kings owned the third quarter. That hasn’t been the case in January. After leading 60-55 heading to the intermission, the ball got sticky and the shots didn’t fall in the third. 

Like most games this season, the Kings allowed their offensive woes to carry over to the defensive end. Brooklyn outscored Sacramento 38-25 in the third to take a 93-85 lead into the fourth. Russell got hot and the Kings didn’t have an answer.

Defensive? 

Sacramento lost their defense somewhere between Detroit and Brooklyn. Playing against a solid offensive club, the Kings couldn’t stay in front of anyone.

They made some adjustments in the second quarter, but they never figured out the counter move from the Nets coaching staff.

When Brooklyn wasn’t running layup lines past Sacramento’s guards, they were firing away from behind the arc with deadly accuracy. 

If the Kings want to compete for a playoff spot, they have to find a way to stop someone. The effort was bad, the rotations were slow and the rebounding was atrocious. 

Bogdanovic at the point

Bogdan Bogdanovic is the Kings’ most versatile player and against the Nets, he took on the role of distributor.

Coach Dave Joerger turned to his super-sub off the bench early and he instantly opened up the Kings’ offense. He got everyone involved, including Willie Cauley-Stein, who went on a dunking binge in the second quarter. 

Bogdanovic finished the game with 22 points, a career-high 11 assists and six rebounds in the loss.

Kings vs. Nets live stream: How to watch NBA game online on MyTeams

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NBC Sports Bay Area

Kings vs. Nets live stream: How to watch NBA game online on MyTeams

Coming off one of the most exciting wins of the season, the Kings (24-22) look to make it two in a row when they face the Nets (24-23) Monday in Brooklyn

The Kings' matinee on Martin Luther King Jr. Day won't be easy though. The Nets have won three in a row and have been on of the most surprising teams in the NBA. 

Fans should see an exciting battle of young backcourts in De'Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield versus D'Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie. Who will come out on top? 

We're about to find out.

Here's how you can watch Kings-Nets, as well as NBC Sports California's pregame and postgame coverage, live on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app. 

When: 12:30 p.m. PT on Monday, Jan. 21 (pregame show starts at 12:00 p.m.)
Live Stream: MyTeams by NBC Sports app

Desktop users can stream the game here.