SACRAMENTO -- The Kings don't going away, which the Miami Heat were reminded of Friday evening at Golden 1 Center. Armed with reinforcements and a sold out crowd, Sacramento overcame a 17-point third quarter deficit to improve to 4-1 on their six-game homestand.
Hassan Whiteside dominated the paint, Josh Richardson put up solid numbers and future Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade survived a nasty spill to score 15 points off the bench. But it wasn't enough to overcome the charging Kings, who came away with a 102-96 victory.
The win pushed the Kings three games over the .500 mark at 29-26. Here are the positives and the negatives from the win.
With new players filtering into the rotation, the Kings looked completely out of sorts throughout the first three quarters. It took Sacramento more than three and a half minutes to score their first basket of the evening. They trailed by as many as 11 points in the first quarter, 12 in the second quarter and they fell behind by 17 with 4:24 left in the third.
The Kings rallied to finish the third, hitting the Heat with a 13-4 run to trail 83-75 going to the fourth. Miami fended off an early push in the fourth and held an 11 points lead at 94-83 with 6:29 remaining.
In the final six minutes, it was all Kings. Five different players score as Sacramento rattled off a 13-2 run to tie the game at 96-96. They continued the surge over the final 1:35, scoring another six unanswered to finish the night with a 19-2 barrage.
Barnes and Burks
The new guys played well. Harrison Barnes started at the small forward position in his first game with the Kings. He scored 12 points on 3-of-9 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds.
Barnes started the second half at the power forward spot, with Bogdan Bogdanovic taking over at the three. He played solid defense and for much of the game looked like he was trying to fit in. He played a team-high 37 minutes as coach Dave Joerger worked to get him acclimated to the team's pace of play.
Burks provided a nice punch off the bench, scoring nine points and grabbing four rebounds in 15 minutes. The veteran guard helped stabilize the second unit and his versatility allowed Joerger to mix and match him with different looks.
A Leader Steps Forward
The Kings were shellshocked Wednesday. Not only were they rolled up by the Houston Rockets, but they watched two teammates walk out the door, including one of the team's leader in Iman Shumpert.
It's a young group, but there are leaders waiting in the wings. One of the first players to step forward and take on the torch is Buddy Hield. The team's leading scorer appears empowered by the opportunity to take ownership of the direction of the group.
Hield is saying all of the right things and it doesn't seem like lip service. He also continues to produce at a high clip on the court. The third-year guard finished with a team-high 23 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the field.
With the game on the line in the final minute, Hield followed a streaking De'Aaron Fox to the hole, scooped up his missed layup and flipped the ball off the backboard for a putback. The shot gave Sacramento a three-point lead with 35.5 seconds remaining. He added a pair of free throws with 17 seconds remaining to seal the win.
Hield isn't just scoring in bunches, he's doing the little things it takes to win.
Battle of the Bigs
Willie Cauley-Stein came out flat and allowed Whiteside put up big numbers. In 28 minutes, Miami's 7-footer posted 17 points, 19 rebounds, three steals and two blocks.
After yielding a double-double to Whiteside in the first half, Cauley-Stein looked better after the break. He was active in the fourth quarter, especially down the stretch when the Kings made their decisive run.
With Barnes stealing time at the four, minutes are going to get tight in the post. Cauley-Stein played 24 minutes as the starting center and Nemanja Bjelica played a total of 11 minutes at the four. Rookies Marvin Bagley and Harry Giles are showing major signs of improvement as well and will likely see more time in the final 27 games.
The battle for minutes is going to be interesting watch. Joerger will ride the hot hand and go with the players that give his team the best chance to win. If someone doesn't want to compete, they'll find a seat at the end of the bench.