Kings Under Review: Buddy Hield, pair of new faces lead comeback over Heat

Kings Under Review: Buddy Hield, pair of new faces lead comeback over Heat

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.


The Rally

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.

[RELATED: Vlade Divac's growth into GM job has Kings heading in right direction]

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.

Marvin Bagley continues to showcase star potential in win vs. Mavs

Marvin Bagley continues to showcase star potential in win vs. Mavs

SACRAMENTO -- The Marvin Bagley III era of Sacramento Kings basketball is upon us. He can hit you with a spin move, rise over you for a half hook and on Thursday evening at Golden 1 Center, he starting dropping in 3-pointers.

At 20-years-old, there is no telling where the ceiling is for the No. 2 overall selection in the 2018 NBA Draft. Since returning from injury, five games ago, he’s been on fire, despite dealing with a minutes restriction.

“It was just a matter of time before I was able to show out and just go out and play,” a confident Bagley said following the Kings’ 116-100 victory. “Play without thinking and just play basketball. Whenever I’m playing like that I just play free and I’m not worried about mistakes.”

For the third straight game, the former Duke star posted 20 points or more for Sacramento, finishing with 22 points on 8-of-16 shooting. He added 12 rebounds four the 14th double-double of his rookie campaign and blocked four shots as well.

Suiting up for the first time against fellow rookie, Luka Doncic, Bagley looked fresh and ready for the challenge. Playing on the second night of a back-to-back, Doncic looked every bit the part of a rookie who has had to carry the scoring load for his team all season. The Slovenian-born guard finished the night with just 13 points on 4-of-19 shooting to go with 10 rebounds.

Following the game, Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle raved about the Kings’ rookie.

“Bagley is terrific,” Carlisle told reporters following the game. “He’s much improved. Shooting the three consistently, so he’s a big problem.”

While Bagley knocked down the 3-ball at the college level, it was in limited attempts. Since joining the Kings, he’s taken a cautious approach when it comes to hoisting from the perimeter, shooting just 69 3-pointers through his first 51 games.

Tuesday against the Nets, Bagley shot and made two 3-pointers. On Thursday versus the Mavs, he looked confident in his five attempts, hitting a career-best three makes from behind the arc.

“It’s just a progression,” coach Dave Joerger said. “I’ve never told him not to, I’ve asked him that I prefer if the ball comes from inside the line where you’re getting your momentum going forward.”

For Bagley to take the next step in his progression and move into the starting lineup, the Kings need him to at least be a threat from the perimeter. If opposing defenses have to stay with him behind the 3-point line, it keeps the lanes open for De’Aaron Fox to attack the rim.

“He’s a special talent, man,” Buddy Hield said. “Sometime you don’t even run a play for him. He just gets our misses and puts it back in. That’s what comes with a special talent. He’s just going to keep growing and getting better. He’s still not to his potential.”

[RELATED: What we learned from Kings' win over Mavs]

In 10 games since the All-Star break, Bagley is averaging 20.1 points and 8.9 rebounds in 27 minutes per game. He’s quickly living up to the hype and showing improvement at almost every step.

With just 11 games remaining in the season, Bagley would like to end on a high note. The Kings need him to continue to develop his perimeter skills during his first real offseason and build some up his strength for the grueling 82 game NBA schedule.

Kings takeaways: What we learned from bounce-back win over Mavericks

Kings takeaways: What we learned from bounce-back win over Mavericks


SACRAMENTO -- Needing a win to move on from Tuesday’s epic collapse against the Nets, the Kings played with pace, shared the ball and hit their shots Thursday against the Dallas Mavericks.

Buddy Hield hit his shots, De’Aaron Fox put on the jets and both Marvin Bagley and Willie Cauley-Stein posted doubles to help push the Kings to a 116-100 victory.

Here are three takeaways as the Kings moves within a game of .500 at 35-36 on the season.

Bagley vs. Doncic

The Kings took a beating in the national media when they selected Bagley with the No. 2 overall selection in the 2018 NBA Draft. The rookie big continues to show why he was worthy of the pick.

The 20-year-old power forward struggled with his shot at times, but still managed to notch 22 points on 8-for-16 shooting to go with 12 rebounds and four blocks. He was active on both ends of the floor and made a tremendous impact on the outcome of the game.

Luka Doncic was the player many thought the Kings would select at two. When the Kings passed, Dallas moved up to select the talented guard out of Slovenia. Doncic struggled with his shot, shooting just 4-of-19 from the field to finish with 13 points, 10 rebounds and three assists.

While they didn’t match up against each other often, both look like top-level young players.

Returning to form

After failing to break the 20 point mark in three straight games and posting just eight in the Kings’ loss to the Nets on Tuesday, Hield woke up against Dallas.

Sacramento’s leading scorer hit 7-of-13 from long range to finish the night with a team-high 29 points.

Hield is the barometer for this team. When he plays well, the Kings are tough to beat.

Revenge game

Justin Jackson played rotational minutes throughout the first half of the season with the Kings before heading to the Mavericks with Zach Randolph in exchange for Harrison Barnes at the trade deadline.

He returned to his old stomping grounds Thursday evening and looked pumped up against his former team. The 23-year-old wing was active and hit his shots, scoring 19 points on 9-for-16 shooting for Dallas in 32 minutes of action.