Kings

Kings Under Review: Yogi Ferrell, Marvin Bagley lead the way vs. Spurs

Kings Under Review: Yogi Ferrell, Marvin Bagley lead the way vs. Spurs

SACRAMENTO -- The Kings are building confidence. They've strung together their longest home winning streak since 2006, and they are firmly planted in the Western Conference playoff chase.

Against the San Antonio Spurs on Monday, the Kings jumped out to an early lead and finished strong to come away with a 127-112 victory. The starting backcourt of De'Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield put up big numbers, but the second unit made a tremendous impact on the game as well. Led by rookie big man Marvin Bagley and veteran guard Yogi Ferrell, Sacramento's reserves outscored the Spurs bench 60-32.

Sacramento is 2-0 against San Antonio this year, and they have already won the season series with the Spurs for the first time in nearly two decades. With the win, the Kings improved to 3-0 on the homestand and 28-25 on the season.

Here are the positives and the negatives from Monday's victory. 

POSITIVE

Marvelous Marvin

The sky's the limit, and Bagley is making strides. Not normal strides, more like Edwin Moses strides.

Bagley has been building towards something and he broke through against the Spurs' strong, veteran front line. The No. 2 overall selection in the 2018 NBA Draft put on a show, finishing the evening with an career-high 24 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the field. He added 12 rebounds to post his third straight double-double, and he chipped in also four assists and three blocks in 31 minutes of action.

In the fourth quarter, the 19-year-old power forward nearly blew the lid off of Golden 1 Center with a stunning finish on an alley-oop.

POSITIVE

Yo-gi ... Fer-rell

Kings PA announcer Scott Moak is one of the best in the business. He brings energy and sarcasm, and every once in a while, he starts something new and fun.

When Yogi Ferrell hits a basket, Moak plays to the crowd with a Yo-gi chant, to which Kings fans respond with a Fer-rell. On Monday, it was like a record that kept skipping.

Ferrell put on a show for Kings fans, scoring a season-high 19 points on a perfect 7-of-7 from the floor. He pushed the tempo, hit from all over the court and fans showed their appreciation.

Finding a niche on this team hasn't been easy for Ferrell. Sacramento needs more nights like this from the dynamic scoring guard.

[RELATED: Van Gundy says Joerger should be in running for Coach of the Year]

POSITIVE

Shump Bump

Iman Shumpert has struggled with his shot since late December. He's had a couple of solid performances to build from, he finally looked like his impactful early-season self against the Spurs on Monday.

Shumpert hit his open jumpers, was disruptive on the defensive end and stuffed the stat sheet in his 35 minutes. He finished the night with 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including three makes from long range. He added six rebounds, six assists and a block.

Against a big guard like DeMar DeRozan, the Kings needed Shumpert to do the dirty work and he came through. 

NEGATIVE

Bogdanovic Struggles

Outside of Buddy Hield, every player on the Kings' roster has gone through a rough patch this season. Shumpert looks like he's coming out of his, and Nemanja Bjelica is making strides as well. Even De'Aaron Fox has struggled to maintain the same level through the first 53 games.

It appears that it's Bogdanovic's turn. The second-year guard is crucial to what the Kings are trying to accomplish this season. He plays three or four positions every night, and can start or come off the bench. Bogdanovic is Dave Joerger's swiss army knife.

Over his last 13 games, he has been all over the board. He has failed to score in double-figures six times over the stretch, including the last two games where he's combined to score 14 points on 6-of-22 shooting from the field, and just 1-for-11 from behind the arc.

The Kings are still winning and at some point, they'll start firing on all cylinders. The All-Star break seems to be coming at the perfect moment.

Kings in position to redeem themselves after playoff stumble last year

Kings in position to redeem themselves after playoff stumble last year

SACRAMENTO -- Is it too early to scoreboard watch? Not if you’ve missed the playoffs 13 consecutive seasons like the Sacramento Kings.

After an emotional road trip that included a brutal overtime loss followed by two incredible wins in the final seconds of games in Dallas and Houston, the Kings looked tired Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center.

And then they looked like someone reminded them what a win would do for the team in the standings.

Behind a lively crowd, the Kings stormed back against the Oklahoma City Thunder and pulled off a come-from-behind 94-93 victory to move to 11-13 on the season.

With the Phoenix Suns losing on Wednesday, the Kings caught them in the standings. After an 0-5 start to the season, Luke Walton’s squad is now locked in a three-way for the seventh spot in the Western Conference standings with the Suns and the Thunder.

“It was hard, the first five games, especially after the Charlotte game at home,” Bogdan Bogdanovic said after hitting the game-winning 3-pointer with 17.3 seconds remaining. “It was really, really hard and we should never forget that feeling, especially right now when we feel good.”

Sacramento fans booed the Kings off the court following the team’s 118-111 loss to the Hornets on Oct. 30. There was confusion and anguish in the locker room, but the players accepted responsibility and came back out two days later and beat the Utah Jazz.

“We should use that as an experience, as an advantage and motivation,” Bogdanovic said of the dark times the team has already gone through this season.

The Kings aren’t counting their chickens before they hatch. They learned that lesson the hard way last year when they faded down the stretch in a season filled with promise.

After moving into the seventh and eighth positions on multiple occasions throughout the 82-game schedule, they dropped seven of their final 10 contests and finished nine games out of the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

“Now we know how hard it is and how every game is important and we have to be locked in,” Bogdanovic insisted. “First game after a road trip was sloppy, like this one and we have to be locked in to play a much better game against New York.”

[RELATED: Fox feeling better, believes he's close to Kings return]

This is an important stretch of games for the Kings. They have climbed within two games of the .500 mark with games against the Knicks and Warriors on the docket. New York and Golden State have a combined 10-41 record on the season, but Sacramento is not in a position to look past anyone.

It’s really early to scoreboard watch. It was also really early when the Kings went winless to start the season.

Sacramento is motivated by the chase for the postseason. The Kings have a little taste of it now and a soft spot in the schedule. Let’s see how they react to the opportunity this time around.

Kings takeaways: What we learned in 94-93 last-minute win over Thunder

Kings takeaways: What we learned in 94-93 last-minute win over Thunder

BOX SCORE

SACRAMENTO -- After two stunning road victories over the Mavs and Rockets, the Kings looked tired and disinterested for the better part of three quarters against the Thunder on Wednesday evening at Golden 1 Center. 

And then they woke up.

In another barnburner, Bogdan Bogdanovic knocked down a 3-pointer with 13.4 seconds remaining to give the Kings the 94-93 lead.

Oklahoma City isolated Chris Paul on Richaun Holmes on the final play and the Kings’ center locked down the future Hall of Fame guard as Sacramento escaped with its third straight win in dramatic fashion.

Here are three takeaways as the Kings shook off the rough start to stun the Thunder late to move to 11-13 on the season.  

Keep shooting

Hield has been streaky all season long and it was no different against the Thunder. The Kings’ leading scorer missed his first six shots before finally knocking down a triple to get things started.

He was spotty throughout the game until late when he kept Sacramento in it with one big shot after another.

Hield finished the night with 23 points, six assists and six rebounds. He shot just 9-for-24 from the field and 5-of-14 from long range, but the Kings needed a scoring punch and Hield kept firing until he found it.

A shot and a stop

Bogdanovic watched his fellow countryman Nemanja Bjelica drop in a 33-footer for the win Monday in Houston. He had a little magic of his own against a veteran OKC team. 

With the shot clock winding down, Bogi got his defender in the air, took a dribble and knocked down a huge shot from the left wing to give his team a one-point lead.

Moments later, it was the defense by Holmes that sealed the victory for Sacramento. Holmes finished the night with 10 points and seven rebounds, but he made his money with the stop to win it. 

[RELATED: Fox feeling better, believes he's close to Kings return]

Bagley back

After a 22-game absence with a broken thumb, power forward Marvin Bagley returned to action and played with energy. 

It wasn’t the performance the second-year big was looking for, but he managed to score 11 points and grabbed six rebounds in 23 minutes of action. 

One of the highlights for the former No. 2 overall pick was a play in the second quarter where he took the inbounds pass on one end, went coast-to-coast and scored over Steven Adams for the And-1. 

The Kings need Bagley to quickly integrate into the system and find his game after the extended layoff.