Luke Walton's Buddy Hield benching frustrates very vocal Kings fan

Luke Walton's Buddy Hield benching frustrates very vocal Kings fan

SACRAMENTO -- You can’t please everyone. That goes for players vying for minutes, and it sometimes also means the fans.

In the Kings’ 118-113 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Sunday night, one fan, in particular, took exception to Kings coach Luke Walton’s rotations. Specifically, Walton's decision not to put Buddy Hield back in the game late in the fourth quarter.

You could hear the fan berate Walton on NBC Sports California's telecast, calling for Hield to return to the court.

“You have the 3-point champion right there,” the fan screamed.

He then broke into a “Where is Buddy? Where is Buddy?” chant that at least one other fan jumped in on.

Walton was asked following the loss about his decision to not play Hield in the final 12 minutes of the game, including the final 13.7 seconds when the Kings were trailing by three points with the ball. 

“We were scoring, we really were scoring on every play, we scored 39 points in the third quarter,” Walton said Sunday. “You score 39 in a close game, and you’re doing enough to win offensively. Buddy, I thought was playing a good game and we were going to get him back in there, and then Bogi (Bogdan Bogdanovic), he started really turning it on and then that group that was out there was really in a good rhythm. So, we stuck with them.”

“Multiple guys made good plays,” Walton added. “Fox stepped up, hit free throws, hit threes. Bogi hit some. Bjeli’s (Nemanja Bjelica) hit game winners for us before. So, we have faith in all our guys and I’ve said before that when a group is rolling, we’re going to stay with them. And you score 39 points in a quarter, then we’re most likely going to stay with that group.”

Bjelica missed a 28-footer that could have tied the game with 9.6 seconds remaining. Norman Powell rebounded the ball, and Bogdanovic immediately fouled him. Powell hit both free throws, which put the Raptors up five with 6.1 seconds remaining and the game out of reach.

Hield played 24 minutes for the Kings, finishing with 11 points on 4-of-12 shooting, including 3-for-8 from 3-point range. He added five rebounds, an assist, a steal and had two turnovers during his time on the court. 

Walton chose to ride with the players who had tied the game and took the lead over the Raptors on multiple occasions during the fourth quarter. Hield struggled in his nine-minute stretch in the third quarter, going scoreless on three shot attempts and turning the ball over twice.

[RELATED: NBA fines Len, McCollum for Kings-Blazers shoving match]

Hield won the NBA’s 3-point Contest at All-Star Weekend in February, and he is also shooting the second-highest 3-point percentage on the Kings this season (39.5 percent). Bjelica leads the team at 43 percent.

The 27-year-old has had a slow start to March. In five games, he's averaging 18.2 points per game on 47.8 percent shooting from beyond the arc, but he has played just under 25 minutes per night. That's well off his high of just over 35 minutes per game in December.

Whether the decision ultimately cost the Kings a win or not is unknown. Hield refused to speak to the media following Sunday's loss. 

How Tracy McGrady credits Kings' Doug Christie for success as rookie


How Tracy McGrady credits Kings' Doug Christie for success as rookie

Tracy McGrady leaves behind an illustrious 14-season career with accolades including seven NBA All-Star and seven All-NBA selections, a two-time scoring champion as well as a Hall of Fame induction.

McGrady turned 41 on Sunday which was the perfect time to take a trip down memory lane to when he was just a rookie. He talked about how Kings legend Doug Christie played an instrumental role during the infancy of his run.

During a recent interview on “All the Smoke,” McGrady said a big part of his hot start as a rookie with the Toronto Raptors was all thanks in part of the matchups he had with former teammate Christie.

“I love Doug,” McGrady said. “I played Doug on one-on-one every day -- we were just going at each other -- and that’s how I was working on my one-on-one game and building my confidence up because I know he was a great defender, he was a hell of a defender.”

He was.

Christie earned three All-Defensive Second Team honors and was part of the First Team in 2003. McGrady was also one of the most difficult guys to cover -- he owes part of that to Christie. 

He's part of many who recently shouted him out.

[RELATED: Mike Bibby describes tenure with Kings as best time of his life]

For McGrady, he knew going up against one of the best in the game, he would be able to handle anything.

Appears that worked out beautifully. 

[PURPLE TALK PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Why Mike Bibby describes playing with Kings as best time of his life


Why Mike Bibby describes playing with Kings as best time of his life

The Kings’ Mike Bibby era was iconic. 

His seven-season run with players like Chris Webber never will be forgotten for all the success Sacramento saw on the court.

Bibby sat down with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith and talked about his run with Sacramento -- a fit that was comfortable for Bibby right away. Even though trading for him meant bidding farewell to Jason Williams, a guy Kings fans were in love with. 

“The guys treated me like I was there for five, six, seven years," Bibby said. "I got there and Jason Williams was a prized possession in Sacramento and when I got traded for him, I just wanted to fit in, I didn’t know if the fans would like me or if the team would like me.

"In my first year we had the best record in the West. I had the best time of my life and my career playing in Sacramento with those guys. I think Sacramento is the best team I played on.”

Bibby detailed the trade, along with the special relationship he and Webber had throughout that stretch and how selfless the Kings were. It didn’t matter who scored, they were a strong team and wanted to win.

“That’s the way basketball is supposed to be played,” Bibby said. “That was the best time of my life -- being in Sacramento.”

[RELATED: Karl Malone admits Webber had more talent than him]

That was a time where the Kings gave the two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers a run for their money. The Kings skated through the first two rounds of the playoffs, defeating the Utah Jazz and the Dallas Mavericks. That was all in Bibby’s first season. 

Across those seven seasons with the Kings, Bibby averaged 17.6 points and  3.2 rebounds per game. 

[PURPLE TALK PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]