NBA admits it blew crucial call in Kings' 103-102 loss vs. Celtics

NBA admits it blew crucial call in Kings' 103-102 loss vs. Celtics

It's getting tougher and tougher to blame Kings fans if they believe there's an NBA conspiracy against their favorite team.

No, this isn't about the 2002 Western Conference finals and the fix that most definitely was in.

Unfortunately for Sacramento, the officiating hasn't seemed to go their way in the current season, either. The Kings have lost two games by a single possession so far, and both outcomes might have been different if the officials hadn't blown a couple specific calls.

The day after the Kings lost 99-97 to the Lakers on Nov. 15, the NBA's Last Two-Minute report revealed that Los Angeles' LeBron James should have been called for an offensive foul for crashing into Harrison Barnes with 5.5 seconds remaining. Of course, in the game itself, the officials got it backward and called Barnes for a blocking foul. James made both of his resulting free throws, which proved to be the decisive points in the game.

Oh, but there's more.

In Sacramento's 103-102 loss to the Celtics on Monday, the Kings were on the wrong side of a wrong call once again.

Tuesday's Last Two-Minute Report stated that Boston's Marcus Smart should have been called for a traveling violation with 33 seconds remaining in the game. Instead, the refs missed it, and Smart banked in what would be the decisive basket.

Both instances came on the road for the Kings, so perhaps that explains the whistles, or lack thereof. Of course, the fact that the Lakers and Celtics -- the NBA's two darling franchises -- were the direct beneficiaries of the missed calls isn't going to quiet any conspiracy theories.

[RELATED: Buddy's career night not enough to save Kings from loss]

Ultimately, there's nothing the Kings can do. They've done a tremendous job to get back into the thick of the Western Conference after losing their first five games and now sit at 7-9 on the season. But if you ask them, that record should be reversed.

Kings rookie Kyle Guy scores his first NBA points in win over Bulls


Kings rookie Kyle Guy scores his first NBA points in win over Bulls

Since being picked No. 55 overall in last year’s NBA draft, Kings two-way guard Kyle Guy has spent most of his season in the G League.

In 23 games down in Stockton, Guy has averaged 20.9 points and 4.4 assists per game. Before Friday night’s win over the Chicago Bulls, Guy had just one shot attempt in an NBA game under his belt, a missed 3-pointer in a Jan. 12 blowout loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Guy came in late during the victory in Chicago, finally adding “scoring in an NBA game” to his resume.

The Kings understandably were excited for Guy, especially forward Harry Giles, who got the assist on the jumper.

[RELATED: Buddy embraces bench role, carries Kings to win over Bulls]

Buddy Hield made sure to secure the game ball after the win, ensuring that his teammate can cherish the memory forever.

As Giles mentioned, Kings fans can look forward to seeing a lot more buckets in the future from Guy.

Buddy Hield embraces bench role, puts Kings on his back in win vs. Bulls


Buddy Hield embraces bench role, puts Kings on his back in win vs. Bulls

Something had to change. The Sacramento Kings were in a tailspin of epic proportions and head coach Luke Walton made the difficult decision to move Buddy Hield out of his starting lineup for Bogdan Bogdanovic.

This wasn’t necessarily a Hield issue and Bogdanovic isn’t the savior that will turn the entire season around, but the chemistry on the floor with the starting unit wasn’t working.

The swap seemed to work early. The spacing was better with Bogdanovic playing alongside De’Aaron Fox, Harrison Barnes, Nemanja Bjelica and Dewayne Dedmon.

When Walton went to the bench, Hield instantly took off. There was no hesitation on his 3-point shot and he was active on the defensive side of the ball as well.

“You’ve got to come in, be ready and when coach call your number, go out there and hoop,” Hield told Grant Napear on the NBC Sports California telecast following the Kings’ 98-81 win.

Hield scored a quick 10 points in the first half to help the Kings take a double-digit lead into the intermission. After the break, Chicago’s Zach LaVine caught fire and wiped out the Kings’ lead in the first two minutes of the period.

“Today I was just locked in and more confident,” Hield said. “I’m just trying to be myself and do what I do best, which is score the basketball.”

Walton called a timeout and turned back to Hield and a few reserves to spark the team. Hield once again let it fly from the perimeter and helped his team get some separation.

“When they made that run in the third and we kind of looked like we got shook a little but, Buddy put us on his back and knocked down some big shots and really kind of got us going again,” Walton told media members following the game. “I’m really pleased with him.”

Hield finished the game with 21 points and eight rebounds in just 23 minutes of action. He hit 7-for-12 from the field, including 5-of-9 from 3-point range.

“For him to be all about the team after we took him out of the starting lineup says a lot about him and the group,” Walton added.

Hield had started 126 straight games for the Kings before Friday evening and he’s been the teams leading scorer for the last two seasons. Going to the bench was an unexpected move, but with the team dropping six straight and 14 of their previous 17 games, something had to give.

“He was ready,” Fox told reporters. “He came out, he made shots, he defended well. Everybody was fine with it. He was fine with it. There was nothing big made of it. We all still came to the game ready to play basketball.”

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It will take time for the players to adjust to the new situation. Bogdanovic posted a modest 12 points on 4-of-10 shooting. He missed some open looks, but his ability to handle the ball took pressure off of Fox for stretches.

The Bulls aren’t exactly a playoff contender, but you play then schedule in front of you. Saramento faces another struggling franchise in the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday. There is no word on if Walton will stick with the starting lineup we saw Friday in Chicago, but he can’t really argue with the results.