Kings

NBA Gameday: Hield vs Ingram a battle of Top 6 picks

NBA Gameday: Hield vs Ingram a battle of Top 6 picks

The Sacramento Kings head into Staples Center to face the Los Angeles Lakers Friday night looking to take the season series. Sacramento has won two straight overall and four of its last six as they finish the season strong.

Ben McLemore went off in the second half of the Kings 98-87 win over Mavericks on Tuesday. The fourth-year guard knocked down 5-of-5 from behind the arc, scoring 21 of his 22 points after the intermission.

Los Angeles is coming off back-to-back wins over the Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs. It’s the first taste of winning for the Lakers in a while. After starting the season 10-10, Luke Walton and his young core are 13-45 over the last 58 games and they currently hold the third worst record in the NBA.

OPENING LINE

Lakers by 2

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Buddy Hield vs. Brandon Ingram -- Outside of an occasional defensive switch, these two players are unlikely to see much time against one another, but both rookies are playing well down the stretch. Hield has come on strong since the mid-season trade that sent him to Sacramento. The first-year shooting guard is posting 14.4 points and 4.0 rebounds while knocking down 43.3 percent from long range as a King. After a slow start to the season, Ingram is averaging 9.2 points and 4.0 rebounds while shooting 40.6 percent from the field. It’s a battle of two top six picks from the 2016 NBA Draft.

WHERE THEY STAND

Kings: 31-47, third place in Pacific

Lakers: 23-55, fourth place in Pacific

INJURY REPORT

Kings: Arron Afflalo (lower back strain) and Anthony Tolliver (right hip strain) are probable; Kosta Koufos (rest), Ty Lawson (rest) and Garrett Temple (rest) are out.

Lakers: G Jordan Clarkson (knee) probable, SF Brandon Ingram (knee) probable, G D’Angelo Russell (knee) questionable, C Ivica Zubac (ankle) out, SF Luol Deng (no injury) out, SG Nick Young (no injury) out, C Timofey Mozgov (no injury) out.

SERIES HISTORY

The Kings hold a 2-1 advantage in the season series and currently own a two game win streak over Los Angeles. The Lakers are up on the Kings 90-44 during the Sacramento-era and a 268-153 advantage all-time.

QUOTE

“Everybody is having fun with the way we’re playing right now. We’re playing unselfish basketball. Everybody is passing the ball, we’re really enjoying playing with each other and the environment is great.” -Georgios Papagiannis

Buddy Hield breaks mentor Peja Stojakovic's record in 'special' moment

Buddy Hield breaks mentor Peja Stojakovic's record in 'special' moment

SACRAMENTO -- Buddy Hield opened as the starting shooting guard for the Sacramento Kings this season as a replacement for the injured Bogdan Bogdanovic. 72 games later, Hield has not only cemented himself as team’s starter, but he’s the Kings’ leading scorer and now a record breaker.

It’s not often you see a player seize an opportunity like Hield has. He hit a 3-pointer less than five seconds into the the Kings’ win over the Phoenix Suns on Saturday to move within one of Peja Stojakovic’s franchise record for most makes from behind the arc in a single season.

After heading to the bench to finish the first quarter, Hield returned in the second and in a span of 30 seconds tied and then surpassed Stojakovic’s mark of 240 makes.

“Getting the record from Peja, he left a mark on this franchise, it’s pretty big,” Hield said. “It’s something special. Hope I can keep it for many years, but who knows. There’s always going to be some other kid that’s going to come up and break records.”

Stojakovic works in the Kings front office as an assistant general manager supporting Vlade Divac. He’s also taken a vested interest in Hield and worked behind the scenes as a mentor to the 26-year-old shooting.

“He’s just calm and collect and I didn’t see it coming this year, but that’s how God works, when you don’t expect things, it just happens,” Hield said. “He’s been a big part of my success this year and hats off to him. He’s still going to continue to help me grow.”

A notorious trash talker, Hield will likely never let Stojakovic live down him passing his record. And with 10 games remaining in the season, Hield has a chance to push the record considerably higher.

“He finds them. We’re looking for him. He’s getting them up," head coach Dave Joerger said. "We’re happy about it and maybe the best part is, that everyday we all come to the gym, Buddy’s going to give it to Peja from now until never. I couldn’t be happier for him and he deserves to have that big smile that he has. That’s quite an accomplishment.”

Hield finished the game with 25 points and seven rebounds in the win. He knocked down 7-of-14 from deep and now has 245 makes on the year.

Following his record breaker, Bogdanovic fouled Devin Booker in the act of shooting, allowing the game to stop for a moment and the fans to show their appreciation.

Hield received a standing ovation from the Golden 1 Center crowd and then play resumed.

“It’s definitely cool to see what he was able to do for the team this year and to break a record like that,” rookie Marvin Bagley said. “It was definitely cool, to see the reaction of the fans and everything. I was happy for him.”

With the win, the Kings moved back to the .500 mark on the season at 36-36. This is a team that was predicted to win just 25.5 games this year by the Vegas oddsmakers and Hield is a huge reason the Kings were in the playoff race until recently.

“He’s having a terrific year and a large part of our success has been his ability at different points in games when we’re struggling to score, he can just go and create his own offense,” Joerger said.

Hield has another mark to focus on now. With 245 makes this year, he now has 569 makes through his first three season in the league. Damian Lillard owns the NBA record for most makes over the first three seasons of a players career with 599. If Hield continues on his current pace, he has a chance to crest the 600 mark.

Kings takeaways: What we learned from Kings' strong win over Suns

Kings takeaways: What we learned from Kings' strong win over Suns

BOX SCORE

SACRAMENTO -- Needing a victory to finish the road trip strong and move back to .500 on the season, the Kings struggled with their shot and it almost cost them.

A big finish by rookie Marvin Bagley gave Sacramento some breathing room late, and an emphatic windmill dunk from De’Aaron Fox put the Phoenix Suns away.

Devin Booker put up a game-high 32-points and 10 assists and Deandre Ayton notched a double-double, but it wasn’t enough to shift the outcome in the Suns direction.

Here are three takeaways as the Kings pick up the 112-103 win to move to 36-36 on the season. 

Record Breaker

Buddy Hield loves to shoot the 3-ball. He loves it so much, he set a record doing it Saturday evening at Golden 1 Center.

Hield came into the night trailing Peja Stojakovic by two 3-pointer for the Kings’ all-time record for most makes in a single season. It took him just five seconds to knockdown his first triple and then he hit a pair in the second quarter to surpass the Kings legend.

Sacramento’s leading scorer didn’t stop there. He finished the night 7-for-14 from long range for 25 points on the evening.

The starting forwards

Harrison Barnes and Nemanja Bjelica are starting to figure out how to play together. Against the Suns, they both made major contributions.

Barnes got hot from long range, hitting 5-of-8 from behind the arc for 25 points. He added six rebounds and was responsible for slowing Booker for stretches.

Bjelica always seems to be in the right place at the right time. He struggles with quickler fours, but he seems to find a way to help the team. The veteran finished the evening with 13 points, a career-high 17 rebounds and five assists on the evening. 

Shooting woes

Sacramento pulled out the win, but it wasn’t easy. A big reason why was because of their shooting percentage. 

Bogdan Bogdanovic went 2-of-11 from the floor, with both makes coming from 3-point range.  Fox hit just 3-of-12, although he still managed to score 13 points and dish out nine assists.

As a team, the Kings recovered late to shoot 42.4 percent on the evening. They let the Suns hang around and it almost cost them.