The Kings had the San Antonio Spurs on the ropes and couldn’t deliver the knockout blow Friday night in a 105-104 overtime loss at AT&T Center.
Sacramento blew a nine-point lead in the final 1:50 of the fourth to go to overtime. In the extra frame, they fouled the Spurs twice on 3-point attempts and still had four shots in the final 17 seconds to win the game.
Effort isn’t an issue, and neither is competing. The Kings have to learn how to finish games or this is going to be a very long season.
Here are a few notes and quotes from the Kings’ loss.
Buddy Hield is struggling
The sharpshooter came into the evening shooting just 12-of-50 from 3-point range over his previous four games. Against the Spurs, Hield knocked down 3-of-11 from deep and just 10-for-27 from the field.
The burden of keeping the Kings in games seems to be overwhelming Hield. He is forcing shots and has lost his rhythm. With De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley out of action, teams are camping on the Kings’ shooters on the perimeter. Both should be back soon, which will relieve a lot of pressure off of Hield and others on the Kings’ roster.
Hield’s shooting is an issue, but he also had a late mental mistake on the defensive end, which allowed Marco Belinelli to drill a 3-pointer to tie the game with 4.1 seconds remaining.
“I left Belinelli open, I should have took him when he was driving,” Hield told reporters in San Antonio following the loss. “I took my eye off of him. He walked on and I got trapped on the screen and it was too late and it went in”
Harrison Barnes' bounce-back game
Barnes posted one of his worst games of the season in the Kings’ loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday, and he took full responsibility for his performance.
“The people who are out there, we’ve got to get it done,” Barnes told NBC Sports California on Wednesday. “Tonight wasn’t a great performance on either side of the ball for myself. and I know I can be better, but for everybody, we’ve just got to find a way. We’ve done that this season and we’ll continue to do that. Hopefully at some point, we’ll all be healthy and on the floor at the same time.”
Against the Spurs, Barnes played well in his 43 minutes on the court. He finished the night with 21 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. He turned the ball over four times, but he also went 9-of-11 from the line, which accounted for half of the team’s free throw attempts.
Manna from heaven
The Kings have made plenty of mistakes in free agency over the last few seasons, but Richaun Holmes was a true find. The 6-foot-10 center came into Friday second in the NBA in field-goal percentage, shooting an incredible 66.9 percent.
Against the Spurs, Holmes played a career-high 45 minutes, posting 13 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocks. Through 21 games, he has eight double-doubles, which is just three shy of his combined career total coming into the season.
Cory Joseph isn’t going to break off a 3-point scoring performance anytime soon, but he has been a steady hand who has helped guide the Kings through a very difficult stretch without Fox. With 1:50 remaining, it was Joseph’s 3-pointer -- just his eighth triple of the season -- that gave the Kings a nine-point lead. And then things went sideways for the veteran.
Joseph then had two egregious turnovers that led to breakaway dunks by San Antonio over the next 34 seconds of play. To compound the mistakes, Joseph missed all three of his shots in the overtime session and then fouled Patty Mills shooting a t3-pointer with the game tied and under a minute remaining.
The veteran point guard was questionable coming into the game with a sore back and still managed to give Walton 38 minutes of hard-nosed basketball. He just has to avoid making big mistakes in crunch time.
[RELATED: Bagley cleared for contact, moves closer to Kings return]
17.4 seconds of hell
The final box score is unkind for Sacramento and will likely be sifted through by the NBA’s Two Minute Report, just for fun. The last 17.4 seconds from the play-by-play log are something else.
:17.4 MISS B.Hield 11' Pullup Shot
:14.4 B.Hield REBOUND
:10.3 MISS T.Ariza 26' 3PT Jump Shot
:07.2 B.Hield REBOUND
:04.2 MISS T.Ariza 26' 3PT Jump Shot
:01.3 B.Hield REBOUND
:00.9 MISS B.Hield 10'
Ariza had two wide-open shots and missed. Those were his only two misses on the evening after knocking down his first three 3-point attempts.
“Yeah, I just missed them. I had real good looks, I just missed,” Ariza told reporters following the loss.
Hield was active and even looked for an open man after his first two rebounds. His 10-footer at the buzzer was rushed, but it was also wide open on the baseline.
“No, I'm not frustrated," Hield said in San Antonio. "I mean again, make or miss it, you tell me Trevor is going to get open 3s, two of them, I’ll take that. But he got a nice rebound and had a clean look too, I’ll take that as well. That’s not frustrating, what’s frustrating is the turnovers at the end of the regulation. That’s something that we can’t do as a group.”
The Kings have had the ball bounce their way a couple of times this season, but they also have five losses by six points or fewer.