Winning never gets old.
The Sacramento Kings jumped all over the Atlanta Hawks in the second half Thursday night at Philips Arena to pick up their fifth consecutive win. The victory snapped an 11-game losing streak in the ATL and pushed the Kings’ record to 6-3 early in the season.
Sacramento is 3-0 on its current road trip, and despite a heavy schedule away from Golden 1 Center early in the season, the team is finding ways to pick up wins.
Here are two positives and two negatives from the Kings' 146-115 blowout win over the Hawks.
You could see the breakout game coming for De’Aaron Fox. He has spent the first two weeks of the season posting big numbers, but he’d yet to have a signature game to really show what he’s capable of.
Against Atlanta, Fox started slowly as a scorer, preferring to set up his teammates first. He had a modest seven points and 10 assists at the half before going off in the third quarter.
Coach Dave Joerger tried to rest Fox for the fourth quarter, but a slow start from the reserves prompted him to turn back to his starters. With a few extra minutes of play, Fox set new career highs across the board, finishing with 31 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds for his first career triple-double.
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Fox was the ringleader, but the entire club moved the ball to find the open man in Atlanta. Sacramento finished with a season-high 38 assists for the game, while turning over the ball 14 times.
Buddy Hield was the beneficiary of plenty of those passes and finished the night with 27 points. He also chipped in six assists, to come in second behind Fox’s 15. Frank Mason came off the bench to serve up five dimes, and Justin Jackson, Nemanja Bjelica, Iman Shumpert and Yogi Ferrell each posted three assists for the game.
Sacramento is third in the NBA in assists per game early in the season, dishing out 25.6 per game through the first nine contests. The Kings also are second in scoring and third in rebounding, steals and 3-point percentage.
Joerger tried to give players an opportunity in the fourth quarter, but the wheels came off the bus quickly, and he had to throw his starters back on the floor to steady the ship.
Outside of rookie Marvin Bagley, the reserves scored just 31 combined points in a 146-115 blowout. Mason and Ferrell, the team’s backups at the one and two, combined to shoot 0 of 11 from the field, including eight total misses from behind the arc.
Ben McLemore, Skal Labissiere and Harry Giles played well in the final few minutes of the game, but their chances were limited because of the slow start to the fourth.
Atlanta is known as more of a football town, but Philips Arena is newly renovated and, by all accounts, a much better venue than before. The Hawks are a young team, and they are going to take their lumps, but they have plenty of talent and they play at a very fast pace.
The announced crowd of 12,095 is a bad look early in the season, and it’s likely that number is inflated. It’s hard to feed off the energy of your home fans when they don’t show up.
In the first week of the season, Sacramento saw its sellout streak end after two consecutive years of a packed Golden 1 Center. With the Kings off to a good start, there is hope that fans will return to watch a fun product on the floor.