De'Aaron Fox

Kings takeaways: What you might've missed in 119-106 loss vs. Nets

Kings takeaways: What you might've missed in 119-106 loss vs. Nets

BOX SCORE

Consistently inconsistent.

After coming away with a huge win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday, the Kings failed to show up Friday on the second night of a back-to-back against the completely depleted Brooklyn Nets.

Sacramento looked stagnant on offense and a step slow in its rotations on the defensive end. The result was an embarrassing 119-106 loss that all but extinguished the Kings' remaining playoff hopes.

Here are three takeaways from the Kings getting out-hustled and fell to 1-4 in the Orlando bubble.

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Loud Thud

The Kings came into the restarted NBA season talking a big game. They played well enough to win against the San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks, but couldn’t close out games. Their win over the Pelicans gave folks a glimmer of hope, but blowout losses to the Orlando Magic and Nets were completely unacceptable.

With Friday's loss, Sacramento has completely fallen out of the race for the No. 8 seed and would need a miracle to finish ninth and force a play-in series.

The Kings still have three games remaining in the restart, but general manager Vlade Divac has to take a long look at his roster this summer and make some difficult decisions. Everything outside of trading De’Aaron Fox should be on the table.

Bogi puts up a fight

Bogdan Bogdanovic posted a career-high 35 points in the Kings’ win over the Pelicans, and he was back at it again against the Nets.

One of the few Kings players to stand out, Bogdanovic finished with a team-high 27 points on 11-for-19 shooting, including 4-of-8 on 3-pointers.

A restricted free agent at the end of the season, Bogdanovic has been really solid in four of the Kings’ five games. Unfortunately for Sacramento, it just wasn't enough Friday.

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Star still shining

Since the beginning of the restart, De'Aaron Fox has come out aggressive and put on a show. He didn’t match his 27.5 points per game average from the first four games on Friday, but he was effective in his time on the court.

The Kings' starting point guard finished with 21 points and seven assists. There is the outline of a star, but he needs another really strong offseason to take that next step.

Bogdan Bogdanovic's career game carries Kings to first NBA bubble win

Bogdan Bogdanovic's career game carries Kings to first NBA bubble win

De’Aaron Fox is becoming a star in the Orlando bubble, but in order for his team to start winning games, someone else had to step up and give him some help. On Thursday, Bogdan Bogdanovic was that player, scoring a career-high 35 points to help the Kings pick up their first win of the seeding tournament.

In a recent recording of the Purple Talk podcast, Fox mentioned his starting backcourt mate and made a statement that may have struck a chord with the Serbian shooter.

“Sometimes, the player that Bogi is, for him to be a team-first guy, is for him to shoot the ball,” Fox said.

There can be an issue with a player being too unselfish. Bogdanovic is a career 37 percent shooter from long range and one of the more versatile scorers on the Kings’ roster, but he rarely looks for his own shot.

He tries to get everyone else involved and then once the game has settled into a rhythm, he looks to get free himself. Fox has struggled with this issue as well, but since the NBA’s restart, he has gone into attack mode.

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Bogdanovic followed Fox’s lead Thursday, which led to the 140-125 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

After missing his first 14 shots in the Kings' loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday, Bogdanovic looked like a man possessed against New Orleans. He started firing away in the first quarter and by the time the first 12 minutes were up, his shooting hand was smoldering.

“I was just maybe a little bit more mentally locked in,” Bogdanovic said. “Before the game against Dallas, I did all of the same things I did today. I didn’t change my routine at all.”

Bogdanovic lit up New Orleans for 19 first-quarter points. The only shot he missed in the opening period was a 50-footer as time expired.

With Bogdanovic on fire, New Orleans made adjustments and the Kings countered. First, they got Harrison Barnes loose in the post. When the Pelicans shifted defensive stalwart Jrue Holiday over to slow Bogdanovic down, he went to Fox and told him to attack.

“Whenever I was open, I was decisive, I took my shot, I scored, I didn’t miss my first couple of shots,” Bogdanovic said. “And then they started trapping me and I saw a lot of space for the big guys and tell them, ‘Hey, now it’s your time.’ And then I told Fox, ‘Hey, Holiday is on me, he’s stop blocking, he’s not helping, so you have all the space now, it’s your time.’ That’s how he got hot.”

Bogdanovic was a flame thrower and once Fox started attacking, it was lights out. The starting backcourt for the Kings pinned 65 points on the Pelicans in their best-combined scoring output of the season.

“We know we have a lot of guys on this team that can put the ball in the basket,” Fox said. “But when you have guys like that and they care about each other, it makes the game easier for others.”

An experienced European player, Bogdanovic helped play coach on the floor. Playing within a team concept is how he learned the game and he’s doing his best to share as much as he can with his teammates.

[RELATED: Fox's development silver lining to Kings' struggles in restart]

The Kings' road to a playoff spot is narrow to say the least, but they had to have the win over the Pelicans to keep any hope alive.

“You’ve got to step up as a man and play the game,” Bogdanovic said. “That’s what we did.”

The Kings don’t have a lot of time to celebrate the victory. They jump back into the fray Friday morning when they play the Brooklyn Nets in their lone back-to-back of the tournament.

While the Kings likely will scoreboard watch all day to see what happens to teams like the Phoenix Suns and Portland Trail Blazers, the focus must remain on the things they can control.

“We can’t worry about anyone by ourselves,” Fox said. “Knowing that we got this win, it throws us right back in contention for one of the last playoff spots.”

The Kings now are halfway through their schedule in the bubble. Following the Nets, they’ll face the Houston Rockets, the Pelicans for a second time and then finish off their seasons against the first-place Los Angeles Lakers.

Kings takeaways: What you might have missed from 140-125 win vs. Pelicans

Kings takeaways: What you might have missed from 140-125 win vs. Pelicans

BOX SCORE

Back on the board. 

After dropping their first three games of the NBA’s restart in Orlando, the Kings looked like an offensive juggernaut Thursday morning against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Led by a career game by Bogdan Bogdanovic, and another tremendous performance from De’Aaron Fox, the Kings survived a big game from rookie Zion Williamson to come away with a much needed 140-125 victory.

Here are three takeaways as the Kings pick up their first win of the Orlando bubble to improve to 29-39 on the season.

First-quarter fire

A clearly frustrated Kings team came out and made a statement in the first 12 minutes against the Pelicans. Led by Bogdanovic’s 19 points, the Kings dropped a Sacramento-era record for points in a quarter with 49.

The Kings shot 78.3 percent from the field, including 8-of-10 shooting from behind the arc. On the downside, they allowed New Orleans to hit 70.8 percent to take just a 10-point lead into the second quarter.

Serbian Sniper

Bogdanovic couldn’t buy a bucket in the Kings’ loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday. He missed his first 14 shots and finished with just three points on 1-of-15 shooting.

Clearly upset with his performance, Bogdanovic came out firing against the Pelicans. He lit New Orleans up with a perfect 7-of-7 shooting in the first quarter before missing a 50-footer at the buzzer.

Bogdanovic blew past his career-high 31 points, finishing the game with 35 on 13-for-20 shooting from the field and six makes from long range. His starting backcourt mate, Fox, had a strong game as well, finishing with a 30-point, 10-assist double-double.

Welcome back Mr. Barnes

Like Bogdanovic, Harrison Barnes hasn’t been his best self in the bubble. A late arrival to Orlando after testing positive for coronavirus, Barnes looked just a step slow in the first three games.

Knowing his team needed him to play well against Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram, Barnes rose to the occasion. He finished the game with 22 points on 9-of-18 shooting and chipped in six rebounds and two assists.

Ingram is a big time scorer. He still managed to post 24 points against Barnes and the Kings, but in a game where 265 points were scored, that isn’t that large of a number.

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