Harry Giles

Kings takeaways: What we learned in satisfying 112-94 win vs. Warriors

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Kings takeaways: What we learned in satisfying 112-94 win vs. Warriors

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SAN FRANCISCO -- These aren’t your championship Warriors. 

The Kings walked into Chase Center Tuesday night and while it wasn’t always pretty, they put the smackdown on the team from the Bay Area.

Golden State struggled from the perimeter, hitting just 4-of-28 shots from long range. Sacramento countered by knocking down just 19-of-34 from the free-throw line to let the Warriors stick around. 

In the end, it was too much Buddy Hield in the fourth for Golden State (12-46), and the Kings came away with the 112-94 win.

Here are three takeaways as Sacramento (24-33) picked up their third straight victory to improve to 24-33 on the season.

Better late than never

Hield had a quiet game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday, scoring just seven points in 15 minutes of action. 

The Kings’ leading scorer got off to a slow start at Chase, but then let it fly to open the fourth. Hield hit the Warriors with three straight 3-pointers to open up a 17-point lead with 10 minutes remaining.

Hield scored 15 of their 19 points in the final period and chipped in six rebounds. Buddy showed up when his team needed it and put the game away. 

Barnes does it again

Harrison Barnes came into Tuesday averaging 17.2 points on 54.8 percent shooting from 3-point range over his previous five games. He put on another show against the Warriors.

The Kings’ starting small forward posted 14 points in the first quarter to get the ball rolling. He was quiet late but still managed to post 21 points on 9-for-12 shooting including a pair of makes from long range.

Barnes decided back in December that he wouldn’t shave his face until the team got to .500. He now seems to be harnessing the power of the beard. 

[RELATED: Bazemore is ingredient Kings missed during early struggles]

Making an impact

After failing to notch a double-double in his first 87 career games, Harry Giles almost got a streak going.

The second-year center scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds against the Warriors' frontline. He struggled in the pick-and-roll against Marquese Chriss, but was active and made an impact on the floor. 

If Giles can continue to play like this, Walton will have plenty of options in the post when Richaun Holmes eventually returns to the court. 

Kings' Harry Giles earns first double-double in road win vs. Clippers

Kings' Harry Giles earns first double-double in road win vs. Clippers

LOS ANGELES -- Don’t look now, but the Kings are on a roll.

With a 112-103 victory over the Clippers on Saturday, Sacramento now has won two in a row and eight of its last 12 games. There are plenty of reasons for the push, but flying under the radar is the improvement of second-year big man Harry Giles.

“There’s a lot of growth happening,” Kings coach Luke Walton told NBC Sports California after the win. “One, I think his conditioning and his body looks, and I’m assuming, feels pretty good right now.”

Giles went toe-to-toe with a huge Clippers frontline and managed to post his first career double-double. He finished the game with 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting and chipped in 12 rebounds, which matched his career high.

“It feels good, man,” Giles said. “I feel like I already had one, I should have had one. I’m glad I can finally put one in the books.”

On Jan. 30, Giles struggled to stay on the floor against the Clippers, picking up two quick fouls against Montrezl Harrell and then sitting for all but three minutes of the game while the Kings’ 3-point shooters rained down on Los Angeles.

“You have to give him a lot of credit for continuing to improve and do what we as a staff are asking him to do,” Walton added.

With very little support behind him because of njury, Giles came into Saturday’s game knowing that he had to stay on the floor. The only hope of doing that was to play defense without fouling.

[RELATED: Marvin Bagley visits foot specialist, out at least three more weeks]

“With time and reps, I’m just going to get better,” Giles said. “The fouls -- it varies. It’s tough. It depends on how you play and how the refs let you play. I’m going to keep getting better at that and just keep playing hard.”

In a career-high 32 minutes of action, Giles picked up just three fouls. He set good screens, moved his feet on defense and limited his mistakes overall. More importantly, he played valuable fourth-quarter minutes in a huge team victory.

Richaun Holmes and Marvin Bagley continue to miss time because of injury, and the Kings are extremely thin upfront. Giles has started six of the last eight games, and he’s starting to build momentum.

“I’m just trying to build on the opportunity and keep winning,” Giles said.

With just over a minute left and the game still undecided, Giles got an opportunity to shine off the lob.

[RELATED: Jabari Parker ready for Kings debut, Alex Len getting closer]

The Kings decided not to pick up Giles’ fourth-year option back in October, but they’ve kept the door open for a possible return for the 21-year-old big next season. He has another 26 games to show what he can do, and he’s auditioning for all 30 teams at this point.

Giles wasn’t the only center to play minutes for the Kings. 7-footer Alex Len made his Sacramento debut and played very well for a player who has missed 11 straight games with a hip pointer.

“I wasn’t planning on playing him that much, I wanted to just get him out there a little bit,” Walton said. “I was going to come in with Jabari [Parker], but he looked good. He was moving well. He was clogging up the paint. He was putting out fires for us. So I pushed it a little more than I wanted to with his minutes, but he said he felt good, and it was nice to have a real big 7-foot body out there to help control the paint.”

Len, who came over from the Atlanta Hawks at the NBA trade deadline, finished with three points and eight rebounds in 16 minutes of play. He was active and made a nice impact on the game in his limited time on the court.

Buddy Hield saves Kings from mistakes in must-win game vs. Grizzlies

Buddy Hield saves Kings from mistakes in must-win game vs. Grizzlies

SACRAMENTO -- In the words of Kings shooting guard and NBA 3-point Champion Buddy Hield, “It be like that sometimes.”

It’s a catch-all phrase that seems to make sense in almost any situation for Sacramento this season.

Blow an 18-point third-quarter lead?

“It be like that sometimes.”

Two fouls by veterans players on 3-point attempts in the final 15.9 seconds?

“It be like that sometimes.”

Hield making six free throws in the final 15.2 seconds of a must-win game, including one that looked like it wanted to hop out?

“It be like that sometimes.”

Coming out of the All-Star break, the Kings have the slimmest hope of climbing back into the postseason chase. A win over the Grizzlies on Thursday and the Kings could climb to within six games of the eighth seed with 27 games remaining.

But a loss at home to Memphis would likely have been a death blow to their chances and put them eight games out of the race.

It wasn’t pretty and it took nearly 2 1/2 hours to work out the details, but the Kings survived a late barrage from the Grizzlies to come away with a 129-125 win. 

A big fourth quarter from rookie Ja Morant and some timely scoring from De’Anthony Melton helped the Grizzlies make a game of it.

With 27.7 seconds remaining, the Kings took a nine-point lead. 20.2 seconds later, the lead was down to one. Missed free throws, inexplicable fouls and defensive lapses by the Kings opened a door for the Grizzlies.

Hield’s heroics at the line were the only thing standing between the Kings and a horribly embarrassing, soul-crushing loss.

“As a team, I don’t think anyone’s going up there being nervous,” De’Aaron Fox said. “Sometimes we just haven’t been making them and Buddy came in and saved us tonight.”

Fox, who scored 26 for the game, missed four out of six free throws in the fourth. Three of those misses came as the Grizzlies were surging in the final minute.

Harry Giles, an 81-percent shooter from the stripe, hit one of two from the line in the final 30 seconds, as well. For a moment, it felt like the walls were closing on the Kings.

Compounding the misses at the line, Harrison Barnes and Kent Bazemore both fouled 3-point shooters in a span of eight seconds inside of 16 seconds left to play. Barnes’ foul was highly questionable and likely will be a late addition to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report on Friday.

In the end, the Kings held on for the win, but those mistakes aren’t something that can be repeated when the margin for error is so slim.

“Collectively, the little details, our communication, our rebounding, things like that, even as you saw tonight, there’s a lot of room for improvement,” Barnes said following the game.

The Kings know what the standings look like and they know how important every game is at this point in the season.

“We just got to chip away, lock in extra hard at this point because every game is critical,” Giles said. “Every game is always critical, but we put ourselves in a position where we can’t really afford to lose games.”

While mistakes were made, there were also plenty of positives. Barnes hit his first seven 3-point attempts and finished with a season-high 32 points. Bazemore was a force on both ends of the court, scoring 18 points in 23 minutes of action.

Fox was aggressive on the defensive end and outplayed Morant, and Giles made three tremendous, game-altering defensive plays late before picking up his sixth foul. His two blocks and a charge drew “Harry, Harry, Harry!” chants from the crowd.

“Three stops wins the game,” Giles said. “That’s what we do in practice and stuff and I just try to translate that.”

It could have been an easier win, but the Grizzlies are 28-27 on the season for a reason. They play hard for 48 minutes, much like the Kings did last year when they won a shocking 39 games.

[RELATED: Bagley sees foot specialist, out at least three more weeks]

Sacramento is focused on one game at a time. The team knows that it’s too early or maybe too late to talk about the playoffs, but it is trying to finish the season strong. Despite all of the craziness in the closing minutes, the Kings found a way to beat the Grizzlies in a must-win game.

“It be like that sometimes.”