Marvin Bagley

Kings takeaways: What we learned in 103-101 buzzer-beating win over Pistons

Kings takeaways: What we learned in 103-101 buzzer-beating win over Pistons

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The cardiac Kings were staring at an 0-2 start to their road trip. And then Buddy Hield happened.

The shooting guard was huge early in Saturday night's game against the Detroit Pistons, but then he went dormant. When he woke in the fourth quarter, it was game on.

Sacramento’s leading scorer went off for 15 points in the final frame, including a miraculous 3-pointer off one leg at the buzzer, to give the Kings a dramatic 103-101 win.

Here are three takeaways as the Kings stunned the Pistons with Hield's buzzer-beater to improve to 24-22 on the season.

Buddy Buckets comes through big time

Hield came out firing in the first half, scoring 20 points on 8-of-9 shooting before intermission. Then he completely disappeared in the third quarter, going scoreless on 0-for-3 shooting.

With the game on the line, though, Hield returned to form, including the dagger as time expired.

Hield finished with 35 points and shot 7-of-9 from behind the 3-point line. He added nine rebounds and one very special moment.

Blaaaaake

Blake Griffin is off to a great start this season with the Pistons. After missing the last matchup between these teams in Sacramento, the All-Star big man went to work on the Kings’ front line.

Detroit’s first option scored 22 points in the first half and looked unstoppable. Kings coach Dave Joerger made an adjustment coming out of the half, starting rookie Marvin Bagley at the four.

Bagley helped slow Griffin to just five points in the third quarter, but he bounced back in the fourth to finish the night with 38 points on 12-of-23 shooting and added six rebounds. It wasn’t enough to push the Pistons over the top.

Battling Bagley

It wasn’t a perfect game for the Kings’ rookie, but Bagley showed he wasn’t going to back down from anyone.

Griffin pulled out all the stops and got all the calls. But Bagley stayed the course and made an impact on the game.

Bagley posted 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting in 27 minutes of action. Joerger showed some faith in the 19-year-old out of Duke, who rewarded his coach with a gutsy performance.

Kings 'got smoked' in opener of season-defining six-game road trip

Kings 'got smoked' in opener of season-defining six-game road trip

There’s an issue with winning. It doesn’t take long before the expectations begin to change.

The Sacramento Kings were estimated to win around 25 games this season. They came into Thursday evening at 23-21, completely blowing away an prediction around the league.

And then they laid an egg in the first game of their season-long six-game road trip.

After being handled by the Kings at Golden 1 Center over the weekend, the Hornets got their revenge Thursday day night at the Spectrum Center, dropping Sacramento by a final of 114-95.

“We’ve got to play better, but it’s a lot of young guys at the same time,” coach Dave Joerger told cameras following the loss. “It’s going to take a while to gel and find a rhythm, especially on the road it’s not easy for young guys.”

Joerger and his team better get used to playing away from Golden 1 Center. They play five more away from home over the next week and a half. It’s a stretch that very well could decide their fate of their season.

After yielding a 3-pointer to open the scoring, the Kings rattled off a 15-0 run to take a big lead early. Joerger went to his second unit early and they didn’t respond well in their first look.

At the end of the first, the Kings held a 25-20 advantage and then the wheels fell of the bus.

Charlotte found a way to disrupt the Kings offensive flow in the second quarter and ran the visiting team off the court.

“I think right at the end of the second, they went on their run, it’s a game of runs,” rookie Marvin Bagley told reporters in the locker room. “We tried to come back and go on ours, but they continued to make shots. We just had to find some way to win, but it just didn’t go our way tonight.”

Charlotte dropped a 43-point quarter on the Kings to take a 63-50 advantage to the intermission. Sacramento cut the Hornets' lead down to six in the late third, but the home team finished the quarter out with another run to take a double-digit lead to the fourth.

Sacramento pulled within nine in the early fourth, but then the Hornets took control. The Kings over dribbled, turned the ball over 18 times, missed their free throws and played lackadaisical defense in the loss.

Buddy Hield led the way with 24 points on 6-of-11 from behind the arc, but Joerger was in no mood to break down his performance following the loss.

“We just got smoked, I do not want to talk about any individual’s shooting,” Joerger told media members.

It sounds like Joerger’s expectations are shifting as well. He knows the importance of the road trip and how it can impact the remainder of the season. Getting off to a start like this was not what the Kings’ coach hoped for.

The Kings make their way to Detroit for leg two of their journey. Like the Hornets, this is the second time in a week that these two teams will do battle.

Blake Griffin missed the previous matchup between the two teams, but is expected to play. The Pistons will also being playing on the second night of a back-to-back after hosting the Miami Heat the night before.

After a loss in Charlotte, the Kings need every advantage they can get to avoid an 0-2 start to the trip.

Marvin Bagley, Harry Giles give Kings fans glimpse into bright future

Marvin Bagley, Harry Giles give Kings fans glimpse into bright future

SACRAMENTO -- Marvin Bagley shot to the post, pinned his man down and raised his hand to call for an entry pass. He was too late. Harry Giles had already established his footing in the high post, taken the ball and began assessing his options.

Bagley, the No. 2 overall selection in the 2018 NBA draft is a walking double-double. Taken with the 20th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Giles is the brash, jack of all trades. This is 40 percent of your new Sacramento Kings second unit.

The tandem is turning heads with their play and giving the team a glimpse into what the future might look like.

“They are amazing, they are doing a great job and they are learning. They keep improving, they keep getting better,” Bogdan Bogdanovic said. “Both of them are hard workers and that’s what we need from them. They are doing a tremendous job.”

It’s a bold move to play the two rookies together. After playing limited minutes over the past three years due to a series of knee issues, Giles is just 20 years old. Bagley, 19, could still be a freshman in college if he didn’t petition the NCAA to enter a year early.

“They’ve got to learn somehow and they’re getting the time to experiment with their game and learn, and to see how this league operates,” Willie Cauley-Stein said.

Both former Duke Blue Devils, the plan is to let the pair grow together and build chemistry. Their contrast in style complements each other and they are quickly learning how to work together on the court.

“They’re both getting better individually, but they both look great playing together,” De’Aaron Fox said. “They know each other's tendencies.”

Since returning from a injury that cost him 11 straight games, Bagley is working himself back into shape. He’s averaging 10.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game over the four-game stretch, including a 13-point, 11-rebound double-double Monday against the Trail Blazers.

A top flight athlete, Bagley continues to show signs of star potential. His ability to rise up and shoot over the opposition in the lane is elite, as is his capacity to rebound in a crowd. He’s becoming a go-to scorer in the post, which gives the Kings an element they sorely need.

Giles is back in the rotation after a couple of stints in the G League. He’s adjusting to the speed of the game and finally finding a way to stay out of foul trouble. Giles had a breakout game in the team’s win over Detroit, which showed a lot of the improvements he is making.

“I told him, you’re still setting hard screens, now you’re setting more legal screens that are still hard and you’re not moving,” coach Dave Joerger said. “You’re in a stance defensively and your IQ is going up and your experience is going up so your communication is more effective.”

Where Bagley is an offensive force, Giles is equipped with elite court vision and a flare for the highlight reel pass. Giles is also active and physical on both ends of the court.

“When you add Harry and you add that vision at the high post, as well as the finishes in low post, I think it just calms us down,” Iman Shumpert said.

He can hit a jumper, take his opponent off the dribble and his jump hook is coming along nicely. Like Bagley, he can rebound at a high clip, but their contrasting styles are easy to spot.

“We’re going to need each other moving forward,” Bagley said. “It’s great having somebody who’s passionate like that, wants to win, who plays hard out there on the court at the same time as you.”

The two have started competing for rebounds, which is fun to watch. Bagley goes high for the boards, while Giles outpositions his opponent and snares the ball with his oversized hands.

For a team that ranks in the middle of the league in rebounding, the young duo is adding an ingredient that was missing before.

Both have a confidence level that comes from being elite prep prospects. They want to be on the court and they expect to succeed.

Joerger is slowly giving the pair a longer leash. He likes the early returns, but also has a vision for where they could be in a year or two. It takes patience and a lot of coaching to develop players, and bigs usually take a little longer than guards and wings.

In the modern NBA, you have to space the floor. Neither Bagley nor Giles have fully developed their 3-point shot, which makes things complicated for the coaching staff.

“Marvin’s a post up threat, Harry’s a post up threat, both of them are pretty good at the elbows,” Joerger said. “But if you kick them out to the perimeter, their dude ain’t running out with them at this point. That’s one of those, ‘not yet’ deals.”

There are stretches in the game where the coaching staff is running completely different play sets to help compliment the strengths of the young duo. The versatility of players like Bogdanovic, Yogi Ferrell and Justin Jackson helps out during these times.

Joerger, like most people, sees the talent level of the two and the team has a plan for how to get them to the next level. But patience is needed, not only from the team, but from the fanbase and the players themselves.

“Both of them are capable and both of them are improving their skills on the perimeter,” Joerger said. “I think that’s one of the things that everybody likes about their talent.”

It’s a long journey and Bagley and Giles are just starting to write their NBA stories. They are giving the league a small taste of what is to come.