No one is going to hand the Sacramento Kings a playoff spot. That’s not how the NBA works.
Sacramento learned that lesson the hard way Friday night when the San Antonio Spurs throttled them early and built a big first-half lead. The Kings countered, like they have done all season long, but it wasn’t enough.
Led by former King Rudy Gay, All-Star DeMar DeRozan and the hot shooting of Derrick White, the Spurs stunned Sacramento by the final of 129-120.
Here are three takeaways as the Kings drop their first game of the restart and fall a game behind the Portland Trail Blazers for ninth place in the Western Conference standings.
Every game is a must-win for the Kings when you consider the eight-game restart. A loss to the Spurs in the opener is the worst case scenario for the team’s playoff hopes.
With Portland winning, the Kings have now fallen a game behind in the standings with just seven games remaining in the season. It’s not over, but Sacramento’s schedule gets so much more difficult from here on out.
No excuses, the Kings might have just had their playoff dreams crushed before they even had a chance to make things interesting.
[PURPLE TALK PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]
De’Aaron Fox spoke to the media following shootaround on Friday morning and declared that he had his “Game legs.” The Kings’ star in the making came out in the first quarter and allowed his play to explain exactly what he meant.
Fox ran right by the Spurs defense and found himself at the cup time and time again in the first half. Most of his shots found pay dirt.
A career-high 35 points for De’Aaron 😤 pic.twitter.com/DwHeHZ575V— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) August 1, 2020
Sacramento’s starting point guard scored 20 of his career-high 39 points in a wild first half that saw the Kings give up a 19-0 run before taking a one-point lead into the intermission.
From start to finish, Fox was the best player on the court, finishing the game shooting 17-for-33 from the field to go with six assists and three rebounds.
[RELATED: Kings, Spurs kneel during national anthem]
Bogdan Bogdanovic didn’t get off to a great start for the Kings, but that’s the beauty of the NBA.
Sacramento’s starting shooting guard shook off the cold first half to provide a huge boost for the Kings. His back-to-back triples in the third quarter fired up the squad and got them back in contention.
Bogi from DEEP 💦 pic.twitter.com/qamuInykf5— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) August 1, 2020
On the evening, Bogdanovic finished with 24 points on 8-for-15 shooting, including six makes from long range in 31 minutes of action.