SACRAMENTO KINGS

Barnes drops 32 points as Kings end skid with win over Hawks

Jan 22, 2024, 9:47 PM | Updated: 10:07 pm

(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

Since the start of the 2022-23 season, losing streaks have been rare in Sacramento.

Entering play on Monday night, the Kings were on the verge of suffering its first five-game losing streak in nearly two years as this group was faced with another test against a shorthanded Atlanta Hawks team that took the floor without All-Star guard Trae Young (concussion).

If Sacramento wanted to avoid its longest losing skid in two seasons, they would have to show up and handle business against the Hawks in their final home game until February 7th–and that’s precisely what happened.

Harrison Barnes had one of his strongest showings of the season, the Kings held Atlanta to 38 percent shooting from the field, and Sacramento snapped its four-game losing streak with a 122-107 win at Golden 1 Center.

With the win, the Kings (24-18) jumped from eighth to seventh in the Western Conference standings. At this time last season, Sacramento also held a record of 24-18 through 42 games.

Kings vs. Hawks Takeaways

HB & The Defense Set The Tone

After scoring just two points on one-of-two shooting from the field during Friday’s loss to Indiana, Harrison Barnes tapped into his offense early against Atlanta.

Barnes, who entered Monday’s game averaging 10.6 points per game on the season, scored 19 points on seven-of-12 shooting from the field and three-of-three from beyond the arc over 16 first-half minutes to help Sacramento jump out to an early lead.

Thanks to a 20-7 run that opened things up in the second quarter, the Kings led by as many as 19 points during the first half as the Hawks struggled to generate offense against an engaged Sacramento defense.

Atlanta entered the break trailing by 17 points after shooting just 24 percent from the field and three-of-19 (15%) from three-point land as the Kings did a solid job of pressuring the Hawks into tough shots.

Barnes was Sacramento’s primary point of attack during the first half, as no other member of the Kings scored more than five points before the break–a strong sign for the final 24 minutes of action.

Closing It Out

Of course, at this point in the season, it’s clear that few Sacramento Kings leads are safe until the final horn sounds.

While the Kings stretched its lead to 24 points during the opening minutes of the third quarter, Atlanta made its move and trimmed the deficit to 10 points with four minutes remaining in the period.

Unlike Sacramento’s recent track record of letting things snowball and get out of control, the Kings took a different approach to closing Monday’s game.

The Kings immediately hit back and stretched their lead to 87-69 heading into the fourth, putting themselves 12 minutes away from their first win in nearly two weeks.

Once again, the Hawks would not go quietly as they cut Sacramento’s lead to seven with just under 90 seconds on the clock.

On a night that saw De’Aaron Fox struggle, the reigning Clutch Player of the Year came through when it mattered most with an and-one that gave the Kings a ten-point lead with 58 seconds to go as a sellout crowd started chanting “Light-the-beam.”

Thanks to Fox’s timely bucket and a strong finish from Barnes, Sacramento had enough in the tank to pick up a much-needed win before hitting the road.

Barnes was the star of the night on Monday, as the veteran’s 32 points fell one point shy of tying his season-high. The 31-year-old finished the game 10-of-20 from the field and four-of-eight from deep over just 29 minutes, with eight of his points coming in the fourth to help put the game out of reach.

No other member of the Kings finished with more than 14 points during the win, meaning that Barnes’ outburst came at a great time as Sacramento’s offense was not its usual self.

If you remove Barnes’ contributions, the rest of the Kings roster shot 45 percent from the field and just eight-of-30 (26%) from downtown.

“Seeing [Barnes] being as aggressive as he was tonight was good because we needed it with the way our big three shot the ball,” Kings head coach Mike Brown said of his forward following the game. “Down the stretch, we called his number three or four straight times, and good things happened almost every time.”

Through trade rumors and a rough start to the season, Barnes was Sacramento’s focal point on offense during the win, leading the team with 20 field goal attempts–his most in a single game since November 2021 and just his second game with  20+ field goal attempts over 358 appearances with the Kings.

Trade chatter surrounding Barnes will likely increase as we move closer to February 8th’s trade deadline, but Monday’s game was an example of the type of impact he can make when his volume increases.

Monk The Distributor 

Malik Monk continues to thrive in the backup point guard role.

The Sixth Man of the Year candidate finished Monday’s win with 13 points and eight assists, marking the 27th time this season that Monk has passed out five or more assists off the bench.

Monk leads all NBA reserves in games with 5+ assists by a wide margin:

Notes

  • After shooting 68% from the free-throw line over the past 12 games, Sacramento finished the win 24/27 (89%) from the charity stripe–a new season-best.
  • Domantas Sabonis posted his 25th straight double-double during the win. Sabonis also tied Rudy Gobert for the NBA lead in games with 20+ rebounds (3): 14 PTS | 21 REB | 6 AST | 2 STL | 38 MIN

When is the next Sacramento Kings game?

Sacramento will come face-to-face with its Northern California rival in the Golden State Warriors for the fourth and final time this season when the two teams face off on Thursday night at Chase Center.

The Kings are still seeking their first regular season win on Golden State’s home floor since February 25, 2020, as they have lost their last seven matchups in San Francisco.

Sacramento secured a nail-biting win over the Warriors during their most recent matchup on November 28th thanks to Malik Monk’s game-winner.

YouTube video

Thursday’s game will act as the start of a season-long, seven-game road trip for the Kings, who won’t return home until February 7th.

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Warriors coverage, beginning at 5:30 PM PST on Game Night before a 7:00 PM PST tip-off from San Francisco.

Upcoming Schedule

  • Thursday, January 25th – Sacramento Kings @ Golden State Warriors – 7:00 PM PST
  • Saturday, January 27th – Sacramento Kings @ Dallas Mavericks – 6:00 PM PST
  • Monday, January 29th – Sacramento Kings @ Memphis Grizzlies – 5:00 PM PST
  • Wednesday, January 31st – Sacramento Kings @ Miami Heat – 4:30 PM PST
  • Friday, February 2nd – Sacramento Kings @ Indiana Pacers – 4:30 PM PST

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