East Coast Blues: Sacramento Kings’ offensive woes continue in Philadelphia

Dec 13, 2022, 6:35 PM | Updated: Dec 14, 2022, 8:18 am
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - DECEMBER 13: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers shots over Doma...
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

Sunday’s ugly showing from the Sacramento Kings against the New York Knicks turned out to be an appetizer for Tuesday’s full-course dinner.

Sacramento turned in another dreadful performance on Tuesday as Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers completely ran the Kings out of Wells Fargo Center by the final of 123-103.

The Kings (14-12) have lost two-straight games as their six-game road trip has turned into a nightmare over the past two contests. Philadelphia has now defeated Sacramento in eight-straight games, with the most-recent Kings win coming back on February 2, 2019.

There was a sense that this game would get ugly fast as Domantas Sabonis picked up two quick fouls over the first four minutes of play while trying to defend Embiid in the post. Sabonis’ replacement, two-way center Neemias Queta, was whistled for three fouls over just two minutes of action.

With the whistles coming in bunches and the Kings unable to get into a rhythm on offense, the 76ers completely took a lethal Sacramento offense and placed it into a lockbox as Philadelphia jumped out to a double-digit lead during the opening minutes of the second quarter.

Embiid, who was fresh off of a 53-point outing on Sunday, finished the first half with 21 points while getting to the free-throw line 11 times. The 76ers finished the first half with a 35-point lead after scoring the most points they scored in a single half this season.

Philadelphia entered play averaging 110.7 points per game– 22nd in the NBA. They scored 80 points on the Kings’ defense over the first 24 minutes of play.

Sacramento’s offense struggled mightily on Sunday in New York, where the team shot just 39 percent from the field and 25 percent from three-point range. One would think that a Kings offense that entered play on Tuesday as a top-two scoring team in the NBA would be able to brush off a bad night, but that wasn’t the case in this one.

The Kings finished the night 41 percent from the field and 23 percent from three-point land. An offense that averages 27.2 assists per game only handed out 21 during the loss.

When the ball movement is nonexistent and the three-point struggles continue to mount, its hard to win basketball games. Players like Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk (both finished the night one-of-five from three-point land) haven’t been able to knock down open looks over the past week, and the Kings have struggled to get their offense cooking without their outside threats clicking.

With the offense struggling and the defense allowing 80 points in a single half, it was too late for the Kings once they started getting into a rhythm late in the third quarter.

Although Sacramento was able to trim the deficit to 15 points with over a quarter remaining, an abysmal second quarter acted as the difference in Tuesday’s game:

2nd Q: 76ers 41, Kings 23
PHI: 59% FG
SAC: 37% FG

1st, 3rd & 4th Q: 76ers 82, Kings 80

This falls in line with what transpired on Sunday night in New York:

Sacramento’s defensive rating was a horrific 145.5 during the first half. During the second half? 87.8. The adjustments were made, but too late in the game with the 76ers already out in front by 20-25 points.

Games like the past two are great learning opportunities for an up-and-coming team like the Kings, but you have to hope that the learning happens quickly as teams like the 76ers and Sacramento’s next opponent, the Toronto Raptors, are waiting to jump on struggling teams.

Fox’s Return & Another Double-Double For Domas

De’Aaron Fox (foot soreness) returned to action following a two-game absence and scored 13 points (five-of-15 shooting from the field) to go along with four rebounds over 29 minutes. Fox looked like his usual self on Tuesday and did not appear to be playing with any discomfort.

Head coach Mike Brown said pregame that Fox wouldn’t have a minutes restriction against the 76ers, and the guard nearly played 30 minutes during his return to gameplay.

Domantas Sabonis had a lot of questionable whistles come his way on Tuesday, but the two-time All-Star acted as Sacramento’s key contributor once again.

The talented center posted his 18th double-double of the season–the most in the NBA–by scoring 22 points on eight-of-10 shooting while pulling down 10 boards and dishing out five assists over 29 minutes.

Injury Updates

Alex Len (non-COVID illness) was inactive for Tuesday’s game in Philadelphia and is considered day-to-day.

Postgame Show

Check out our Sactown Sports Kings Recap Show on the Sactown Sports 1140 YouTube channel!

Sactown Sports Kings Recap Shows will be happening all season long, immediately following each Kings game!

Next Game

Sacramento will continue its six-game road trip on Wednesday evening when they face the Toronto Raptors.

Get all of your Kings vs. Raptors coverage on Sactown Sports 1140 starting at 3:00 pm PST on Game Night before action tips off at 4:30 pm PST from Toronto, Canada.

Upcoming Sacramento Kings Schedule

Wednesday, December 14th – Sacramento Kings @ Toronto Raptors – 4:30 PM PST

Friday, December 16th – Sacramento Kings @ Detroit Pistons – 4:00 PM PST

Monday, December 19th – Sacramento Kings vs Charlotte Hornets – 7:00 PM PST

Wednesday, December 21st – Sacramento Kings vs Los Angeles Lakers – 7:00 PM PST

Friday, December 23rd – Sacramento Kings vs Washington Wizards – 7:00 PM PST


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