Harrison Barnes’ Hot Shooting Night Leads Kings to Victory over Memphis
Harrison Barnes clearly made the most of his time off during the All-Star break. The veteran wing made seven three-pointers in the Sacramento Kings’ 129-125 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday night.
“We came out, started the game locked in and disciplined. Got into a nice flow…” said Kings head coach Luke Walton, “…overall happy starting off the last 28 with that (win)”.
Barnes finished with a game-high 32 points, just two points shy of his career high, in 38 minutes. De’Aaron Fox followed his lead with his own strong shooting night from deep, hitting four three-pointers in a 26-point effort.
“We’ve shared the ball a lot better during this stretch and obviously we’ve made shots…I think right now we are doing a better job scoring than some of the games we have had defensively” said Fox.
When asked about his star point guard’s performance, Walton said, “He was good in the fourth but it wasn’t just the fourth…he was in attack mode most of the night, played with a good pace – he was out there leading us…”.
Sacramento, as a team, shot 48% from three-point range, hitting 19 total long-balls for the third time in recent weeks. Memphis had a solid shooting night as well, 50% from the field with 12 total threes.
In his first game back after winning the NBA Three-Point Contest at All-Star Weekend in Chicago, Buddy Hield provided 20 points, including a pair of threes, off the bench.
“To me it’s more exciting as a coach to see, alright we went to break, came back, let’s see where we are at. We came back seeing our guys locked in, ready to go…that shows how they have been all year long, they are going to keep going, keep fighting…” said Walton.
The Grizzlies’ young star, Ja Morant, took a while to get going, but finished the night with 19 points on 12 shots. De’Anthony Melton led the team in scoring with 24 points in 23 minutes off the bench.
Sacramento, now 22-33, moves a game closer to the 8th seed Grizzlies in the Western Conference standings. The two teams are still separated by three other hungry squads looking to steal the final playoff spot.
“It’s going to be entertaining. It’s going to be a lot of fun. I think you are going to see a high level of basketball down the stretch,” said Walton when asked about the playoff race, “It’s going to be great for our group. We have a lot of teams with good records left. What a great challenge”.