Kings go cold from deep in costly loss to Wizards

Mar 21, 2024, 6:42 PM

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 21: Kyle Kuzma #33 of the Washington Wizards dribbles in front of Malik Monk...

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Anything can happen on any night in the NBA. This is a fact.

However, “anything” has happened to the Sacramento Kings far too many times this season.

The Kings suffered its latest costly loss on Thursday night, dropping a game to the NBA-worst Washington Wizards by a final of 109-102 at Capital One Arena. Instead of defeating the 11-58 Wizards, Sacramento dropped a game it really needed to win to keep pace in the Western Conference playoff race.

Rather than pick up a game on the fifth-seed New Orleans Pelicans, who lost to Orlando on Thursday, the Kings (40-29) are in danger of falling out of the top-six spots in the standings as they wait to see how Phoenix fares against Atlanta later in the evening.

Thanks to a rough showing from three-point land (28%) and an even worse showing on the defensive end, Sacramento’s laundry list of ugly losses got even longer.

The Kings have now lost games to the Wizards, Detroit Pistons (12-57), Charlotte Hornets (17-52), and Portland Trail Blazers (19-50).

Kings vs. Wizards Recap & Takeaways

Alarm bells were sounded early in this one as Sacramento sleep-walked themselves into a big hole before the end of the first half.

The Kings got outplayed on both ends of the floor, but an abysmal start from the offense made things difficult on themselves. Sacramento missed its first 11 attempts from three-point range while leading scorer De’Aaron Fox opened the night by missing his first eight attempts from the field.

Washington took advantage of a cold start from the Kings’ offense by taking a 19-point lead midway through the second quarter, a deficit that caused Sacramento to play with a heightened sense of urgency to end the half.

Trailing 52-33 with 6:36 remaining in the half, the Kings ended the second quarter on a 21-4 run that trimmed the gap to 56-54 heading into the break.

Fox brushed off his early struggles by scoring 10 points (to go along with five steals) in the second quarter, while Kessler Edwards provided Sacramento with a boost on the defensive end that helped slow down the Wizards offense and get the Kings back within striking distance.

All of Sacramento’s momentum seemed to go out the window as Washington opened the third quarter on a 9-0 run to push its lead back into double-digits. The Wizards, who entered the night as the NBA’s worst third-quarter team regarding point differential, outscored the Kings 28-22 in the period while shooting 63 percent from the field in the period.

As was the case during the end of the second quarter, Sacramento ended the third on a run that stretched into the beginning of the fourth. Fox, Mr. Fourth Quarter himself, ignited the offense in the final quarter, scoring ten points during the first three minutes of the period to help the Kings regain the lead.

Unfortunately for Sacramento, each run they made on Thursday was met by an immediate answer rom Washington.

Fox’s late-game heroics quickly wore off as Kyle Kuzma (31 points) and the Wizards held off the Kings’ comeback efforts by holding Sacramento to three points during the final three minutes of regulation.

It’s no secret that the Kings live and die by the three-ball. When triples don’t fall, losses typically follow, and that notion held true on Thursday as Sacramento fell to 10-20 when shooting under 35 percent from deep.

The Kings got beat across the board by Washington, as the Wizards held the upper edge in rebounds, points in the paint (60-34), and three-point shooting (40%).

With just 13 games remaining, Sacramento will only face sub-500 teams three more times during the final weeks that lead into the NBA Play-In Tournament and NBA Playoffs. Instead of taking care of business against Washington, the Kings will now enter a tough stretch of its schedule on the heels of its latest head-scratching loss.

Sabonis Passes Moses

Domantas Sabonis continues to add to his career year as the big man racked up his 52nd consecutive double-double against Washington.

Over 39 minutes of action, Sabonis finished his night with 14 points, 14 rebounds, and six assists.

Sabonis, who leads the NBA with 65 double-doubles, passed Hall of Fame center Moses Malone (51) for the longest double-double streak since the NBA-ABA merger (1976-77). The three-time All-Star can tie Kevin Love’s modern record with another double-double on Saturday in Orlando.

Injury Updates

The Kings announced on Thursday that Kevin Huerter had suffered a left shoulder dislocation and labral tear. Huerter does not have a timetable for his return.

Trey Lyles is set to be reevaluated next week after suffering a left knee MCL sprain on March 12th.

When is the next Sacramento Kings game?

Sacramento will conclude its three-game road trip on Saturday night against a dangerous Orlando Magic team that rosters the NBA’s third-best defense (108.8 points per game).

In the lone meeting between these teams this season, on January 3rd, Malik Monk’s 37-point outing lifted the Kings to a thrilling 138-135 win in double overtime. Orlando forward Paolo Banchero racked up a career-high 43 points during the loss at Golden 1 Center.

Domantas Sabonis posted one of his more impressive triple-doubles during the gritty win: 22 PTS | 23 REB | 12 AST

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Magic coverage, beginning at 2:30 PM PST on Game Night before a 4:00 PM PST tip-off from Orlando.

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Upcoming Schedule

  • Saturday, March 23rd – Sacramento Kings @ Orlando Magic – 4:00 PM PST
  • Monday, March 25th – Sacramento Kings vs. Philadelphia 76ers – 7:00 PM PST
  • Tuesday, March 26th – Sacramento Kings vs. Dallas Mavericks – 7:00 PM PST
  • Friday, March 29th – Sacramento Kings vs. Dallas Mavericks – 7:00 PM PST
  • Sunday, March 31st – Sacramento Kings vs. Utah Jazz – 6:00 PM PST

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