NBA

0-4: Sacramento’s Skid Reaches Four To Begin Season

Oct 27, 2022, 9:48 PM | Updated: 11:42 pm
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 27: David Roddy #27 of the Memphis Grizzlies is guarded by Chimezi...
(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Sacramento Kings let defensive lapses cost them a basketball game.

The Kings have yet to secure a win this season after allowing the Memphis Grizzlies to take over in the fourth quarter as they suffered a 125-110 loss at Golden 1 Center on Thursday night.

Things looked good early as Sacramento build a 23-13 lead during the first quarter, but the good times would stop there as a dangerous Grizzlies team answered back with a 19-5 run to end the period–a run that acted as a sign of what was to come for the final three quarters.

Kings head coach Mike Brown’s rotation looked a lot different on Thursday as 12 players saw the floor during the first half. Unfortunately, each time Brown went to the bench, Memphis was able to take advantage of Sacramento’s unimpressive second unit.

Aside from Malik Monk’s 15 points, the rest of the Kings’ bench combined to score 12 points during the loss. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies’ bench racked up 45 points.

The Kings don’t look as lost or dysfunctional as teams of the past have looked. Opportunities have been there in all four games, but so far, Sacramento has yet to prove that they can play a polished 48 minutes of basketball. That isn’t going to cut it during games like Thursday, something that rang true as the Kings will hope to secure its first win this weekend against Miami.

Here are some takeaways from Sacramento’s fourth-straight loss:

Game of Runs

Sacramento answered most Grizzlies’ runs on Thursday, but the fact that they continued to yield big runs would act as the glaring issue during the losing effort.

Memphis’ final push during the fourth quarter would prove too much for the Kings to overcome as the Grizzlies built a 15-point lead–their largest of the game–with less than six minutes remaining.

Sure, the Grizzlies are a good team, one that very well could finish the season near or at the top of the Western Conference, but that is no excuse to continuously allow an opponent to mount game-altering runs. Although Sacramento built some runs of their own in response, Memphis 12-4 run midway through the fourth quarter spelled the end as the Kings fell to 0-4 on the season.

Murray Gets The Start

At long last (well, it wasn’t that long since it was only two games), Keegan Murray logged his first NBA start on Thursday night.

The fourth-overall pick received a loud ovation when announced by Kings public address announcer Scott Moak during the pregame player introductions. Once the introductions came to a close, it was business as usual for the stoic rookie.

Murray continued to display his skill from beyond the arc as he would go on to shoot three-of-eight from beyond the arc and seven-of-15 from the field during the loss, finishing with 18 points and seven rebounds over a team-high 39 minutes.

The Iowa product continues to look like a pivotal piece of this year’s team as he has proven that he can cause damage in a variety of ways on both ends of the floor. Four games in, it’s becoming clear that the Kings have found their forward of the future.

Harrison Barnes Returns

After beginning the season on a cold spell, Harrison Barnes finally got his offense going during Thursday’s loss.

Barnes converted his first three-point field goal of the season during the opening moments of the first quarter and went on to finish the night with 20 points on six-of-12 shooting from the field over 37 minutes of play

The 30-year-old entered play against Memphis in an uncharacteristic slump as the veteran held averages of 7.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game on 36.8% shooting from the field after Sacramento’s first three games.

During Thursday’s pregame media session, head coach Mike Brown said that Barnes was getting comfortable in his new role, adding that he hadn’t written up a single play for the forward during the team’s first week of action, something that surely has not been the case over the years.

While facing Memphis, Barnes looked like his normal self as he used his size to draw fouls and get to the line. Through the first three games, Barnes–an 80% career free-throw shooter–had shot just over 50% from the charity stripe. On Thursday, Barnes converted seven of his eight attempts from the line.

Rotation

Mike Brown’s rotation against Memphis certainly was…something.

With Keegan Murray entering the starting lineup, KZ Okpala not only slid out of the starting lineup but out of the rotation entirely as Chimezie Metu was called on as the first forward off of the bench. Brown didn’t stop there during the first half as he sent 12 players in over the first 24 minutes of play.

Back in training camp, Brown shared that he envisioned a nine-to-ten-man rotation, but it’s clear that he is still searching for his core group of players after a sluggish start to the season.

Brown received backlash from Kings fans on social media as he appeared to sub out specific players that were amid offensive hot streaks, but each Memphis run was met by an answer from Sacramento until things got sloppy during the fourth quarter.

This was Brown’s plan all along, though, as he stated pregame that he would be “experimenting” with Thursday’s rotation. It will be interesting to see how the lineups look come Saturday afternoon when the Kings face Miami, but I would say it’s unlikely that Brown deploys 12-plus players for the second-straight game.

Players like Chima Moneke (NBA debut) and Alex Len got their first minutes of the season, while second-unit members Richaun Holmes (eight minutes) and Davion Mitchell (12 minutes) didn’t get the run that we’re accustomed to seeing.

Notes & Stats

  • De’Aaron Fox turned in another strong performance on Thursday: 27 PTS (11/19 FG), 6 REB, 2 AST, 35 MIN. He has scored at least 27 points in each of Sacramento’s first four games.
  • Domantas Sabonis flirted with a triple-double during the loss: 11 PTS, 10 REB, 9 AST, 4/6 FG, 30 MIN
  • Malik Monk turned in his second-straight game with seven assists during the loss. Monk also scored 15 points while shooting three-of-seven from three-point land over 22 minutes.
  • After shooting 11/43 (25%) from three-point range during Sunday’s loss, the Kings struggled from beyond the arc once again vs Memphis as they shot 12/38 (31%).
  • Free-throws weren’t the issue for Sacramento in this one as the Kings shot 18-of-22 (81%) from the line.

Injury Updates

  • Kevin Huerter (left shoulder) exited the game during the second quarter after colliding with Grizzlies forward David Roddy. Huerter started the second half on the floor with the starters but sat down the closing stretch as Malik Monk stepped in to play at the two-spot. Huerter said he felt fine postgame, but is likely considered considered day-to-day.

Coming Up

The Kings will face the Miami Heat in a matinee showing on Saturday afternoon before embarking on a four-game east-coast road trip.

Last season, Sacramento and Miami split a two-game set, with the Heat taking the most-recent matchup back on March 28th–a 123-100 blowout win over the Kings in South Beach.

Be sure to get all of your Kings vs Heat coverage right here on Sactown Sports 1140 beginning at 1:30 pm PST on Game Night before action tips off at 3:00 pm PST from downtown Sacramento.

Also: check out our Sactown Sports Kings Recap Show immediately following each game!

Upcoming Sacramento Kings Schedule

Saturday, October 29th – Sacramento Kings vs Miami Heat – 3:00 PM PST

Monday, October 31st – Sacramento Kings @ Charlotte Hornets – 4:00 PM PST

Wednesday, November 2nd – Sacramento Kings @ Miami Heat – 4:30 PM PST

Saturday, November 5th – Sacramento Kings @ Orlando Magic – 2:00 PM PST

Monday, November 7th – Sacramento Kings @ Golden State Warriors – 7:00 PM PST

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0-4: Sacramento’s Skid Reaches Four To Begin Season