Buddy Hield Scores 34 As Kings Pick Up Big Win In OKC
There is an old quote that “defense wins games”. That quote made a lot of sense on Saturday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
In a game that went down to the wire, Willie Cauley-Stein saved the day as he took a Russell Westbrook charge with 11 seconds left to give the Sacramento Kings a 119-116 victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
OFFENSIVE FOUL!!! pic.twitter.com/hZdQciRmap
— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) February 24, 2019
Westbrook, the former MVP, came barreling down the lane as he attempted to send the game to overtime before Cauley-Stein stepped out, got in position, and was given the charge call as Westbrook toppled over him. It was the game sealing play for the Kings, who snapped a two game losing streak and pulled to within a game and a half of the sixth seed playoff spot.
With the win, Sacramento clinched the season series against the Thunder with their third win in four matchups, something they haven’t done since the 2007-2008 season when the franchise was in Seattle.
The Kings were in control for most of the night on Saturday, jumping out to a hot start thanks to 14 first quarter points from Buddy Hield. Hield, who finished with 34 points, showed the basketball world that he was not hesitant to shoot the ball after Thursday’s loss to the Warriors as he shot 12-of-22 from the field, including 3-of-5 from downtown. It was the fifth time this season that Hield scored 30 or more points.
Sacramento took an 11 point lead into the fourth quarter, but the third-seeded Thunder would not go quietly. Not even 24 hours removed from a double-overtime win over the Jazz, a 41 point performance by Russell Westbrook would lead his team back from a double-digit fourth quarter deficit to take a 111-110 lead with 4:36 remaining. Thunder forward Paul George had a rough night on Saturday, scoring 14 points on 4-of-19 shooting one night removed from scoring the game winning basket against Utah, putting up 45 points in the process. After four lead changes over the final five minutes, the Kings would take the lead for good with 29 seconds left after two De’Aaron Fox free-throws gave Sacramento a 118-116 lead.
De’Aaron Fox scored 19 points and dished 9 assists to go along with a steal and three blocked shots. Fox has done an incredible job of taking care of the basketball, turning the ball over only four times in his past two contests. For comparison, opposing guard Russell Westbrook turned the ball over seven times just during Saturday’s game. Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 15 points while Willie Cauley-Stein-had a 10 point-11 rebound double-double to go along with his game saving charge.
The Duke alumni had big contributions for the Kings, as Marvin Bagley III had his 12th double-double of the season with a 19 point-11 rebound performance. Harry Giles had a career-high 9 rebounds to go along with 7 points off of the Sacramento bench. The Kings second unit was very efficient in OKC, finishing with a combined plus-minus of +31.
At 31-28, the Kings placed themselves further into playoff race after the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Pelicans on the road. Sacramento now trails the eighth, seventh, and sixth seed spots by a game and a half, while they now hold a two game lead over the 10th place Lakers.
Sacramento will look to split the four-game road trip as they head to Minnesota on Monday night. With a win, the Kings can clinch a season series win over the Timberwolves with their third win in four tries.
Minnesota All-star center Karl Anthony-Towns, who was recently in a car accident, is in NBA concussion protocol and is questionable for Monday’s contest. Towns has career averages of 22.3 points and 11.9 rebounds against Sacramento.
Catch all the action right here on Sports 1140 KHTK, starting with pregame coverage at 4:30pm, followed by tipoff at 5:00pm.
"Big time win! Big time win!"
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) February 24, 2019