SACRAMENTO KINGS

Kings seek first win on second night of back-to-back vs. Magic

Jan 3, 2024, 9:38 AM | Updated: 9:59 am

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE - DECEMBER 31: De'Aaron Fox #5 of the Sacramento Kings brings the ball up court ...

(Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)

(Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)

The Sacramento Kings might have been heavy favorites against a Charlotte Hornets team that entered Tuesday night on an 11-game losing streak, but it didn’t matter.

Terry Rozier’s big night and a sloppy night that saw Sacramento turn the ball over a season-high 21 times sent the Kings to what many are calling the Beam Team’s worst loss of the 2023-24 season.

Sacramento (19-13) has had some head-scratching losses over the past week, starting with a blowout loss to the seven-win Portland Trail Blazers and now a loss to the Hornets on Tuesday in what was the first game of a back-to-back for the Kings.

Back-to-backs have been a nightmare for Sacramento this season, and things won’t get any easier on Wednesday night when the Orlando Magic (19-14) arrive at Golden 1 Center.

Orlando will also be playing its second game in as many days after falling short to the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center on Tuesday, but the young and athletic Magic will still pose plenty of problems for a Kings team that has struggled to defend teams with an excess of wing talent.

Can Sacramento win its first game on the second night of a back-to-back this season? Or will they cap off a rough 24 hours with another Beam-less night?

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Sacramento Kings vs. Orlando Magic Game Info

When: 7:00 PM PST

Where: Golden 1 Center – Sacramento, CA

TV: NBC Sports California

Radio: Sactown Sports 1140 AM – Coverage starts at 5:30 PM on Game Night

Line: Kings -4.5, O/U 232.5

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Magic coverage, beginning at 5:30 PM PST on Game Night before a 7:00 PM PST tip-off from downtown Sacramento.

Tickets: Click here

Back-to-Back Blues

Playing two games over two days has not fared well for the Sacramento Kings this season.

Entering play on Wednesday, Sacramento holds an 0-4 record on the second night of back-t0-backs. It’s not just the fact that the Kings have lost each back-to-back; it’s how they are losing them.

The Kings are being outscored by an average of 20.5 points on the second night of back-to-backs while shooting 42 percent from the field and 26 percent from three-point range.

Opponents have taken advantage of Sacramento’s tired legs, lack of energy, or whatever way you want to slice it by shooting 52 percent from the field and just under 40 percent from beyond the arc against a Kings’ defense that has surrendered 122.3 points per game in back-to-backs.

Hornets snap 11-game skid, beat sluggish Kings

At some point, something has to give for Sacramento.

For a team that handled adversity so well during the 2022-23 season, we have yet to see this group punch back convincingly.

Wednesday is another opportunity for the Kings to do just that, and they’ll have a chance to do so against an opponent that will also be playing its second game in as many nights.

No excuses.

Don’t Beat Yourself

Tuesday’s loss to Charlotte was a frustrating watch on Sacramento’s end because a lot of what went wrong was self-destruction.

The Kings tied a season-high with 21 turnovers, with Domantas Sabonis racking up a career-high with 11 turnovers of his own.

Scoring around the basket was a struggle, as Sacramento finished the night 21-of-39 (53%) in the restricted zone and 26-of-56 (46%) from the two-point range, 10 percent below their season average of 56 percent.

Outside of De’Aaron Fox’s usual fourth-quarter heroics (14 points of his 30 points came in the fourth), no other King contributed with more than four points in the final period.

With the entire team turning the ball over in excess, Sabonis struggling to run the offense, Fox acting as the lone scorer down the stretch, and players like Keegan Murray (four-of-12 shooting) and Malik Monk (two-of-seven) struggling, it was hard to see Sacramento winning a game like Tuesday’s.

The opponent doesn’t even matter when you factor in just how horrible the Kings played. Even though Charlotte has been one of the NBA’s worst teams thus far in the season, they are still an NBA team with a roster of players capable of making a difference, and that’s what happened.

There won’t be any time for Sacramento to dwell on what transpired last night, especially against a Magic team that has looked like one of the up-and-coming forces in the Eastern Conference.

If the Kings can police their mistakes, they will already be in a better position than they were against the Hornets.

What to Watch For

  • Orlando gets to the line a lot. The Magic are ranked second in the NBA in free-throw attempts per game (26.9) and fourth in makes–although they are 22nd in free-throw shooting percentage (77%).
  • The Magic are 2-4 on the second night of back-to-backs this season while being outscored by 10.2 points per game.
  • Three-point shooting isn’t a strength for Orlando. The Magic enter play ranked last in three-point makes, 29th in three-point attempts, and 29th in three-point field goal percentage (33%).
  • While the Magic don’t live and die by the three, they do like to attack the paint. Orlando is ranked second in points in the paint per game (55.9) and eighth in two-point field goal attempts per game.
  • Orlando’s defense is their calling card. While they are 23rd in points per game on offense, they hold a 111.2 defensive rating (3rd in NBA) while holding opponents to 111.0 points per game (6th in NBA).
  • One thing that could go in Sacramento’s favor is the Magic’s lack of three-point defense. Orlando’s defense has locked down the paint this season, but they have allowed opponents to shoot 36.3% from three this year. The Kings hold a 13-2 record when shooting over 36 percent from deep this season.
  • Orlando has allowed opponents to shoot 38% from three over their past 10 games.

Kings vs. Magic Injury Report

Sacramento

  • TBD (will post at 1:30 PM PST)

Orlando

  • TBD (will post at 1:30 PM PST)

Upcoming Schedule

  • Wednesday, January 3rd – Sacramento Kings vs. Orlando Magic – 7:00 PM PST
  • Friday, January 5th – Sacramento Kings vs. Toronto Raptors – 7:00 PM PST
  • Sunday, January 7th – Sacramento Kings vs. New Orleans Pelicans – 3:00 PM PST
  • Tuesday, January 9th – Sacramento Kings @ Detroit Pistons – 4:00 PM PST
  • Wednesday, January 10th – Sacramento Kings @ Charlotte Hornets – 4:00 PM PST

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