SACRAMENTO KINGS

Sacramento watches 21-point lead slip away in loss to 76ers

Jan 21, 2023, 10:20 PM
SACRAMENTO, CA - DECEMBER 28: Malik Monk #0 of the Sacramento Kings dribbles the ball against the D...
(Photo by Kavin Mistry/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kavin Mistry/Getty Images)

As fun as the first half was for the Sacramento Kings on Saturday night, the second half wouldn’t be nearly as enjoyable.

Sacramento led by as many as 21 points during the first half before the Philadelphia 76ers completely took over in the second half, as the Kings dropped a 129-127 heartbreaker in front of another sold-out crowd at Golden 1 Center.

For the first time in two weeks, the Kings have lost a game as they saw a six-game winning streak come to a close against Philadelphia.

Not only did Sacramento see its win streak come to a close, but they also saw their drought against the 76ers extend to nine games. The Kings haven’t beaten Philadelphia since February 2, 2019.

After establishing a new season-high for points scored in a first half (73), it looked as if Sacramento was on cruise control to a seventh-straight win.

Facing a 76ers team that was without All-Stars Joel Embiid and James Harden, the Kings were in the driver’s seat entering the second half–but that’s where the fun ended for Sacramento.

Philadelphia outscored the Kings 38-22 during the third quarter while shooting 61 percent from the field. The red-hot Sacramento offense was slowed to just 43 percent shooting during the third as the 76ers secured its first lead of the game–a six-point advantage heading into the final period.

If the Kings were going to pull off a comeback, they would need to start holding their own in the paint and on the glass, but too much damage had already been done.

Although De’Aaron Fox put on another ‘Fourth Quarter Fox’ performance by scoring 14 of his 31 points during the fourth quarter, Sacramento struggled to create consecutive stops down the stretch and squandered a game-tying opportunity during the closing seconds.

Down three with five seconds to go, Harrison Barnes drew a foul call while attempting a game-tying triple, giving the forward an opportunity to go to the line and tie things up at 129-129. Instead, disaster struck when Barnes missed the first free-throw attempt, meaning the Kings would need a tip-in on an intentional miss on the final shot attempt.

The attempt came up empty, and Sacramento (26-19) suffered a tough loss on the second night of a back-to-back.

“Today was a step back, but you have to try and let this go and go on to the next one,” Fox said of the loss. “We have to be more consistent with defensive rotations.”

Defense and keeping the 76ers off the boards was the driving force behind the loss, as the 76ers finished the night outscoring the Kings 70-56 in the paint while holding a 45-29 advantage on the glass.

With Embiid out of action, that can’t happen.

Tyrese Maxey acted as a thorn in Sacramento’s side on Saturday as the guard finished the night with a game-high 32 points and six assists during the win. Philadelphia had six players finish the game with 10+ points as the Kings defense struggled to contain an efficient 76ers offense.

Sacramento was on the second night of a back-to-back, but that isn’t a valid excuse for this team. They have proven how good of a team they are, but Saturday’s game was a reminder that they still have a lot of work to do regarding defensive consistency.

“Give them credit. They came in and took the game from us,” Kings head coach Mike Brown said following the losing effort. “We didn’t do a great job of covering the dribble-drive. We got our behinds kicked physically. We didn’t do a great job on the glass. We scored 73 points in the first half, but we had to do the dirty things time after time. We have to do it. We have to get engaged [defensively].”

It’s one loss on the heels of a six-game winning streak, but the Kings need to get greedy as they hope to remain in a strong playoff position in a bunched-up Western Conference.

Four games separate Sacramento from the third seed in the West from the 11th seed, meaning that bouncing back from a loss like Saturday’s is important. That might be tough with the Memphis Grizzlies (31-14) coming into town on Monday, but the Kings have proven that they can compete with any team in the NBA before.

Time to prove that they can bounce back.

Notes

  • De’Aaron Fox scored 31 points on 11/19 shooting during the loss.
  • Domantas Sabonis posted his 22nd-straight double-double (16 points, 9 rebounds, 10 assists).
  • Harrison Barnes scored 27 points on 8/13 shooting from the field over 37 minutes.
  • All five of Sacramento’s starters finished the night in double-figures. The Kings are 13-4 this season when all five starters score 10+ points.
  • Sacramento’s bench continued to struggle on Saturday: 18 PTS | 8/21 FG (38%)
  • Malik Monk‘s struggles continued during the loss: 9 PTS | 3/10 FG | 1/5 3PT. The guard is shooting 1/14 from three-point land over the past four games.

Injury Updates

Chimezie Metu exited Saturday’s game with a left leg injury during the second quarter and did not return to the game.

Metu left the floor under his own power, but will undergo tests to determine the severity of his injury.

Sacramento Kings Postgame Show

Check out our Sactown Sports Kings Recap Show on the Sactown Sports 1140 YouTube channel!

Sactown Sports Kings Recap Shows will be happening all season long, immediately following each Kings game!

Next Game

Sacramento will continue a four-game home stand on Monday night when they face the dangerous Memphis Grizzlies at Golden 1 Center.

Be sure to get all of your Kings vs. Grizzlies coverage on Sactown Sports 1140 starting at 6:00 pm PST on Game Night before action tips off at 7:30 pm PST from downtown Sacramento.

Upcoming Sacramento Kings Schedule

Monday, January 23rd – Sacramento Kings vs. Memphis Grizzlies – 7:00 PM PST

Wednesday, January 25th – Sacramento Kings vs. Toronto Raptors – 7:00 PM PST

Saturday, January 28th – Sacramento Kings @ Minnesota Timberwolves – 5:00 PM PST

Monday, January 30th – Sacramento Kings @ Minnesota Timberwolves – 5:00 PM PST

Wednesday, February 1st – Sacramento Kings @ Indiana Pacers – 5:00 PM PST

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