Kings battle back late, but fall short in loss to Pacers

Feb 3, 2023, 6:56 PM
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - FEBRUARY 03: Aaron Nesmith #23 of the Indiana Pacers knocks the ball away f...
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Playing without the services of De’Aaron Fox, the Sacramento Kings looked a few steps slower on Friday night in Indianapolis.

Sacramento battled back from a 19-point deficit to make things interesting late, but a brutal first half proved costly as the Indiana Pacers secured a 107-104 win over the Kings at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

With the loss, Sacramento (29-22) fell to 2-2 on this seven-game road trip as they set their sights on facing the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday.


Sacramento’s offensive woes continued during the first half as the Kings finished the first half in a 12-point hole after shooting 39 percent from the field and 26 percent from beyond the arc.

With Fox unavailable, the offense looked stagnant and out of whack as Sacramento continued to force the ball inside, resulting in eight turnovers. Indiana took advantage of the Kings’ struggles, as old friend Buddy Hield scored 13 points (three-of-four from deep), grabbed seven rebounds, and dished out six assists during the first half alone.

The Pacers were 10-for-21 (47%) from deep during the first 24 minutes of play as Hield and Aaron Nesmith (11 points) wreaked havoc on the perimeter.

If the Kings wanted to get out of Indianapolis with a win, the shots would have to start falling for a team that entered play having shot 30 percent from deep over the first three games of this seven-game road trip.

Indiana stretched its lead to 19 points during the third quarter, but Sacramento was able to control the damage by mounting a 14-5 run that put the game within reach heading into the fourth.

The Kings made things interesting down the closing stretch, even without Mr. Fourth Quarter himself in De’Aaron Fox on the floor. Thanks to some big baskets by Kevin Huerter, Harrison Barnes, and Terence Davis, Sacramento had the ball with 20 seconds to go and a chance to send the game into overtime.

Needing a triple to tie things up, Barnes’ three-point attempt came up empty, and Indiana controlled to board as the clock hit zero.

Turnovers plagued the Kings on Friday, as they finished the night with 19 turnovers. Indiana scored 23 points off of Sacramento’s errors, something that proved fatal in a one-possession game.

Although the Kings turned the page on a tough first half by outscoring the Pacers 56-47 during the second half, the damage had already been done thanks to Indiana’s red-hot shooting from deep over the first 24 minutes of play.

Three-point shooting has hurt Sacramento to begin this road trip, and although more shots fell on Friday (34%), this team still isn’t scoring like the NBA’s number one offense.

Entering play against Indiana, the Kings were averaging 119.5 points. During the four games on this road trip, however, they have scored 112 points per contest. Fox–who was out due to personal reasons–being out slowed Sacramento down (literally), but the Kings will need to find a way to survive as long as their star guard is away from the team.

Davion Mitchell was unplayable down the stretch, as head coach Mike Brown moved away from the struggling second-year guard and closed the game with Kevin Huerter, Malik Monk, and Terence Davis splitting time in the guard spots.

It’s one game, but the Kings need more from Mitchell, who is known for his tenacity on the defensive end, but Sacramento needs offensive contributions from the Baylor product.

Sabonis Returns

Domantas Sabonis made his return to Indiana for the first time since being dealt to Sacramento last February, and the big man delivered his NBA-leading 40th double-double of the season following a pregame standing ovation.

The All-Star center finished the night with 15 points (6/13 FG), 16 rebounds, and six assists over 38 minutes of action.



  • Harrison Barnes stepped up on the offensive end on Friday as ‘The Black Falcon’ scored 23 points (7/12 FG) over 35 minutes of play. Sacramento fell to 12-4 this season when Barnes scores 20+ points.
  • Kevin Huerter bounced back from a rough night in San Antonio to score 16 points (7/14 FG), while Terence Davis scored 15 points (3/7 from 3PT) over just 18 minutes.
  • Tyrese Haliburton finished the night with 10 points, nine assists, and three steals against his former team, while Buddy Hield led the Pacers with 21 points (5/9 from 3PT) and 10 rebounds during the win.

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

The seven-game road trip will continue for Sacramento as they will face a sliding New Orleans Pelicans team on Sunday evening.

After starting the season with a 23-12 record, the Pelicans have lost 15 of their past 18 games due to the loss of Zion Williamson (hamstring) and Brandon Ingram (toe). New Orleans will be playing on the second night of a back-to-back as they will face the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday.

Be sure to get all of your Kings vs. Pelicans coverage on Sactown Sports 1140 starting at 3:30 pm PST on Game Night before action tips off at 5:00 pm PST from Smoothie King Center.

Upcoming Sacramento Kings Schedule

Sunday, February 5th – Sacramento Kings @ New Orleans Pelicans – 5:00 PM PST

Monday, February 6th – Sacramento Kings @ Houston Rockets – 5:00 PM PST

Wednesday, February 8th – Sacramento Kings @ Houston Rockets – 5:00 PM PST

Friday, February 10th – Sacramento Kings vs. Dallas Mavericks – 7:00 PM PST

Saturday, February 11th – Sacramento Kings vs. Dallas Mavericks – 7:00 PM PST


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