NBA

Leonard, George Too Much To Handle For Kings

Jan 15, 2021, 9:41 PM | Updated: 9:46 pm
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)...
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Sacramento gave up over 120 points for the seventh-straight game on Friday night

When Friday night’s game between the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Clippers reached the midway point, it looked like anyone’s game.

Sure, the Clippers held an eight-point lead, but the Kings looked poised in the first half with strong play from some of its key contributors.

Then, the third quarter happened.

Sacramento was bitten by the third quarter monster once again, being outscored 37-21 in the period en route to a forgetful 138-100 loss, the most lopsided defeat of the young season.

With the loss, the Kings fall to 5-8 on the season, the furthest below the .500 mark that they have been so far this year.

Sacramento–statistically the worst defensive team in the league–allowed 120-plus points for the seventh-consecutive game. The seven-game streak ties a franchise record for consecutive games allowing over 120 points.

Los Angeles extended its winning streak in Sacramento to 14 games, with the Kings’ last win at home against the Clippers coming in March of 2013.

Sacramento got off to a strong start, opening the game on an 11-3 run early in the first quarter.

All-Star duo Kawhi Leonard (27 points) and Paul George (26 points) would come to life in the second quarter, helping the Clippers gain control of the contest by the half with a 69-61 lead.

Things would only get worse from there, with nobody on the Sacramento roster able to answer the outburst put forward by Los Angeles.

Marvin Bagley III was the leading scorer for the Kings, finishing with 20 points (8-12 FG) and five rebounds over 31 minutes.

Bagley got a longer look tonight, topping the 30-minute mark while providing the offense with a boost and also playing solid defense. After a rough start to the season, the 21-year-old has looked solid on the defensive end over the past three games.

For the 79th consecutive game, Buddy Hield knocked down a three-point field goal, finishing with nine points on two-of-nine shooting from beyond the arc to go along with five assists.

With Hassan Whiteside out due to a sore hip, backup center Chimezie Metu got some extended minutes on Friday night at the backup center position.

The former USC Trojan scored eight of his career-high 10 points in the first half, finishing four-of-11 from the field to go along with eight rebounds over 18 minutes of action.

Richaun Holmes had another strong night from the field, converting eight of his 11 field goal attempts on Friday night to finish with 17 points.

The 27-year-old is leading the NBA in field-goal percentage this season (69.7%).

Harrison Barnes and De’Aaron Fox both contributed with 14 points in the blowout loss. Rookie guard Tyrese Haliburton chipped in with five points and five assists off of the bench.

The game got out of hand–fast. Sacramento let the Clippers go on a big run in the third an almost immediately looked as if they had waved the white flag for a surrender.

Sacramento faced a really, really good Clippers team on Friday night.

They were clearly outmatched. If the Kings want to win–or even compete–in these types of games, they will need to find a way to get their primary scorers (Fox, Hield, Bagley, Barnes) going in a larger capacity to have a chance.

Notably missing from action during the losing effort: forward Nemanja Bjelica.

Bjelica has not appeared in a game since the January 9th loss to Portland. With no appearances in the past week, it is safe to assume that general manager Monte McNair is looking to find the 32-year-old a new home.

The stretch-four can be a solid addition to a contender come this summer.

Coming Up

Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans will come into Golden 1 Center on Sunday night to play the final game of the Kings’ seven-game homestand.

Sacramento defeated the Pelicans twice during bubble play in August.

Be sure to tune in for all of the action right here on Sports 1140 KHTK, starting with pregame coverage at 5:30pm PST followed by tip-off at 6:00pm PST.

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Leonard, George Too Much To Handle For Kings