SACRAMENTO KINGS

Preview: Kings seek first win over Bucks since 2016

Mar 12, 2024, 9:05 AM | Updated: 11:40 am

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 14: De'Aaron Fox #5 of the Sacramento Kings and Giannis Antetokounmp...

(Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)

(Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)

The last time the Sacramento Kings defeated the Milwaukee Bucks, Golden 1 Center was still being constructed.

On February 1, 2016, the Kings picked up a 111-104 win over Milwaukee at Sleep Train Arena behind a 32-point effort from Rudy Gay and 19 points from Rajon Rondo. Since that night, it’s been all downhill in this head-to-head series.

Sacramento’s active 15-game losing streak against the Bucks dates back to November 2016, meaning the Kings have never beaten Milwaukee at Golden 1 Center (0-7).

Tuesday’s matchup between these two teams comes at an unideal time for Sacramento (36-27), who are in the middle of a volatile Western Conference playoff race. The Kings enter play against Milwaukee sitting one game behind the sixth-seed Phoenix Suns and just 1.5 games ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers–the next team Sacramento will face just 24 hours after facing the Bucks.

On the heels of their latest disappointing loss to a sub-.500 opponent, the Kings will hope that tonight will be the night they finally get over the hump against a Milwaukee team that hasn’t lost to Sacramento since before De’Aaron Fox had played a game for the Kentucky Wildcats.

The Kings nearly knocked off the Bucks on January 14th, but Milwaukee erased a four-point deficit with less than 30 seconds remaining thanks to missed free throws from Sacramento and Damian Lillard’s buzzer-beater.

Can the Kings make up for their late-game mistakes when these teams meet for the final time this season?

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Sacramento Kings vs. Milwaukee Bucks Game Info

When: 7:00 PM PST

Where: Golden 1 Center – Sacramento, CA

TV: NBC Sports California

Radio: Sactown Sports 1140 AM – Pregame coverage starts at 5:30 PM PST on Game Night

Line: Bucks -1.5, O/U: 235.5

Tickets: Click Here

Rule of 35%

It’s no secret that the Sacramento Kings live and die by the three-point line.

The Kings couldn’t find the bottom of the net during Sunday’s loss against the Houston Rockets, finishing the loss six-for-32 (18%) from beyond the arc–the franchise’s worst showing from deep in a single game since December 23, 2015 when they went four-for-23 (17%) during a loss to Indiana.

Sacramento’s worst three-point showing in nearly a decade followed up a narrow win over the Western Conference-worst San Antonio Spurs that saw the Kings shoot 10-of-32 (31%) from three-point range.

When you look at Sacramento’s track record for the 2023-24 season, there is a clear line at the 35 percent mark. When the Kings shoot 35 percent or higher from deep, wins usually follow:

  • SAC when shooting ≥35% 3PT: 28-9 (.756)
  • SAC when shooting under 35% 3PT: 8-18 (.307)

Unfortunately for Sacramento, they will be facing a Bucks defense that enters play on Tuesday having held opponents to 35.7 percent shooting from long range this season (7th in the NBA). While Milwaukee’s three-point defense has been a strength this season, the Kings went 17-for-41 (41%) from deep on January 14th at Fiserv Forum.

Hitting the 35 percent mark puts Sacramento in a strong position to defeat a Bucks team that has allowed opponents to shoot 40 percent from three over the past five games.

The Other Side of the Three-Ball

The Kings’ three-point shooting has been a concern over the past couple of games, but Sacramento will also need to mind the other three-point line on Tuesday.

Milwaukee loves to let it fly behind sharpshooters Damian Lillard, Khris Middleton, and Malik Beasley, as the Bucks currently hold top-ten NBA rankings in made three-point field goals (4th), three-point field goal attempts (6th), and three-point field goal percentage (37%).

If the Kings’ rule of success is 35 percent from beyond the arc, Milwaukee’s is 40 percent. The Bucks are 20-3 (.869) when shooting 40 percent or better from long range and 22-20 (.523) when shooting under the mark.

Keeping Lillard in check will be key for Sacramento, as the eight-time All-Star enters play having converted 44 percent of his 9.6 attempts per game from three-point land since February 25th (eight games).

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Fox Bounce-Back Game?

De’Aaron Fox has been playing some effective basketball since the All-Star break, but the guard will hope to shake off a rough performance against the Rockets.

Fox finished Sunday’s loss to Houston with 18 points on seven-of-21 shooting from the field and two-of-nine from deep in a game that saw the All-NBA talent score just four points (1/9 FG) during the second half.

The 26-year-old has shown he possesses the ability to bounce back from disappointing performances, and the Kings will need Fox at his best against Lillard and the Bucks.

In his lone meeting with Milwaukee this season, Fox scored 32 points (12/26 FG), handed out five assists and swiped three steals in a one-point loss. Fox has topped the 30-point mark in his past two meetings with the Bucks, scoring 35 points (13/23 FG) when the teams met at Golden 1 Center last March.

Kings vs. Bucks Injury Report

Sacramento

  • Keegan Murray – QUESTIONABLE (left ankle sprain)
  • Sasha Vezenkov – OUT (right ankle sprain)
  • Mason Jones – OUT (G-League)
  • Jordan Ford – OUT (G-League)
  • Jalen Slawson – OUT (G-League)

Milwaukee

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo – PROBABLE (right knee tendinitis)
  • AJ Green – PROBABLE (left ankle sprain)
  • Khris Middleton – QUESTIONABLE (left ankle sprain)
  • MarJon Beauchamp – QUESTIONABLE (back spasms)
  • Ryan Rollins – OUT (G-League)
  • Chris Livingston – OUT (G-League)
  • TyTy Washington Jr. – OUT (G-League)

Upcoming Schedule

  • Tuesday, March 12th – Sacramento Kings vs. Milwaukee Bucks – 7:00 PM PST
  • Wednesday, March 13th – Sacramento Kings vs. Los Angeles Lakers – 7:00 PM PST
  • Saturday, March 16th – Sacramento Kings vs. New York Knicks – 7:00 PM PST
  • Monday, March 18th – Sacramento Kings vs. Memphis Grizzlies – 7:00 PM PST
  • Wednesday, March 20th – Sacramento Kings @ Toronto Raptors – 4:00 PM PST

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