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Kings Return From India With Clearer Picture Of Rotation

(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Sacramento went 0-2 against the Indiana Pacers over the weekend in Mumbai, India

While the first two games of the NBA preseason didn’t end in the way that the Sacramento Kings had hoped, there were plenty of positives to take back home to the United States.

Friday, October 4 – Pacers 132, Kings 131

The Kings dropped an exciting game to the Indiana Pacers on Friday morning, falling 132-131 in overtime.

It was a thrilling game to say the least, as both teams put on a show in the first-ever NBA game to take place in India. Sacramento rolled out a starting lineup of De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes, Marvin Bagley III and Dewayne Dedmon to start things off on Friday, jumping out to a big lead early. Sacramento led by as much as 21 points and took a 13-point lead into the half.

Indiana would battle back, cutting the Kings lead to 115-111 with 2:32 remaining.

Harrison Barnes drilled a three-pointer to put Sacramento in front 118-111 with 1:22 remaining, seemingly putting the game out of reach. The Pacers had other plans, completing a 7-0 run over the last minute of action that was capped off by a TJ Warren three-pointer to tie the game at 118-118 with seven seconds remaining. De’Aaron Fox had his game-winning layup attempt blocked by Myles Turner at the buzzer, sending the game into overtime.

The Pacers jumped out to a quick five-point lead, leading 126-121 with just over three minutes remaining. Buddy Hield tied things up with 1:19 remaining before Warren put Indiana back in front by two points with under a minute remaining. De’Aaron Fox missed one of two free-throws with 32.6 seconds remaining, and a tip-in by Domantas Sabonis sealed a 132-131 win for the Pacers.

Hield finished with 28 points, while Barnes scored 21 point on four-of-seven shooting from the field and draining all 11 of his free-throw attempts. De’Aaron Fox scored 16 points to go along with eight assists, while Marvin Bagley III chipped in with 12 points and five rebounds.

Bagley started both games for the Kings and will likely be the team’s starting power forward this season. The 20 year-old started only four games last season, averaging 20.0 points and 11.5 rebounds per game over those four contests.

The Kings lost the game, but the rotation picture became a lot clearer for Luke Walton’s young squad.

Behind the starting unit of Fox, Hield, Barnes, Bagley and Dedmon, Sacramento rolled out a lineup of Cory Joseph, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Trevor Ariza, Richaun Holmes and Nemanja Bjelica. The bench was very productive, as Bogdanovic and Bjelica each scored 14 points while Holmes scored 10 points to go along with two blocks and two steals. The bench was a combined +46 in comparison to the starting unit, who was -51 on Friday.

Every starter except for Dedmon played over 30 minutes or more, while Ariza, Bogdanoivc, Holmes and Bjelica each played 20 minutes or more.

Sacramento picked up where they left off last season in regards to shooting the three-ball, drilling 15-of-36 attempts from downtown (41%). This year’s team will most likely live and die by the three-point shot, as Walton was quoted during training camp saying that he expects the Kings to take 35 threes per game.

Saturday, October 5 – Pacers 130, Kings 106

Sacramento rested several rotational pieces on Saturday, playing eight bench players during a 130-106 loss to the Pacers on the second night of a back-to-back.

Head coach Luke Walton opted to rest his rotation staples, sitting Trevor Ariza, Cory Joseph and Richaun Holmes while also limiting each starter to 28 minutes or less.

Buddy Hield scored 17 points to go along with five rebounds and five assists, and Marvin Bagley III scored 15 points while grabbing six boards. Yogi Ferrell also chipped in with 12 points over 22 minutes of action for the Kings.

Missing from the action in India was sophomore forward Harry Giles III, who stayed in Sacramento during the trip to tend to soreness in his knee. Many Kings fans panicked when the news broke, and Giles took to social media to let everyone know that he was fine via his Instagram story. The second-year big is expected to be an integral part of the Kings rotation in 2019-20 after opening eyes around the league with his explosive style of play.

It is unknown how the rotation will pan out once Giles returns, with Bjelica and Holmes also in the running for minutes in the second unit. Head coach Luke Walton will likely opt to keep the floor-spacing Bjelica in the rotation, which could mean that Holmes or Giles would be relegated to third-string. With all of the stock that the Kings have put into Giles for this season, it will be interesting to see how the 21 year-old develops in his second year of NBA action.

Giles is considered day-to-day and is questionable for Thursday’s game against the Phoenix Suns at Golden 1 Center.