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Richaun Holmes Shines, Sacramento Stays Winless

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

It hasn’t been a great start to the 2019-2020 season to say the least for the Sacramento Kings, who returned to the Golden 1 Center Monday night fresh off an embarrassing loss to the Utah Jazz. After emphasizing pace and effort in practice, the Kings showed significant improvement in their 101-94 loss to the Denver Nuggets.

“Very pleased with the effort we got tonight,” said Kings head coach Luke Walton, “That’s who we have to be. We have to compete on defense so that, when we have off shooting nights, like tonight, we still have a chance to win”.

Indeed, Sacramento’s defense looked much sharper Monday night, keeping the Kings in the game despite a bad shooting second half. Denver shot just 36.7% from the field, with their two stars, Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray shooting a combined 10/29 (34%) on the night.

“It’s a big step if we can continue to build on it. For us, that’s how we have to play every night. It’s good to feel that and experience that,” said Walton.

However, Denver’s defense stepped up too, forcing a bad shooting performance out of both Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic. The two managed a combined 16% (4/25) and appeared flustered all game. Hield didn’t get into the scoring column until the 7:36 mark in the fourth quarter and finished the game with just five points.

“Feels better but it still stings. If me or Bogi (had) shot the ball better we would’ve had a chance to win,” said Hield.

The major bright spot for the Kings tonight was big man Richaun Holmes, who brought much needed energy on both ends of the court. He finished one point shy of his career high in scoring, tallying 24 points and 12 rebounds off the bench.

“Pace is something I can definitely control. That’s my role with this team, to bring that energy and that pace,” said Holmes.

Walton added, “He was big. A dynamic roller to the rim and he is a passionate guy…we need that energy on the court”.

Once again, it was the 3rd quarter that killed the Kings, losing a six point halftime lead after being outscored 30-17.

“It feels like it’s starting to take on a little bit more now,” said Walton, “Like we are too worried about it. We gotta get back out there, get warm, and play our game”.

“It’s just a focus thing. We have to come out and just lock in fast. NBA teams come at you fast. We gotta lock in and we will do better,” added Holmes.

Sacramento’s three game home stand continues Wednesday night when the Kings welcome the Charlotte Hornets to the Golden 1 Center.