Miracle In Houston: Bjelica Drills Game Winner As Time Expires In Epic Thriller
With only one second remaining, Nemanja Bjelica sent Sacramento home the best way possible
Houston guard and former MVP Russell Westbrook delivered a go-ahead basket to seemingly win the game and send the Sacramento Kings home in heartbreaking fashion.
Down 118-116 with one second remaining, Sacramento had one last chance.
Out of the timeout, Nemanja Bjelica was left open for a 33-foot heave at the buzzer and let it fly. What followed was pandemonium as the shot fell through for a stunning 119-118 win for the Sacramento Kings, beating the Houston Rockets to seal the win in their second game of a back-to-back.
For the second game in a row, Bjelica was the hero for Sacramento. Following a career-high 30-point showing on Sunday night in Dallas, the stretch-four was at it again on Monday in Houston.
Bjelica finished with 17 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals, capped off by a buzzer-beater that Kings fans will remember for a long time. With the win, Sacramento brings their record to 10-13 on the season and finishes their four-game road-trip with a 2-2 record.
Leading up to the heroics of Bjelica, some other Kings stepped up with big shots of their own.
In a game that was back and forth for the entirety of regulation, Harrison Barnes put the Kings up 113-110 with just over a minute remaining. Westbrook and former Kings guard Ben McLemore would answer, hitting back-to-back three pointers to give the Rockets a 116-113 lead with 22.7 seconds remaining.
After Bogdan Bogdanovic grabbed an offensive rebound, Buddy Hield got another chance and hit his sixth three-pointer of the game with 8.4 seconds remaining to tie things up at 116-116. Westbrook used his speed to beat the Kings down the floor for a coast-to-coast lay-in to give his Rockets a two-point lead with one second on the clock.
Houston forward PJ Tucker was sagging off of Bjelica on the final play, who set a screen for Bogdanovic before popping out for an open look. Cory Joseph hit Bjelica for a deep three-point attempt that would end up giving the Kings the win.
The Kings completed their back-to-back on an impressive not, beating a strong Rockets team less than 24 hours after defeating a Dallas Mavericks team that had won 11 of its last 12 games.
Hield scored 26 points, his eighth-straight game scoring 20-points or more. Harrison Barnes added 19 points and eight rebounds, while Richaun Holmes added 16 points and eight rebounds. Bogdan Bogdanovic chipped in with 13 points off of the bench fro Sacramento.
Cory Joseph kept the Kings in the game on Monday night, playing gritty defense on NBA leading scorer James Harden to keep the game within striking distance for Sacramento.
Joseph scored 14 points on three-of-five from downtown, tying his season-high in made three-pointers. What was more valuable than his scoring, was his defense on Harden. The former MVP went eight-for-19 from the field in the loss, including three-of-10 from beyond the three-point arc.
The Kings will finally return back home to Golden 1 Center on Wednesday night to face Chris Paul and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Sacramento forward Marvin Bagley III, who was cleared to resume full-contact basketball activities over the weekend, could make his return to the floor against the Thunder. Bagley has missed the last 22 games after breaking his right thumb in the season opener on October 23.
Tune in to Sports 1140 KHTK for all the action, starting with pregame coverage at 6:30pm with tip-off following at 7:00pm.