Kings Shoot Lights Out, Defeat Miami
After three days off, including the always-eventful NBA Trade Deadline, the Sacramento Kings returned to action on Friday night, hosting the Miami Heat. Sacramento blew a comfortable lead and fell to the Heat in overtime last month, but made up for that mistake tonight with a 105-97 victory.
“Part of our focus over the last couple of days at practice has been getting more (deflections),” said Kings head coach Luke Walton. “You force 20 turnovers for 31 (points), you are doing something right on defense.”
Sacramento set the tone early, forcing seven Heat turnovers in just the first quarter. The Miami turnovers, combined with the Kings’ 19 three-pointers, led to the victory. Sacramento led by as much as 17 points.
Bogdan Bogdanovic’s 23 points and six three-pointers led the Kings, with Buddy Hield’s 21 points off the bench right behind him. Since swapping both guards’ roles, moving Hield to the bench and Bogdanovic to the starting lineup, both are thriving and the Kings are 5-2 in seven games.
Nemanja Bjelica was crucial in the Kings victory, breaking apart the Miami zone defense with his versatile high-post play. Bjelica, normally a shoot-first forward, tied his career high in assists with eight. He also provided his normal scoring output, tallying 15 points while shooting five of six from beyond the arc.
De’Aaron Fox struggled from the free-throw line, but made up for it with a 16 point, eight assist performance. Sacramento finished with 29 total assists.
The Kings are back in action tomorrow night, welcoming in the San Antonio Spurs, who currently sit in 10th place in the West with 22 wins. Sacramento is now 20-31 on the season.