Kings Fall Short To Heat In First Scrimmage Of NBA Restart
Sacramento erased a 17-point deficit before Miami took over in the fourth-quarter
Although it was just a scrimmage that held no weight in the standings, Sacramento Kings basketball returned for the first time in four months on Wednesday night.
The Kings opened up their scrimmage slate against the Miami Heat, losing a hard-fought contest by a final of 104-98 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports located in Orlando, Florida.
The Kings fell behind early due to the efficient three-point shooting by Miami, trailing 21-8 in the first quarter.
After a 12-4 run, Sacramento would battle back thanks to a strong first quarter from Nemanja Bjelica who scored five points in just over 60 seconds to get the Kings back in the game.
Miami would claim its biggest lead in the second quarter, leading 56-39 with 1:28 left in the half.
Buddy Hield, who started off 0-of-4 from the field, found his stroke in the second half to keep Sacramento in the contest. Hield would finish the game with 19 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the field over only 24 minutes.
In the fourth-quarter, Sacramento would keep it close, cutting the Miami lead to 102-98 with 24 seconds remaining.
Heat center Kelly Olynyk would put the game away after sinking two free-throws to give Miami a 104-98 lead, the eventual final score on Wednesday night.
Sacramento fouled Miami a game-high 26 times and turned the ball over 18 times in the losing effort.
“We had too many turnovers, we fouled too many times,” head coach Luke Walton said. “We’ll have to look at it and get better tomorrow.”
The star of Wednesday’s game was rookie DaQuan Jeffries, who scored 12 points off of the bench for the Kings.
Jeffries, who has spent most of this season with G-League affiliate Stockton, provided some big dunks to go along with two assists and a steal over 18 minutes of action. The 22 year-old held season averages of 16.6 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game while playing with the Stockton Kings.
Nemanja Bjelica finished with 13 points, while Kent Bazemore scored 11 points and grabbed four rebounds. Jabari Parker contributed nine points over 12 minutes in the loss.
Cory Joseph scored eight points and dished three assists over 20 minutes of action.
Sacramento was without the services of De’Aaron Fox (ankle), Marvin Bagley III (foot), Alex Len (COVID-19), Richaun Holmes (10-day Quarantine) and Harrison Barnes (COVID-19) against Miami.
Head coach Luke Walton shared optimism on Fox before the game, mentioning that the team expects the star guard to be ready for the season restart opener on July 31st.
Holmes is expected to be ready for the opener against San Antonio as well after spending 10 days in isolation. The 26 year-old accidentally crossed the NBA Bubble boundaries on July 10th when picking up a food delivery.
Sacramento will be back in action on Saturday when they face reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks.
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