Barnes, Fox Pace Kings To Much Needed Win Over Indiana
Sacramento snapped its two-game skid with a complete effort against the Pacers
After losing four of their last five games, the Sacramento Kings had some frustrations that needed to be released coming into Monday’s game.
De’Aaron Fox’s exclamatory finish to put the game away was the exact kind of release that the team needed.
Fox’s highlight-reel dunk and a huge night from Harrison Barnes helped aid the Kings to a 127-122 win over the Indiana Pacers on Monday night at Golden 1 Center.
Sacramento (5-6) snapped a two-game losing streak with the win.
Leading by four with just over 30 seconds remaining, Fox made his move as the shot-clock was winding down, moving off the dribble straight at the rack. Pacers guard Malcom Brogdon made a business decision, stepping aside to let the Kings guard punch the ball through to seal the win for Sacramento.
“I knew I could get anywhere I wanted…I had a lane so I took it,” the franchise guard said postgame.
Fox finished with 21 points, five rebounds and nine assists over 38 minutes in the win after struggling against the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday. The speedy guard has topped the 20-point mark in seven of the 11 games played so far this season.
In every single game this season, it seems like veteran forward Harrison Barnes has been a silver lining–win or lose.
Monday night would be no different, with Barnes posting 30 points on 10-of-14 shooting, the highest scoring game by any Kings player this season. Along with his superb scoring night, the 28-year-old grabbed eight boards in the win.
“He’s playing at a very high level out there this season,” head coach Luke Walton said. “He looks explosive. He looks young. He looks spry. He’s shooting the ball well, he’s getting to the rim.”
Barnes is averaging a career-high in rebounds this season (6.9) while acting as a go-to scoring effort as well for this Kings team (17.9 points per game).
After going through pregame workouts, Buddy Hield and Richaun Holmes were both active on Monday night.
Both players had suffered ankle injuries over the weekend, but it seems as if the off-day on Sunday came at the right time. Luke Walton rolled out the same starting lineup that he has used in 10 of 11 games this season, starting Hield and Holmes with De’Aaron Fox, Harrison Barnes and Marvin Bagley III.
Holmes was missed during Saturday night’s loss to Portland, leaving the Kings without their anchor in the paint.
The 6’10 big man made his presence known against Indiana, collecting a career-high six blocked shots to go along with a double-double performance of 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Holmes battled foul trouble for most of the night, but picked up a massive game-saving block in the closing minutes to help Sacramento stay in front.
“Tonight is how we are supposed to play. This has to be the standard,” Holmes said postgame. “We wanted to come out there with the right mindset, especially for the full 48 minutes.”
Holmes, a fan-favorite among the Kings community, has statistically been one of the best centers in the entire NBA this season. The 27-year-old is currently second in the league in field-goal percentage (69-percent).
Saturday night was a much-needed solid performance by Buddy Hield, who converted six of his 11 three-point attempts in the win–including a huge three-point field goal with just over a minute remaining to give the Kings a 121-117 lead.
“Today was a good day to come out there and prove everybody wrong,” Hield said postgame. “My percentage doesn’t look good as of now but it’s a long season. It’s going to come.”
The former Oklahoma standout had struggled over his previous four games, only knocking down 27-percent of his three-point attempts.
‘Buddy Buckets’ finished with 18 points against the Pacers, his highest scoring output since he scored 19 points against the Houston Rockets on New Year’s Eve.
Getting Hield back into a grove is crucial for the success of this team. Last year’s three-point champion is too talented to continue to struggle. Like we saw on Monday, if Buddy keeps shooting, the shots will eventually fall.
Rookie guard Tyrese Haliburton slid back into a reserve role after stating in Holmes’ place on Saturday, finishing with 12 points (four-of-eight from the field), three rebounds and four assists.
Walton opted to finish out the game with–in my opinion–the team’s best lineup: Fox, Haliburton, Hield, Barnes and Holmes.
Sacramento was able to make some big plays happen late, thanks to the ball-movement from the rookie and primary floor general Fox. The Kings did a good job of sharing the basketball against Indiana, dishing out 29 assists while turning the ball over 18 times.
“Wins like this don’t come from just one individual,” Fox said after the game. “It comes from everybody doing what they need to do and acting as a team and I think tonight was a good win.”
Marvin Bagley III had a quiet night offensively, scoring eight points to go with his seven rebounds over 23 minutes.
In another solid effort off of the bench, Glenn Robinson III scored seven points over 21 minutes of action. Hassan Whiteside contributed with eight in a limited 10-minute appearance.
After a 6-0 run by Indiana to open up the game, the Kings settled down and played solid basketball.
After a rough five-game stretch, the team looked like the squad that jumped out to a 3-1 record to begin the season. The offense was fluid, the defensive efforts from Holmes and Fox were notable and Harrison Barnes’ big night was exactly what the doctor ordered.
Luke Walton declared Monday’s effort as the best win of the season for the young team.
With more tough opponents coming up this week, seeing the Kings put together a solid performance was a refreshing sight.
Sacramento will get a rematch with the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center.
CJ McCollum and the Blazers thrashed the Kings on Saturday night, winning by a final of 125-99. McCollum finished with a game-high 37 points, while All-Star Damian Lillard only scored 17 points on five-of-16 shooting from the field.
Be sure to tune in for all of the action right here on Sports 1140 KHTK, starting with pregame coverage at 6:30pm PST followed by tip-off at 7:00pm PST.