Sacramento Burned By Heat In Fifth-Straight Loss
DaQuan Jeffries’ career-night would not be enough for an imploding Kings team on Thursday night
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sacramento Kings have not permitted fans to enter the Golden 1 Center so far this season.
If Kings fans were in the building for Thursday night’s game against the Miami Heat, it’s pretty safe to assume that the boo-birds would be out in full force.
After a 7-1 stretch of play that pulled their record to 12-11, the Kings lost their fifth-straight game on Thursday night, losing by a final of 118-110 to Jimmy Butler and the Heat.
With the loss, Sacramento falls to 12-16 on the season.
All-Star duo Butler (13 points, 10 rebounds & 13 assists) and center Bam Adebayo (16 points, 12 rebounds & 10 assists) paced Miami to a wire-to-wire win over Sacramento.
It is the first time in franchise history that the Kings have allowed two opposing players to each record triple-doubles in the same game
“We have to be much better. We have to get back to how we were playing. We really miss some of our guys, but we have to be tougher,” Kings head coach Luke Walton told the media postgame.
Kings forward Marvin Bagley III looked sharp in his second game back from nursing a sore calf.
Bagley, who was on a minutes restriction, posted his seventh double-double of the season over only 24 minutes of play. The third-year forward scored 19 points (seven-of-12 shooting from the field) and grabbed 10 rebounds during the loss.
“I’m feeling great. The minutes restriction is out of my control. My body feels good,” Bagley said after the game.
Due to the minutes restriction, Bagley did not see the floor during the final period.
Sacramento was trailing by 23 points during the third quarter until head coach Luke Walton opted to sub in forward DaQuan Jeffries midway through the period.
Jeffries would go on a run of his own, scoring 11 points in the period to bring the Kings within 10 points heading into the fourth.
The 23-year-old would finish with a career-high 17 points on a blistering five-for-five from the three-point line. Jeffries almost single-handedly kept the Kings within 15 points for most of the fourth quarter, but Miami would not falter down the stretch to claim a much needed win.
Nemanja Bjelica started for the first time this season due to both Harrison Barnes (foot) and Richaun Holmes (knee) sitting out of action on Thursday night.
The 32-year-old scored a team-high 25 points on 11-of-21 shooting from the field to go along with eight rebounds and three assists over 35 minutes.
Bjelica’s name has been mentioned around the league as the NBA Trade Deadline approaches, with just over a month until the Kings must make a decision on what to do with the veteran forward.
Due to injuries within the Sacramento rotation, Bjelica has benefited from an extended look and has also received an opportunity to showcase his talents for other teams as the deadline gets closer.
Since being inserted back into the rotation four games ago, Bjelica holds averages of 12.2 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game on 54-percent shooting from the field.
“I work my ass off. That’s what everybody is supposed to do. I don’t want to make any excuses. I’m just trying to play the right way and trying to win when I am on the court,” Bjelica said postgame.
“I don’t need to prove anything to anybody,” the veteran forward said of the recent trade talk. “This is my sixth year in the league. Sometimes you need to play better, but the most important thing is to be ready. It is what it is. You just need to do your job.”
The sharpshooting big-man’s contract is set to expire at the end of the season.
De’Aaron Fox was quiet offensively, scoring 11 points on five-of-12 shooting.
Although the star guard was not showing his usual offensive aggression on Thursday, he did act as a floor general, posting his sixth double-double of the season after dishing out 10 assists.
Get Well Soon
For the first time since October 24, 2018, forward Harrison Barnes was out of action due to injury.
The veteran forward suffered a foot-strain during Sunday night’s loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. Barnes, who played in Monday’s game against Brooklyn, was visibly affected by the injury, only attempting eight field-goal attempts over 28 minutes–the least amount of action the 28-year-old had seen so far this season.
Barnes had appeared in 176-straight games dating back to 2018.
Head coach Luke Walton stated pregame that ‘Black Falcon’ is not expected to miss much time due to the ailment, with both Barnes and center Richaun Holmes (knee soreness) expected back sometime during the Kings’ upcoming five-game road-trip.
Sacramento will hit the road for a five-game road trip, starting with Saturday afternoon when they face Zach LaVine and the Chicago Bulls.
In their only meeting this season, the Kings defeated the Bulls at Golden 1 Center by a final of 128-124 back on January 6th. Tyrese Haliburton acted as the hero that night, scoring 15 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter to lead Sacramento to victory.
Be sure to tune in for all of the action right here on Sports 1140 KHTK, starting with pregame coverage at 5:30pm PST followed by tip-off at 6:00pm PST.
Upcoming Kings Schedule
- 2/20: @ Chicago Bulls
- 2/21: @ Milwaukee Bucks
- 2/23: @ Brooklyn Nets
- 2/25: @ New York Knicks
- 2/26: @ Detroit Pistons