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Sacramento Loses Ninth Straight In Hard Fought Game Against Suns

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For the second time this season, the Kings have lost nine-straight games

During a two-week stretch of play where most of their games have been hard to watch, the Sacramento Kings–to their credit–did show signs of life on Thursday night in Phoenix.

While the Sacramento offense looked dialed in, a talented Phoenix Suns team would give the Kings defense more than it could handle en route to their 40th win of the season, winning by a final of 122-114.

With the loss, the 2020-21 Kings become the first team in the Sacramento era (1985-2021) to hold two separate nine-game losing streaks over the span of one season.

Playing on the second night of a back-to-back against the number two-seeded team in the West, it was widely expected that the Kings would come out flat on Thursday night.

That would not be the case, however, as the Kings would nearly match Phoenix’s first half scoring output after a strong start to the night on the offensive end.

Sacramento would have four players (Harrison Bares, De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Delon Wright) in double-figures at the half, with Barnes’ 14 points leading the way to keep the Kings close.

Over the first two quarters of action, Barnes and the rest of his teammates would shoot 57-percent from the field and 55-percent from three-point range to trail the Suns 67-65 at the break.

Phoenix, who shot a blistering 62-percent from the field and 52-percent from three-point range in the first half, would be kept at bay by the Kings defense in the third quarter, with the Suns only holding a one-point lead heading into the fourth.

Sacramento would take the lead early in the fourth, but Deandre Ayton (26 points, 11 rebounds) Devin Booker (23 points) and Chris Paul (13 points, 11 assists) would not be denied to hold off the Kings late for the win.

When the dust settled at the end of the night, the Kings actually held Phoenix to the same field goal percentage (55%) and a lower three-point field goal percentage (36% to Sacramento’s 46%), but the Suns would score 21 points off of 15 turnovers to make up the difference.

After losing on Thursday, Sacramento (22-34) improved their NBA Draft lottery position, falling into a tie for the eighth-worst record in the NBA with 16 games remaining in the season.

Rounding out the box score

De’Aaron Fox did De’Aaron Fox things once again, scoring a game-high 27 points on 11-of-21 shooting from the field to go along with three rebounds and eight assists.

Fox was involved with a couple of questionable plays, most notably during a play with just over four minutes remaining in the third quarter when the 23-year-old appeared to have take a solid blow to the face from Suns forward Jae Crowder.

There would not be a call on the play, as Fox–who has been vocal as of late regarding his frustrations with NBA officials–could only shake off the hit and continue on with his evening.

Buddy Hield continued his stretch of solid play, scoring 24 points on eight-of-13 shooting from the field and five-of-10 shooting from the three-point line.

Hield has scored 18 points or more in five of his last six contests.

After a strong first half that saw him lead all Kings scorers with 14 points, Harrison Barnes would go scoreless in the second half.

Reserve guard Delon Wright had a very solid showing for Sacramento on Thursday night.

The recently acquired guard would finish with 16 points, four rebounds, four assists and a steal over 28 minutes of playing time. Wright had seen sporadic amounts of playing time over the last five contests, but the veteran guard was back in his normal reserve role in Phoenix.

Hassan Whiteside posted his third double-double of the season, scoring 11 points to go along with 10 rebounds and a blocked shot in an expanded role due to Richaun Holmes’ absence.

Rookie guard Tyrese Haliburton contributed with 12 points on five-of-seven shooting–including two-of-three from three-point range–while swiping two steals over 24 minutes.

Injury Updates

After being absent from team activities for the past four weeks, Marvin Bagley III rejoined his teammates on Thursday in Phoenix.

Luke Walton shared during his pregame media session that the 21-year old is “not close” to a return to the floor and still has his hand in a splint. Bagley suffered a fractured fourth metacarpal in his left hand during March 15th’s game against Charlotte.

With just a little over one month and 16 games remaining in the season, it’s possible that the Kings hold Bagley out for the final stretch.

Coming Up

Sacramento will travel to Dallas on Sunday for a matchup with Luka Doncic and the Mavericks.

Last season, the Mavs took three out of the four games between the two teams, with the most recent being a 114-110 win in overtime during play in the NBA Bubble last August.

You can get all of your Kings vs Mavericks action right here on Sports 1140 KHTK, with pregame coverage beginning at 4:00pm PST prior to a 4:30pm PST tip-off from Dallas.

Upcoming Sacramento Kings Schedule

  • April 18 @ Dallas Mavericks
  • April 20 vs Minnesota Timberwolves
  • April 21 vs Minnesota Timberwolves
  • April 25 @ Golden State
  • April 26 vs Dallas