The Bench Game: Bagley, Jones Come Up Big As Kings Snap Losing Skid
Sacramento used a big fourth quarter from Marvin Bagley III & the bench to defeat Portland on Wednesday night
Over the course of a long NBA season, you never know when your name is going to be called in a big situation.
Marvin Bagley III and Damian Jones had only appeared in a handful of games this season, but the Sacramento Kings rode the solid play of their two bench bigs down the closing stretch of Wednesday night’s win to snap their four-game losing streak with a 125-121 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Sacramento bench combined for 61 points to boost themselves to a much-needed win in front of a loud, engaged crowd at Golden 1 Center.
The Kings offense looked much different from what we saw during Monday night’s loss to Philadelphia, with Alvin Gentry’s team running offensive sets and getting plenty of open looks in the first quarter.
Sacramento used plenty of ball-movement to build a 22-12 lead with 7:23 remaining in the quarter, but the offense sputtered for the rest of the period and Portland took complete advantage. The Blazers ended the first with a 24-10 run of their own to take a four-point lead into the second.
De’Aaron Fox was cooking in the first half, posting a game-high 19 points on seven-of-10 from the field over 17 minutes to lead all scorers in the early going.
Alex Len did a great job of filling in for the injured Richaun Holmes, posting 12 points on five-of-six shooting in the first half while Moe Harkless added 10 points to keep the Blazers close as they trailed 71-69 heading into the third.
Sacramento’s defense was overly aggressive to begin the third, as Alex Len quickly picked up his third and fourth fouls and had to exit the game with 10 minutes remaining in the period. The Kings committed five team fouls in the first two minutes and thirty seconds of play, putting Portland in the bonus for a majority of the quarter.
The Blazers returned the favor by putting the Kings at the line for the remainder of the quarter after picking up their fifth team foul with 7:21 remaining in the period in what was a physical start to the half. An incident between Moe Harkless and Jusuf Nurkic occurred around the eight-minute mark, with both players needing to be separated and eventually being assessed technical fouls.
Nurkic picked up his fourth foul with 6:22 remaining in the third, sidelining both starting centers due to foul trouble.
The Kings defense–anchored by a valiant effort from center Damian Jones–hunkered down and picked up some impressive stops to end the third while Harrison Barnes and the offense gave Sacramento a slight 93-92 edge as play entered the fourth quarter.
Jones was getting it done on both ends during what was an impressive showcase from the young big.
An and-one from the 26-year-old tied things up at 100-100 with less than eight minutes to play. Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley III drilled back-to-back triples to give Sacramento a 106-100 advantage with less than six minutes remaining, but drama struck shortly after as De’Aaron Fox was ejected after picking up a quick couple of technical fouls.
Hield’s triple to give the Kings a 112-108 lead with 3:30 left was quickly erased by a three-point-play from Jusuf Nurkic to set the stage for a wild ending.
Golden 1 Center was as loud as it has been this season following a rim-rattling dunk from Jones and a clutch mid-range jumper from Davion Mitchell to give the Kings a 118-113 lead with just over 90 seconds remaining. As if G1C wasn’t loud enough already, a game-icing triple from Bagley almost blew the lid off of the building as Sacramento snapped its four-game losing-streak in exciting fashion.
It was a much-needed moment for both Bagley and the Kings–and to be honest, a game that was needed even more for the Sacramento fanbase.
From the tip, the Kings played with a sense of urgency and didn’t let Portland take control of the game. Six point leads did not snowball to large double-digits deficits, a step in the right direction for this team with plenty of season left to be played.
It wasn’t a fix-all, but Wednesday night was an early Christmas gift for fans in attendance on the eve of Thanksgiving.
Big Night For The Bench
On a night the Kings scored 61 bench points, it was Marvin Bagley III’s night.
Bagley scored a season-high 10 points (four-of-six from the field) and pulled down eight rebounds over 19 minutes, playing a huge role during the closing stretch as the young forward played all 12 minutes in the fourth.
Alongside Bagley in the post was Damian Jones who was called on after Alex Len got into foul trouble during the third quarter. Jones finished with nine points, five rebounds and two assists over 18 minutes while providing the Kings defense with an imposing figure in the paint.
Buddy Hield knocked down five of his 11 three-point attempts, finishing with a team-high 22 points in the win.
Rookie guard Davion Mitchell provided clutch offense and defense in the fourth, finishing with 16 points on six-of-11 shooting from the field and three assists over 30 minutes.
De’Aaron Fox scored 21 points (eight-of-13 shooting) over 27 minutes before being ejected in the fourth quarter, his second-straight game with 20 points or more.
Kings center Richaun Holmes was poked in the eye during the fourth quarter of Monday’s game against Philadelphia.
Although the 28-year-old re-entered the game and told the media he was fine during postgame availability, head coach Alvin Gentry shared that Holmes would be unavailable prior to Wednesday night’s contest.
Holmes is considered day-to-day moving forward.
Harrison Barnes exited the game during the fourth quarter due to a right foot injury.
The Kings will enjoy Thanksgiving day at home before hitting the road for a short two-game trip beginning on Friday night against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Sacramento claimed the season-series in 2020-21 after taking two-of-three from Los Angeles, the most recent being an impressive 110-106 win at STAPLES Center back on April 30th.
The Kings were without De’Aaron Fox and Harrison Barnes, but were able to defeat a fully-healthy Lakers team behind a 23-points, 10-assist double-double from Tyrese Haliburton.
You can find all of your Kings vs Lakers coverage right here on Sports 1140 KHTK beginning at 6:00pm PST on Game Night prior to a 7:30pm PST tip-off from Los Angeles.
Upcoming Sacramento Kings Schedule
- November 26th @ Los Angeles Lakers
- November 28th @ Memphis Grizzlies
- November 30th vs Los Angeles Lakers
- December 1st @ Los Angeles Clippers
- December 4th vs Los Angeles Clippers