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SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 26: De'Aaron Fox #5 of the Sacramento Kings talks to referee Cheryl Flores #91 during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies at Golden 1 Center on December 26, 2021 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
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Another One: Sacramento Drops Fifth-Straight Game

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

De’Aaron Fox’s game-winning attempt wouldn’t fall as the Kings lost another heartbreaker on Monday night

Trailing by 10 points with less than three minutes to go on Monday night, the Sacramento Kings put together some impressive stops to get themselves back into the game.

After holding the Cleveland scoreless for nearly three minutes, the Kings went on a 9-0 run to cut the deficit to one point and gave themselves a chance to steal a win from a talented Cavaliers team.

Instead, more heartbreak would find Sacramento as De’Aaron Fox’s game-winning attempt at the horn wouldn’t fall as Cleveland held on for a 109-108 win at Golden 1 Center.

With the loss, Sacramento (16-27) has lost five-straight games as the team’s longest losing-streak of the season continues to snowball.

Cleveland used its assortment of bigs to control the glass in the first quarter as they nearly doubled up the Kings in rebounds (18-11). Center Jarrett Allen had nine rebounds over eight minutes in the opening quarter.

The Cavs took a 10-point lead with just under two minutes to go in the first, but Chimezie Metu knocked down a couple of long-balls to bring Sacramento to within three points before Cedi Osman’s buzzer-beating triple gave Cleveland a 28-22 lead heading into the second period.

Thanks to strong play from Harrison Barnes and rookie center Neemias Queta, Sacramento was able to erase a 41-29 deficit with a 13-4 run to make it 45-42 with 4:07 until the half.

Queta scored the first points of his NBA career during the first quarter and finished the half with six points and four boards over 13 minutes, but the Cavs would go on to stretch its lead back into double-digits as the Kings trailed 62-49 at the break.

Sacramento quickly used a 6-0 run to cut Cleveland’s lead to just seven points, but the Cavs would go on to stretch their lead to 75-63 with 6:18 remaining in the third quarter.

De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield energized an 8-0 run to bring the Kings to within four points as Hield’s back-to-back triples forced the Cavaliers to call a timeout. Hield’s nine points in the period were enough to help Sacramento bring the game within reach as Cleveland’s 13-point lead at the beginning of the quarter shrunk to 84-79 entering the fourth.

Tyrese Haliburton’s and-one bucket would give Sacramento its first lead since the opening moments of Monday’s game as the Kings took an 87-85 lead with a little more than nine minutes to go. Haliburton and Hield converted back-to-back triples to increase the lead to 94-89 before Cleveland punched right back with five-consecutive points of their own to even things up at 94-94 with 6:45 on the clock.

In unsurprising fashion, the Kings defense would let Cleveland regain control as the Cavs mounted a six-point lead with less than four minutes remaining, a lead that they would not give up over the final minutes of regulation–or so it appeared.

Trailing 109-99 with less than 2:30 on the game-clock, the Kings went on a furious 9-0 run to trim Cleveland’s lead to 109-108 with 31.9 remaining. Following two De’Aaron Fox free-throws, Sacramento forced a turnover to regain possession and give themselves, against all odds, a chance to win this ballgame.

Fox got the look that he wanted as he let a step-back 15-footer fly, but the game-winning attempt would not fall as Sacramento suffered yet another deafening blow.

Ultimately, a 14-3 fourth quarter run by Cleveland would be enough to put the game just out of reach. For 45 minutes of Monday night’s game, it was more of the same for a Kings team that looked lost until the final three minutes of play.

Five games, five losses. The way that things are unfolding for this team, it’s hard to say when this streak will end.

Last season, Sacramento suffered two nine-game losing streaks over a 72-game season. While this five-game streak doesn’t quite measure up to the disappointment of multiple nine-gamers, it’s becoming very, very reminiscent of those dark days.

Kings of the Night

In his first expanded look as an NBA player, rookie center Neemias Queta made quite the first impression on Monday night.

Not only was the young big in the game during crunch time, but he was providing the Kings with a solid defensive presence in the middle as Queta helped force a Cavs turnover during the final seconds of the game.

Over 24 minutes, the 22-year-old scored 11 points on four-of-seven shooting, grabbed five rebounds and swiped a steal.

Tyrese Haliburton scored 21 points on eight-of-16 shooting from the field to go along with eight rebounds and three steals over 36 minutes of action.

It was the 14th time this season that Haliburton has finished with three or more steals, becoming the first King to do so in that many games since De’Aaron Fox (2018-19 season).

Injury Updates

Moe Harkless was listed as questionable due to ankle soreness before being ruled active prior to tip-off.

Tristan Thompson did not participate in Monday night’s game due to right quad soreness. He is considered day-to-day going forward.

Damian Jones entered COVID-19 Health & Safety protocols on Sunday, joining fellow center Richaun Holmes in the league’s protocols. Both players can return to return to action after registering successive negative COVID-19 tests that are conducted 24 hours apart.

Coming Up

The Kings will once again face the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday afternoon in the final regular season meeting between the two Pacific Division foes.

Los Angeles has won two of three against Sacramento this season, with the most recent matchup between these two teams being a 122-114 Lakers win back on January 4th.

You can find all of your all of your Kings vs Lakers coverage right here on Sports 1140 KHTK beginning at 5:30pm PST on Game Night with Scott Marsh and Henry ‘The High Flyer’ Turner prior to a 7:00pm PST tip-off from downtown Sacramento.

Upcoming Sacramento Kings Schedule

  • January 12th vs Los Angeles Lakers
  • January 14th vs Houston Rockets
  • January 16th vs Houston Rockets
  • January 19th vs Detroit Pistons
  • January 22nd @ Milwaukee Bucks