by Matt George
Don’t let the final score fool you, the Sacramento Kings’ 111-95 win over the Orlando Magic on Monday night wasn’t that close. Sacramento was in full control for most of the night, after a 29-17 second quarter and 32-20 third quarter provided more than enough separation for a comfortable Kings win. Thanks to a 20 point night from De’Aaron Fox, and a team scoring clinic in the paint, the four game losing streak has come to an end.
Defensively, the Kings are now 6-0 when they hold their opponents to under 100 points scoring. Orlando was held to just 36% shooting from the field and 35% from three-point range.
“Good win for us; we feel our guys are growing a little bit,” said Kings head coach Dave Joerger, “We’re going to ask them to continue to play at a high level, especially continuing to improve at our defensive end of the floor…Defensively was a good end for us tonight and we caught a team that was a little bit tired on the second night of a back-to-back. So I think that’s a step forward as far as the growth of a young team…”.
After missing 11 games with a knee injury, Kings rookie Marvin Bagley made his return tonight and worked his way back into a flow. In 20 minutes, Bagley managed eight points, six rebounds and an assist.
“I feel great. First couple times getting up and down the court I was a little tired,” said Bagley, “It wasn’t really about me proving myself. It was about getting back into a rhythm”.
“He definitely was happy to be out there. Definitely excited,” said Fox, “At one point he said he was tired as hell. You can do all the conditioning (you want), there’s nothing like the real game”.
The Kings had their way with a normally very sound Orlando defense, scoring 64 points in the paint. Six different Kings finished in double-figures scoring, and 53% of Sacramento’s baskets were off assists.
Magic center Nikola Vucevic commented on the ease at which the Kings scored inside, “Our defense wasn’t where it needed to be. They scored (64) points in the paint so you’re not going to win that way”.
“We definitely needed that. We have given a few of the previous games away and it was good for us to take control,” said Fox.
Harry Giles had another strong showing off of the bench, getting involved in every are of the stat sheet. His final line read seven points, six rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal in just 17 minutes.
“Tonight was his best defensive effort. He is loud…the linebacker for out defense with that unit” said Joerger.
Bogdan Bogdanovic was the only King to play over 30 minutes. No other Kings starter played more than 25 minutes.
The Kings, now 20-20 on the season, head to Phoenix for a second night of a back-to-back meeting with the Suns. Last time both teams met, Sacramento won comfortably; 122-105.