The Sacramento Kings faced off against the Los Angeles Clippers in the final scrimmage game before the seeding games resume.
Paul George started off with the hot hand and the Kings couldn't generate any offense, but as the game went on the team looked comfortable. It helped that Kawhi Leonard couldn't buy a bucket until the second half, but the Kings slowly began to click.
Sacramento trailed by 21 at one point in the game, but quickly made a comeback to make things interesting in the final quarter. The Kings would take a four-point lead with 1:30 remaining, but lost it with under 30 seconds. A big three by Nemanja Bjelica Bjelica help the Kings seal the deal for a win.
First half notes:
Richaun Holmes got the start today as the coaching staff felt he was ready to go. Holmes saw a ton of action early as the Kings looked to shake the rust off of their starting center. Holmes set multiple screens and rolled to the basket on multiple occasions, but he struggled to capitalize down low. He's been an extremely efficient finisher at the rim so you just have to assume that's the rust coming out. Holmes did look good on his free throw attempts.
Harrison Barnes came off the bench and got minutes in both quarters. Barnes, who just passed the NBA protocol to join the team, looked good. He knocked down a few threes and his defensive length made things tougher for guys like Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. Leonard hasn't shot well offensively in these scrimmages and that was definitely evident today. He bricked everything.
Buddy Hield, who has led the team in scoring in both scrimmage games, came off the bench today and made noise too. Hield was active offensively and didn't make mistakes on defense. His chemistry with Harry Giles shined as he set up the big man for easy looks with crisp passing. If Hield can continue doing that, I'm all for him growing as an initiator. Proving his passing can be consistent is the big factor in that, however.
The Kings did allow the Clippers to bury a ton of triples. The defenders didn't close out good enough and made some communication errors on switches. George couldn't be stopped by Bogdan Bogdanovic and that's where the bulk of the triples came from early on.
Bogi made a three-pointer to start the half. He shot the ball well today, but making him guard George is an incredible tough task. Bogi has looked better after every game, so this is a good trend for him with the opening day coming soon.
Leonard finally saw a shot fall and then everything lit up for the Clippers star. He began to make his shots and that opened the game for LA, who led 73-56 with less than five minutes remaining in the third.
The Clippers took a 21-point lead in the third quarter, but Hield came out and drilled two threes in a row. Then he would assist Jeffries for a three near the left corner and the lead became 12 in seconds.
Giles fouled constantly on both ends of the floor. That's been an area of concern for the big man and it continued to linger in this game. If he understands when situations require him to be aggressive or passive, those fouls should decrease. Kings trailed 83-73 to enter the fourth.
Hield opened the quarter with a lefty finish at the rim and a triple to follow. Fox, Bogi and Bjelica were also on the floor to start the final quarter. Jeffries would make two baskets at the rim and the Kings started the quarter on a 12-0 run as they regained the lead.
Giles made a corner three. That is all.
Bogi would hit a three that extended the Kings lead to 98-94 with 1:31 remaining. Kyle Guy, Jabari Parker, Justin James, Yogi Ferrell and Corey Brewer did not come into the game as they usually did in the fourth.
The Kings lost their four-point lead, but a much needed Nemanja Bjelica three made it 102-100, Sacramento. Sacramento closed it out to beat the Clippers 106-102.
This win is positive momentum for the Kings as they get ready to play the San Antonio Spurs. Tipoff is Friday at 5:00 p.m. PST.