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Kings 112, Pelicans 106: Sacramento wins their second game in the bubble

Luke Walton played his veterans the whole game as the rookies didn't see any minutes.

The Sacramento Kings faced off against the New Orleans Pelicans for the second time in the bubble and in the first full game since they were officially eliminated from the playoffs.

Both teams rested key players. For Sacramento, De'Aaron Fox, Richaun Holmes and Kent Bazemore were ruled out. The Pelicans sat Jrue Holiday, Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson.

The first quarter featured a back and forth affair with both teams exchanging leads. It wasn't pretty basketball but with numerous essential players out, it wasn't surprising.

Alex Len got into foul trouble early, giving Harry Giles some early run and he looked good playing with energy on both ends. Giles finished some nice dunks, too. Bogdan Bogdanovic came out aggressive and looked for his offense with Fox not out there. Bogi set up his teammates with good passing and also knocked down his shots. It took Bogi a while to wake up but he's making his shots now.

Len would come back in later and one of the interesting developments was him hitting two threes on two attempts. Those would be the only points he scored in the game. Len didn't make a triple prior to today's game. Jabari Parker saw playing time early on as well as Holmes didn't play and Parker looked good on offense. Parker's known for his interior scoring and he showed that today going 6-6 from the field for 12 points.

Buddy Hield came off the bench and came out shooting strong, finishing with 11 points in 19 minutes. Hield took good attempts from deep and it paid off as he hit on 3-4 threes. He stuck to his limits when shooting and it's not surprising that he was converting them.

Harrison Barnes put up his best game in the bubble, finishing with 25 points on 9-19 shooting and added eight rebounds and two blocks. Barnes also shot well from deep, getting off clean looks but it was a case of too little, too late from the veteran.

Sacramento shot 11-26 as a team from deep, good for 42.3%. The Kings needed these types of shooting performances when the games were still meaningful, but the Pelicans' defense didn't make things too difficult either.

One of the interesting conversations about this game is regarding the rookies on the roster. DaQuan Jeffries played in 14 minutes but didn't stand out as he usually did in previous games. However, Kyle Guy and Justin James didn't see the floor at all. Ideally, you'd think that two of the true youngsters on the roster would see the floor in a game that didn't matter when the final buzzer sounded.

The Kings need to see what they have in their two rookies and see if they can be rotational pieces going forward, but instead veterans like Cory Joseph saw 37 minutes. Joseph would end the game shooting 1-9 from the field, including going 0-5 from three. These games are the proper situations to play the young guys but Luke Walton opted not to.

The Kings end the bubble against the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday at 10:30 a.m.

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Kevin Lam
1 month ago

comment image?itemid=7884381

Hong Kong Kings Fan
1 month ago

Picture of the Day…comment image

Please fire this guy…

Play of the Day..
Another Buddy Hield turnover…comment image

Vincent Serrato
1 month ago

These plays from Buddy should never happen, he should only be allowed to come off screens, pulling up above the break, and cutting… He’s been doing this all year, Luke should be at fault for this.

Hong Kong Kings Fan
1 month ago
Reply to  Chent

I can find unlimited clips of Hield handling the ball and resulted in turnover, all the members / kings fans knows how to utilize Hield, except Divac and Walton

glu jam
1 month ago

I’m pretty sure he has an incentive in his contract to be below 2.0 turnovers. He is at 2.3 for this season. Up from 1.8 last year and 1.6 the year before. Too many turnovers!

Rik Smits
1 month ago
Reply to  theparttime

Oh, maybe Walton set this all up to save the franchise money!?

Kevin Fung
1 month ago

Once you compile the tape, be sure to send Walton a copy

Kings Guru21
1 month ago
Reply to  Chent

Buddy’s also at fault. He should know better than try to break guys down on or off the dribble. Especially on.

Last edited 1 month ago by Kingsguru21
andy sims
1 month ago

Any time that Hield dribbles the ball more than twice in a row is a wasted possession.

G Naps
1 month ago

Slightly off topic but didnt know where else to bring it up.

Ive read in a couple places; twitter, reddit that there is minority owner(s) with loose lips with the media.

With the recent attitude shift towards Vlade in the Sacramento media talking heads any thoughts on it?

Maybe the owner referred to as Coach?

Maxwell Huss
1 month ago
Reply to  G-naps

I was a little surprised to hear Reggie Miller say that Vlade was “under pressure” from fans and media. Was he referring to Richard’s article in the Bee? I don’t live in the Sac area… Are there more people in the media waking up there?

I hadn’t heard about the minority owner though.

G Naps
1 month ago
Reply to  AirmaxPG

The media “pressure” is building but its all about perspective. Pressure in Sacramento is the media saying “wow the Kings are bad….someone should ask vlade if he thinks the team is bad”

And like I said I read a couple blips on reddit and twitter about the minority owner. Not sure how much is behind it but worth throwing out there. I was doing my own dot connecting that minority owner(s) are talking to the media about the internal dealings and Vlades on the hot seat so the media now feels safe to start to question Vlades moves publicly.

Parker Wells
1 month ago
Reply to  G-naps

It would make sense for a minority owner (which is basically just a stock holder) to be upset if a business is failing. If it happens for 7 straight years, I’d imagine said stock holder would be pushing up to apply pressure, or looking for ways out of said investment.

J Man
1 month ago

Pels vs Kings bubble game highlights:

comment image

Rik Smits
1 month ago

In the meantime, Dame fights the disrespect by scoring 61 points on 32 shots, McCollum plays with a broken back and the Blazers move into the 8th spot.

But we have Fox and Bagley…

Keith Plutchok
1 month ago
Reply to  RikSmits

Someone from the FO is on here throwing out down votes for the truth.

John Navickas
1 month ago
Reply to  RikSmits

This comparison is really unfair as Bagley hasn’t broken his back yet.

Last edited 1 month ago by CoreyBrewersD
Kevin Salvadori
1 month ago
Reply to  RikSmits

Watching Dame in a way is as depressing as watching Luka light it up, if not more so. Dame could have been paired with Cousins and Tyreke. That is a very serviceable start to a competitive team. While I am skeptical we would have developed him properly, I do think there was more potential for a complete team therr re than if we had thrown Luka with this current squad.

Look at me. Not even 24 hours after the season ends and I’m already fantasizing about good GM decisions.

Rik Smits
1 month ago
Reply to  KevinSalvadori

IMO there are players of a certain talent level and mentality that will succeed in any situation, no matter how dysfunctional.
They may thrive less, but I don’t see people like Luka, Dame and LBJ being a bust if they were here.

Parker Wells
1 month ago
Reply to  KevinSalvadori

This league needs more Lillards. Superstars who relish the challenge of taking on the big markets, going against the norm in that regard. Guys who see joining a team like the Lakers as an easy way to the top.

c k
1 month ago

Didn’t watch a second of the game. I’m happy with my decision.

Kas Keyes
1 month ago
Reply to  cbrody

AND 1!!!!!!!

c k
1 month ago

Here’s a hypothetical. If the NBA contracted the Kings, paid Vivek and the rest of the owners to go away, but made the promise that in three years Sacramento would get an expansion team with new everything would you do it?

Ican Hascheezburger
1 month ago
Reply to  cbrody

The Hypothetical Sacramento Basketball Expansion Team would probably reach the playoffs sooner than the current ownership’s team.

Scott Perbetsky
1 month ago
Reply to  Kosta

I agree with this. Give me the nuclear option.

c k
1 month ago
Reply to  ScottyPop

I’d take expansion. 246 miserable games ahead with this group. And at then end we will still have at least one head of this miserable hydra.

andy sims
1 month ago
Reply to  cbrody

Only 246? You didn’t factor in playoff games, so…

Ah, carry on.

Alek Bohigian
1 month ago

Lol

Kevin Salvadori
1 month ago

2 and 6 is about what we deserved. I honestly was more depressed watching the team sleepwalk through what was a very winnable few games in Orlando than at any point this year, even the abysmal start. If you cant get a team motivated to come out and challenge for the playoffs for the first time in 14 years, when it is possible and tangible, you have no future ad a coach.

What a stupid and wasted year.

Dirk Comstock
1 month ago
Reply to  KevinSalvadori

Started 2-6 and will end 2-6.
Your Sacramento Kings, consistent garbage!

Maxwell Huss
1 month ago
Reply to  Dirkula

Maybe 3-5 since the L*kers will be trotting out the end of their bench on Thursday. And Luke will possibly be giving more starters 30+ minutes… you know, for “development” purposes.

Rik Smits
1 month ago
Reply to  KevinSalvadori

Although I do not disagree about the coach, don’t we have bigger issues if our players really need a coach to fire them up for these kind of games?
 
They mostly looked uninterested and lacking any fire and willingness to work their ass off on both sides of the floor for every minute they were on the court. That makes the contrast with guys like Dame and McCollum so jarring.
 
The sole exception being DQ.

T D
1 month ago
Reply to  RikSmits

A lot of that appears to be a deliberate strategy by the GM who massively overvalued kumbaya culture.

vlade has systematically gotten rid of every executive, coach, and player who showed the intestinal fortitude to challenge anyone else in the organization. I think this is what Joerger kept referring to about having “a bunch of nice guys.”

this team is in desperate need of some dogs who aren’t afraid to light some fires under people’s asses when needed! Heck, even Giles – who is no savior, mind you – who has displayed some grit was denied his option for next season!

it’s bonkers. Also, given that Vlade learned no lessons from watching a team with the crappiest locker room in the league beat his team year after year is pretty remarkable.

elite talent and insane desire. Those crazy dudes rule this league. Period.

1 month ago
Reply to  1951

Exactly! So who still has direct access to Vlade and isn’t hired/fired by him? Answer: reporters.
(more on that in my other comment on this thread)

Mark Aroni
1 month ago
Reply to  1951

I remember rooting for a team with a bunch of good guys (probably because during the Cousins era there was too much internal drama), but that good feeling obviously has been cancelled out because we suck. But I dunno, I guess this beats losing AND having toxic players?

Fifth Mookie
1 month ago
Reply to  Markaroni

This sucks, but at least I’m not actively rooting against the team every night like I did during the DMC/Rondo/Lawson/Barnes year.

T D
1 month ago
Reply to  Markaroni

Um, reminiscing about Webber as being one of the “good guys” is an interesting historical strategy!

😉

Maxwell Huss
1 month ago
Reply to  RikSmits

I’m having doubts about the narrative that the team wasn’t “fired up” or that our struggles had anything to do with a lack of effort.

I think it’s possible that quite simply this team just isn’t that good.

And a team that isn’t good will get exposed when playing against teams when there is something on the line. See games against Spurs and Magic.

Maxwell Huss
1 month ago
Reply to  AirmaxPG

And Nets.

G Naps
1 month ago
Reply to  AirmaxPG

But 13-7 over 20 games!!!

Rik Smits
1 month ago
Reply to  AirmaxPG

I don’t; the lack of focus and hustle was quite clear, IMO, and that has nothing to do with talent. Letting a guy rebound his own missed free throw? Come on.

Maxwell Huss
1 month ago
Reply to  RikSmits

Maybe because that’s who they are. We’ve been talking about a team who doesn’t have “dogs” for some time now. That factors into my overall assessment of the players up to this point.

T D
1 month ago
Reply to  AirmaxPG

Why not both?

Maxwell Huss
1 month ago
Reply to  1951

Yes.

Darren Van Blois
1 month ago
Reply to  AirmaxPG

the team is good. I think most of it falls on the coaching. misusing Buddy Hield, not utilizing Giles enough in the high post, not asking Bjelica to play in the high post a little more, and just not realizing that offense should not be a struggle. It is one of the few things within the team’s control and they should be getting good shots every time down the floor, including some easy layups. Everything else falls into place after that.

Maxwell Huss
1 month ago
Reply to  eddie41

I should clarify. By “not good” I think this team is around a 40-win team with league-average coaching.

So yeah, replacing Walton would help some, but we’re still just a fringe 8th seed contender at best. Maybe if everyone is healthy and everything goes right and Spoelstra is our coach… maybe a 7th seed in the West?

Carl Spackler
1 month ago

These games are the proper situations to play the young guys but Luke Walton opted not to.

The criticism for 2-6 will be a lot less than the criticism for 1-7. Walton has to meet the incredibly low bar set for him by the worst front office in the league, and 25% win percentage does the job. .

Congrats
Last edited 1 month ago by Carl
Maxwell Huss
1 month ago

37 minutes for Barnes, 33 for Bjelica, and 38 for Bogdanovic. That’s 3/5 of our starting lineup right there eeking out a win over a team who were led in total NBA minutes by journeyman Etwaun Moore and 3rd year guard Lonzo Ball.

Reggie Miller re-iterating Luke’s talking points about how we’re a young team, and it’s an accomplishment just to make it to the bubble.

But at least Reggie has an excuse to be uninformed. He has 29 other (more relevant) teams to follow.

1 month ago

I love Harry Giles and have always been a huge fan. But watching him last night I came to the realization that he will not make the Kings any better. While I still think the FO decision on HGIII earlier this season is the epitome of stupidity, I think it will be best for the organization (and my yearning for him to develop into a consistent role player) to move on. For every amazing pass with wonderful court vision, there is a careless turnover. For every oop or dunk, there is a bigger player backing HGIII down and having their way with him. For every moment of grit and enthusiasm, there is a needless foul that shifts the momentum to the other team. I wish the basketball gods gifted him a wider frame and additional weight.

I will always be a Harry Giles fan (of him as a player and a person), but my hopes of him being a key piece of the Kings is close to being extinguished.

Maxwell Huss
1 month ago
Reply to  916ickness

Somewhat agree with you. But I think a competent organization could someday get the best out of Harry. A ton of mental mistakes, but he’s just missed so much time basically since his sophomore year of high school… you gotta expect his learning curve will take a little longer.

I always kind of wondered why the Kings didn’t have Giles focus more on outside shooting in that whole redshirt year he had. If he can make some 3’s consistently now and then it will really unlock parts of his game. Play him at the high post and if the defender is respecting his shot perhaps his passes won’t result in so many turnovers. And on defense guarding opposing stretch 4’s might be a more natural fit for him as well.

1 month ago
Reply to  AirmaxPG

I agree. I think I got caught up with my general frustrations on the team and in more of a “blow it up” mindset.
Your assessment of making him more of a 4 than a 5 makes sense to me. His body makes him a liability when defending the 5. With your thoughts, I am thinking it might be better for Giles to grow and thrive elsewhere as I’m not quite sure he’ll find the success here.
(Wow, my saltiness with the Kings organization right now is hard to kick!)

Murray Bowron
1 month ago
Reply to  916ickness

In some ways the way they have treated Harry Giles is symptomatic of this franchise. They gambled by drafting him, they red shirt him to let him heal (a solid move). Then ever since then its been 1 step forward 2 steps back. A lack of defined role, inconsistent minutes. Then they don’t sign him to a qualifying offer. Based on his body I suspect he may never be anything more than a rotational player. But you see the glimpses of talent and you can’t help but wonder what he would have done had he played for a competent franchise. Whose to say his body might eventually fall apart anyway, or is more like the likes of Dujuan Blair when he played for the Spurs

Andrew Stein
1 month ago
Reply to  916ickness

fixed this for you: I am thinking it might be better for [insert King player name here] to grow and thrive elsewhere as I’m not quite sure he’ll find the success here.

Darren Van Blois
1 month ago
Reply to  AirmaxPG

Webber and Vlade didn’t shoot 3s.

Maxwell Huss
1 month ago
Reply to  eddie41

Which might be part of the problem. Our team is built to thrive in 2002.

Parker Wells
1 month ago
Reply to  AirmaxPG

This team woundn’t thrive in 2002 either.

Darren Van Blois
1 month ago
Reply to  916ickness

nah, he’s too valuable on offense. the team needs his playmaking. and for what it’s worth Mitch Richmond said after the game that he made an adjustment in the 2nd half guarding Okafor resulting in stops.

1 month ago

Long time STR now TKH lurker here… 

There’s been a lot of talk about what we the fans can do to enact change in this organization, and the sad reality is that there isn’t much. Our hands are tied as the little people. Sure, we can go all Bugs Life on them and have a unified uproar, but that ain’t workin. The billboard is nice, but it’s not in itself going to work. We need something big, and I think I have a general idea of what that big thing could be. 

In the last 5 years, what is the way that some of the most prominent people in our society have fallen from grace? The answer: viral moments. Don’t get me wrong, I hate the idea of cancel culture and digging up someone’s distant past as a smear tactic without the opportunity for apologies and conversation. I’m not saying find (even more) dirt on guys like Luke. I’m thinking of a different vial moment. 

What we need is a reporter during a press conference that would ask such a point blank question that it throws Vivek, Vlade, or Walton so off guard that the moment goes viral. Yeah, this person would need to be willing to risk loosing their job for such an outlandish question asked. Granted, some of the pizzazz of these interviews is lost when they’re done digitally, but perhaps it could work. 

Now what type of question to ask? Maybe something like bringing up Fox’s comments about the team not really knowing what they were doing, and then following that up with “is that due more to the leadership of Vlade or Walton?” It’s gotta sound brash. Or maybe someone just freakin’ reminding Vlade of his promise from 2 years ago to step down if the team didn’t improve? Or perhaps pointing out the clear regression of players like Buddy with the new coaching hire, or that tweet I keep seeing going around about how Jorger took us from the 20th ranked in a bunch of stats to top 5? 

Moral of the story: reporters need to get very direct in questions—not just articles—and put leadership in a visibly uncomfortable position, caught on camera for the world to see. 

Thank you for coming to my TED talk. 
comment image

Maxwell Huss
1 month ago
Reply to  VladePotty

I mean, Vlade’s already been on record saying “I had a better deal two days ago”… and “We didn’t want to take the ball out of Fox’s hands”… and local media still defends it.

So yeah I’m not hopeful. But it would be nice if these “journalists” would ask direct challenging questions, like they’re supposed to.

Parker Wells
1 month ago

This felt like a job security win for Luke. There’s just no other logical reason to play the vets this much.

Rik Smits
1 month ago

We can’t even find 500 fans to sign such a petition? Come on!
 

G Naps
1 month ago
Reply to  RikSmits

I bet these 2 signed it

Kevin Lam
1 month ago
Reply to  G-naps

Awesome.

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