The Sacramento Kings Number is... like... what... .5 now?
The Kings saw De'Aaron Fox being held out of Saturday night's game against the Jazz and decided early the best way to beat Utah was to absolutely bomb from deep. In the first quarter alone, the Kings went 5-16 from deep with 4 of those makes being Kings rookie Keegan Murray. They looked like a team that was missing their starting point guard, allowing an 11 point lead in the last few minutes to get whittled down to 6. Mark Jones described it as frenzied and fanatical and honestly, I can't improve on describing the first frame than that.
The Kings gave up an 11-3 run to start the second quarter and by 9 minutes left in the half, the Jazz took a two point lead off of a Jarrell Brantley three ball. The rest of the way was some back and forth basketball - the Jazz jumped into the zone and the Kings struggled to sustain anything against it. The Jazz outscored the Kings 35-23 in the second quarter, taking a six point lead into halftime, with the leading scores being a young Mr. Walker Kessler with 19 points and a one Jarrell Brantley (on a 10 day) with 10 points. Yeesh.
Utah came out in man defense to start the third quarter and the Kings immediately scored on four of their first five possessions. The Kings couldn't stop the Utah Jazz on the other end much but hey, can't start a run without them points. Then suddenly, the Kings were up. Through the first six minutes, the Kings outscored the Jazz 25-10 for an 80-71 lead, with Barnes in particular finally putting the ball in the bucket. This quarter saw some really incredible passing on display for the Kings with seven, eight, nine touches before a shot attempt. Everything the second quarter lacked, the Kings suddenly had and after a shot clock beating three pointer from Trey Lyles, the Kings took a 90-78 lead into the final frame.
This game had a really strange vibe throughout and the fourth quarter did nothing to rectify that feeling. Right off the bat, we saw referees missing a blatant foul on a Monk dunk attempt followed quickly by Monk being ejected after the game. By about half way through the fourth the Kings continued to hold their lead, but would follow-up great plays with boneheaded ones - a fantastic second chance tip in for Huerter was immediately followed up by a timeout inducing oop to Walker Kessler. The Jazz fought hard, never allowing the Kings run away with it and made a six point lead in the final few minutes feel like it could be in doubt, but in the end, the Kings came away with it.
The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
Keegan Goddamn Murray: With Fox out, someone was going to have to pick up the scoring and it was Keegan early and OFTEN. The 4th pick in the 2022 Draft went bananas from deep to start the game, going 5-6 from the field and 4-5 from deep on his way to 14 first quarter points. He wound up with 22 points for the game shooting 6/12 from deep. The kid is so damn close to breaking that rookie record and I can't be happier for him.
Sophia Jones: It was a treat to watch Mark Jones spend the evening going back and forth with his daughter, Sophia, who is majoring in radio, television and film at San Jose State, and who got a chance to sharpen her television chops as a special commentator and sideline reporter tonight. She highlighted both Lindsay Harding and Kayte Christensen tonight during a couple "Women in Sports" segments and even got Kayte choked up for a moment with her words. The kid has a bright future and I was glad Sophia got a chance to have a moment like this in Sacramento.
Walker "Texas Ranger" Kessler: There was a layup near the end of the first half that made me get up and walk to my desktop and check just how many points Kessler had at that point and it both doesn't surprise me, but also, completely baffled me. At half, the rookie had 19 points on 8/10 shooting, 6 rebounds and a block. The Jazz found him time and time again in the right spots and by the end of the game the kid had 31 and 11 on 14/16 shooting, the first Jazz rookie to ever pull that off. It was QUITE annoying. He is quite good.
Harrison Barne's First Half: Harrison Barnes was well on his way to one of those invisible man games that he tends to have. Playing without Fox the Kings needed someone to step up and the vet just wasn't that guy early on. He had 3 rebounds and 4 assists, but had just 2 points on 0-3 shooting with 2 turnovers to boot in the first half. Then the dude just, showed the heck up. He wound up with 18 points on 6-12 shooting with the majority of these buckets being clutch shots and run killers. All props to Barnes for adjusting at half time.
My Hair Line: Sounds like my head will be Mike Bibby bald come the start of next week. Totally worth it.
The King of Kings
Domas had 17-15-7 but I really think that Kevin Huerter's 27 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals really gets the nod tonight. The dude kept the Kings afloat a couple of different points in the game and I'm incredibly relieved seeing him playing like this after suffering an injury just last week.
Monday, March 27th vs. Minnesota Timberwolves - 7:00 P.M. (PT)
Is 5-3 or better possible the rest of the way out? Sure would be nice. Locking up the 3 seed is more important, tho. Love how the Kings win two after losing two.
At this point, I really want that #2 seed though…it’s been so long since we could be greedy
5-3 or better definitely seems possible to me.
The Kings were able to handle “All That Jazz”!
Kings aren’t just cool – They are Jack Cooley cool.
And the Gang has bought in!
How in the hell did Richaun go from quality starter to unplayable in a relatively short amount of time? I never figured he’d lose his motor, but damn that’s gone too.
He clearly has other priorities. Got his pay day and now he is going to live life as he chooses. As a fan that sucks. As a human…..great for him.
Or maybe he’s struggling to recover from a nasty eye injury and a nastier custody battle?
As a human an player… sucks for him.
I think the custody battle and the injuries are priorities for him. It is great that he can focus on reality and what matters instead of basketball. Too many players get handed millions and have absolutely nothing to show for it as well as a shit life.
I also believe he would eventually get it together with solid minutes, but with the team’s aspirations they can’t afford to wait for him to get in rhythm
He knows they had no desire to play him so he shut it down.
Now they need him and he is definitely not ready.
For some reason he just doesn’t know how to fit into this style. He succeeded in a pick and roll/pop style last season
Umm are u forgetting the fact that he gets zero playing time
13-4 since the break. Gracious.
With the third-hardest difficulty of schedule in the league. Never would have expected.
With 5 b2b’s during that time, no less, including the most recent finished tonight.
Right now we’re on track to face the Warriors in the first round. Need to figure out how to play some defense for that series.
Which comes first, we figure out how to play a tad bit of defense, or they figure out how to get a win on the road against good teams?
they can get a win on the road since Sac and SF is close enough that home court advantage can be nullified lol
Fair point, considering Sacramento is part of the East Bay.
Ticket availability will remain to be seen though. Season ticket holders have the option to purchase additional seats before the go on sale to the public. I can see some reselling to make money, but I think most of them are doing it to make sure non-STH friends and family get tickets. At least that’s my plan.
Sorry to disagree, but Sacramento is in no way part of the East Bay area.
East Bay ends at Auburn!
WTF no. I hope you are joking.
Fine, but not closer than Loomis.
I hope you’re able to keep this joke up for a bit BTB. 😂 😂 😂 😂
I always had the impression that in the play-offs, the tighter defense of opponents will cause the offensive rating to go down, and that is something that would worry me about this Kings team. So I had a look.
Highest Offensive Rating By A Team This Season In The Playoffs | StatMuse
And then I looked at Ortg in the playoffs.
Highest Offensive Rating By A Team This Season In The Playoffs | StatMuse
I initially ignored the teams that had 6 games or less due to the small sample size.
The following teams had a higher Ortg in the playoffs:
Suns, Warriors, Mavs,
And the following teams had a lower Ortg in the playoffs:
Sixers, Celtics, Heat, Grizzlies, Bucks.
What does it tell us? That although a majority of teams are less efficient offensively in the playoffs, it is not a a clearly defined gap (5 to 3). So .375 of play-off teams that went past the first round in last year’s playoffs, improved their offensive rating in the play-offs.
Can the Kings do that? I’m not sure, since their Ortg is already absurd. But staying near it may be attainable.
(I’d still be happier if they can show some form of sustained stout defense.)
Drove up from Costa Mesa to take my parents to the game. So great to see this team winning and the fan base so engaged. Amazing night.
But for the life of me I can’t figure out why Brown didn’t challenge the foul that wasn’t called on Monk. Or can you not challenge non calls?
All is well that ends well.
And it seems like that foul that got overturned on Barnes shouldn’t have.
Spoken like a real King’s fan………..and family
Correct, can’t challenge non-calls. (Also I think Brown had already used the challenge prior to this.)
So does this mean if the Wolves lose tomorrow, we clinch a playoff spot?
They were mentioning LAC & Phoenix as the teams that matter, not Minny.
It looks like the Pelicans (currently 37-37) could still catch us at 45 wins if they win out and we lose out. They would have the tie breaker in head-to-head wins against us in that scenario.
The solution is for us to continue winning to secure not just a guaranteed playoff spot, but also guaranteed home court advantage for the first round. I think just two more wins (47 overall) makes that happen.
On second look, the Pels winning out would cap the Clippers win total at 45 wins (currently 39-36). Since we have the tie-breaker over the Clippers, we would still clinch a playoff spot.
One thing I love about this team is that there’s no one complaining about minutes or starting/coming off the bench. Guys with no egos that are ready to play when called upon.
Winning cures a lot of ills. It becomes very difficult for a player to complain about their role on a team when the team is winning at a high rate (unless they’re a complete asshole).
I wonder if Kings continue the “Light the Beam” next season
It’s become such a phenomenon (even nationally), I’d be absolutely shocked if they stop it after a year. Especially with the merch they’re now selling, the trademarks they bought, etc.
How you gonna top “Light The Beam”?
it’s a marketing stroke of genius rallying cry helped by this amazing winning season and has been inculcated into the NBA and local sports lexicon.
It’s this group’s “Greatest Show on Court”.
T-shirts, motto mumblers and microphone seekers are joining in and stealing/sharing it’s thunder. Probably gonna be some babies named “Light the Beam” (certainly pooches called Beam), and a politician will grab it next on a Sacramento campaign stop.
That last one will garner a loud boo from me, if for some reason I’m in the vacinity, regardless of my support for for the candidate, or lack thereof.
I don’t know whether I’m the head, but am definitely on the board of the Kessler Edwards fan club.
His stats won’t jump off the page, and I doubt we’ll see him much in the post-season, but the guy just does the right things. He’s tough, grabs rebounds, and makes the right play more often than not. And he defends, he DEFENDS. He’s strong, long, quick on his feet, and smart.
Look at him here:
This could be just me falling in love with a random player again. It’s been known to happen in these dark years. But man, I’m really enjoying Edwards’ game and hope he sticks around.
His defense will be needed in the playoffs.
I mean, he’s no Walker Kessler. But I like him very much. Good pickup by Monte.
To get a player like Kessler and getting paid for it to says to me Monty made a great find. He is so young IMO and has so far to go he will be a staple for the Kings for years to come. Can also play offense when called upon. Those 2 free throws he made the other day to seal the victory says a lot for me.And he has a very high IQ to boot.
He’s no Walker Kessler, but would you say Walker Kessler is a Kessler Edwards
His length, strength, quickness, effort, and BBIQ make a huge difference. If he can develop a mediocre offensive game (he’s almost there) he’ll be a great 3-D guy. Kind of everything we hoped Okpala would be.
Right there with you!
His defense has been outstanding and he provides enough offense to leave him on the floor. He rebounds strongly as well.
My only other item to add to the Anthony Walker Kessler Edwards love is that NBA.com and SacramentoKings.com have him listed as jersey #14 —- but he wears #17! This is particularly bizarre as the Kings retired the #14 to the Great Big O – Oscar Robertson!
I will predict/speculate/prognosticate – Kessler Edwards (#17 dammit) will have “a game” in this seasons Kings playoffs! Did you know that he is currently the Kings lowest paid player?
The league keep dis-respect to the Kings….
Ejection of “number #41″……
and Kessler Edwards #17 to #14…
and the Alex Len’s profile picture…
I would have guessed PJ Dozier, actually, given he hasn’t been on a NBA roster all season like Kessler Edwards. But….that’s besides the point. Edwards is cheap, and like Lyles last year (who, yes, had a limited no trade clause and agreed to come to Sac like Mo Harkless before him), also has a team option for next season. There’s no way in hell the Kings don’t pick up that option unless Kessler Edwards is being an absolute dickhead behind the scenes. And there’s no indication of that whatsoever yet.
Yeah, good call on trading for a long armed, fairly athletic kid with some spring and upside Monte. Especially since all the other trade avenues would have disrupted a roster that has, uniquely, a great deal of chemistry.
I’m not ready to talk off-season yet, but boy the Kings will have a very, very interesting conversation about Harrison Barnes and would I ever love to see how that one goes internally.
he also had an impressive stop on Booker near the end, forcing him to take a contested three.
Okay, it is official. The Kings clinch a playoff spot if the Wolves lose tonight.
Kind of an anticlimactic way to leave basketball hell, though. Half hoping the Wolves win today and we get the clincher tomorrow.
I’m not half hoping. Wolves need to drub the dubs tonight. I’m at the game tomorrow.
I’m hoping the Wolves win tonight, simply because I’ve been rooting for the lower seeded teams to beat the higher seeded ones for the last month or so (unless it’s the Lakers, then I’ve been rooting for their L’s).
At this point do we want the Warriors to win to rise in the standings and not remain at the 6th spot, or do we want them to lose to fall to the play-in? I’m of the mindset that I just don’t want them to remain at #6 because I don’t want the Kings to face them in the first round.
My son is turning 21 in Auguste, born right after the infamous 2002 debacle, (or was it right before?). Anyways, big Kings fan, never seen them with a winning roster. The other day, I asked him if he watched a game, and he says to me “Yeah, I watch every game… well I follow every game in the box score.” He saw the crazy look on my face and says “It’s too predictable. It’s just like before except that they always win now. There’s just no competition!” Love that young man! So proud!
If someone had claimed in October that this team had a realistic shot at winning 50 games I would have suggested rehab.
The #3 seed is, as a practical matter, pretty much assured now. #1 is completely out of
reach, PHX/LAC/GSW aren’t realistically making up 6+ games with 8(ish) to go and Memphis would need to lose 3 more games than Sacramento for the Kings to get to #2 since the Grizz hold the H2H tiebreaker. They’ll play it straight tomorrow and maybe for the 2 games in Portland but after that I’d expect the minutes distribution to get weird.
I get that suggestion a lot.
The Grizz don’t hold the H2H tiebreaker so the Kings can finish tied and end up with the 2 seed. And as of now, the Kings have the better conference record so they would get the tiebreaker. The question is can the Kings make up the 2 losses in the loss column.
And I should point out this week Memphis plays Orlando at home Tuesday, Clippers at home Wednesday (home SEGABABA & rest disadvantage for Grizz), Friday against the Clippers.
If there is an opportunity to make up that ground, this week is it. If not, the Kings likely shut down Sabonis and Fox for at least 3 of the remaining 5 games.
The NBA has 6 Divisions.
Of all six of these divisions, only one is so strong (yeah), that none in that grouping has a losing record.
That would be The Association’s Pacific Division and the far away leader is your Sacramento Kings.
Best record in the strongest division. Wow! What a year!
Well, Lakers lost today. So now they have a losing record. But still, a nice point.
Typical Lakers, dragging the rest of the conference down.
Mavs lost LUL