Following a disappointing loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Friday, the Sacramento Kings faced the Orlando Magic Sunday.
With the New Orleans Pelicans and Portland Trail Blazers each losing their second games, the Kings sat in good position to control their destiny. Beat Orlando and give yourselves a chance going forward.
However, the Kings came out with no intensity from the tip-off. The first possession for Sacramento resulted in a turnover and Orlando jumped to a 7-0 lead. From there, the Kings made it close but then fell apart quickly. Orlando put the game out of reach when Markelle Fultz drilled a full-court heave to end the first quarter.
As a team, Orlando shoots 34% from deep. Today, they lit Sacramento on fire going 18-38 from three (48.6%). Terrence Ross, D.J. Augustin and Aaron Gordon were drilling three after three no matter how off-balanced the attempt. The Kings on the other hand couldn’t buy a three to save their lives, finishing 8-28 (28.6%) from beyond the arc.
Nikola Vucevic and Gordon got whatever they wanted against the Kings. Vucevic dominated the paint on pick-and-rolls and general finishing at the rim. Gordon’s dribble drives always paid off and even when he attempted threes, he made them. Neither could do any wrong for the Magic and the Kings couldn’t respond.
Sacramento didn’t get any positive production out of their key players. De’Aaron Fox followed his 39-point performance against San Antonio with only 13 today on 5-10 shooting. Bogdan Bogdanovic, Harrison Barnes and Richaun Holmes each added 12 points though all of them struggled to contain Orlando on defense. Nemanja Bjelica put up a solid performance against the Spurs but responded with two points in 20 minutes today.
Buddy Hield couldn’t bring the spark either, finishing with 12 points on 5-13 shooting, including 2-7 from three. He did have five assists, but it’s still not the Buddy the Kings need to be successful.
The bench production for Sacramento showed some promise, though they had no chance at coming back in a game in which the Kings trailed by 35.
Harry Giles led the way for the Kings with a career-high 23 points in 19 minutes, going 9-11 from the field. Giles grabbed eight rebounds and made 5-6 free throws. That’s one positive from the game, but only for Giles because it increases his stock as an unrestricted free agent.
DaQuan Jeffries played the entire fourth quarter but didn’t come in the game before that. Jeffries finished the game with 12 points on 5-5 shooting, including 2-2 from three. He added two rebounds, one assist and one steal. Why Jeffries didn’t get any minutes earlier in the game is beyond me.
Kent Bazemore and Corey Brewer did what they usually do. Bazemore knocked down some corner threes and provided much needed intensity on defense. Brewer helped on the defensive end too, racking up three steals. Bazemore’s day ended early as he would foul out.
Sacramento also didn’t score any fast break points until near the ninth minute mark in the final quarter. They finished the game with 11, but they were completely wiped away from their pace by Orlando’s defense.
The scoreline doesn’t do the game justice as the Kings did outscore the Magic 38-19 in the fourth quarter. The Kings never got into a rhythm on offense, never had the energy on defense and that all leads to a disappointing blowout in the end.
Sacramento still has a path to the playoffs, but the chances become slimmer after every failed opportunity.
Next Game: The Kings play Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks this Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. PST.