For the second consecutive night, the Sacramento Kings caught a break and played a team missing their top-3 NBA player, and for the second consecutive night, the Kings failed to take advantage of the opportunity, dropping their third game in a row. Sacramento was torched by the duo of Jrue Holiday and Brook Lopez, who combined for 59 points on 25/36 (69.4%) shooting from the floor, with both players scoring a season-high against the Kings. Terence Davis was the best player for Luke Walton, pouring in 27 points, including 17 in the fourth quarter, but Sacramento's late run wasn't quite enough against the short-handed Milwaukee Bucks.
Sacramento Kings: 128 points, 49.5% FG, 43.6% 3P, 40 rebounds, 31 assists, 12 turnovers, 11 fast break points
Milwaukee Bucks: 129 points, 53.8% FG, 35.5% 3P, 47 rebounds, 31 assists, 13 fast break points
The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
- Terence Davis, have yourself a game: As lackluster as Monte McNair's trade deadline was for some, his bench additions have shown out every night since their acquisition, and tonight was Terence Davis' turn. The third-year wing caught fire in the second quarter, scoring eight consecutive points, and he never slowed down from there. Davis balled out again in the fourth, leading the team with 17 points, and ended with a total of 27, including a career-high seven three-pointers made. He was also a key contributor on the defensive end, locking down multiple players at key moments, including two blocked shots. The Kings very well may have found themselves a player in Terence Davis.
- In-game adjustments: Sacramento seemed to fall out of the game midway through the fourth quarter, going down 118 - 105 with just over five minutes remaining, but Luke Walton made a key adjustment that allowed the Kings to fight their way back. Although Brook Lopez was a force in the paint all night, Sacramento went ultra-small toward the end of the gam, playing Harrison Barnes at the center spot. That move forced Lopez, one of the league's better rim protectors, out of the paint on the defensive end of the floor, which opened up driving lanes for De'Aaron Fox and the rest of the team's guards. The Kings subsequently went on an 11-0 run to pull within two points, although their valiant charge fell just short in the end.
- Starting wings: Coming into the game, most would have predicted that with Giannis Antetokounmpo out, Khris Middelton would lead the way for the Milwaukee Bucks, but the All-Star forward couldn't find his shot, scoring 16 points on 4/16 shooting from the field. For the Kings, Harrison Barnes struggled after a big night against the Los Angeles Lakers, adding just 9 points on 9 shots from Sacramento. Both teams found loads of offense elsewhere.
- Interior Defense: Although Richaun Holmes is good at many things, handling big, big men has never been his strength, and taking on Brook Lopez, one of the thiccest thicc bois in the league, was far too much for Holmes tonight. Lopez, who averages 11 points and 5 rebounds on the year, dumped in 26 points on 85% shooting from the floor, and the Kings simply had no answer for his bulk. As a team, the Kings were outscored by 12 points in the paint, although they trailed by 20 in that category at the half.
- Playoff standings: After winning five games in a row to make a charge up the Western Conference standings, the Kings have dropped their last three, all completely winnable games. They're now 1.5 games out of 10th and 3 games out of 9th, and more concerningly, have just a half-game lead on the 12th place New Orleans Pelicans. Sacramento will get a bit of a break with the Timberwolves and Pistons coming up, but they can't afford to slack off against much less-talented teams. Now is not the time to screw around for a team hoping against all hope to make the play-in tournament.
The King of Kings
There's no doubt that Terence Davis deserves the spotlight here. He scored 27 points in just 23 minutes on the floor, and it was his play that kept the Kings in the game as long as they held on. Tyrese Haliburton deserves a shout-out as well, as he tied a career-high 11 assists, to go along with 12 points and 6 rebounds on the night.
Monday, April 5th vs. Minnesota Timberwolves - 4:00 P.M. (PT)