If I told you that the Kings would lose to the Charlotte Hornets tonight, you probably wouldn't be shocked. If I told you that the Kings would allow a Hornets player to put up 42 points on their asses, you probably wouldn't be shocked. If I told you that the Kings were up by 8 points with just over a minute remaining, you probably wouldn't be shocked. If I told you that the Kings gave up 42 points to PJ Washington, surrendered an 8-point lead with just over a minute remaining, and ended up losing the game off of an and-one layup with 1.4 seconds on the clock, well, you probably watched the game tonight.
The first quarter started out extremely well for Sacramento. Buddy Hield looked like Dave Joerger was on the sidelines screaming at him to run, as he scored 11 of the team's first 13 points, finishing the period with 17 points on 6/8 shooting from the floor, including five triples. Marvin Bagley was also productive for the Kings, recording 8 points and 5 boards, but Sacramento's inability to give a damn on defense eventually caught up to them, as always. After running out to a 24-10 lead behind Hield's scoring binge, the Kings allowed the Hornets to score 19 points in just four minutes, eventually ending the quarter with a three-point lead. LaMelo Ball led the way in the first for Charlotte, with the rookie guard weaving his way through the paint for 12 points and 5 assists.
Offense, offense, and more offense was once again the dominating theme of the second quarter. PJ Washington, yes that PJ Washington whose name you vaguely recognize as an NBA player, torched the Kings and worked his way up to 22 points on 15 shots in the half, while LaMelo Ball was also once again effective for the Hornets, as he ended up taking more free throws (8) than the entire Kings squad (6). Although Charlotte seemed to control the rhythm throughout most of the period, Sacramento walked into the locker rooms with a one-point lead behind a Harrison Barnes three-ball with less than a second left on the clock.
In a twist more surprising than finding out that Malcolm was dead the entire time in The Sixth Sense (Hey, my brothers spoiled the ending for me, so now I'm taking my revenge on the entire Sacramento community 20 years later), the Kings actually held the Hornets to just 22 points in the third quarter. Some of that success had to do with Charlotte simply missing shots, but there were flashes of effort on the defensive end of the floor for Luke Walton's squad as well. PJ Washinton, yes, still that PJ Washinton, was once again the man of the hour for the Hornets in the third, as he upped his total to 30 points by the end of the period, three more than his previous career-high.
Wait for iiiiiiit. You guessed it. PJ Washinton. PJ "Michael Jordan" Washington put up another 12 points in the fourth quarter, including a clutch three-pointer, but let's focus on this collapse more than individual stats. With 1:13 remaining in the game, Harrison Barnes seemed to wrap things up with a vicious dunk, putting the Kings up 123-115. On the following play, Terry Rozier threw the ball away and De'Aaron Fox broke out for an open-court layup. LaMelo Ball tried to prevent a layup and was called for a Flagrant-1 foul upon official review. Fox missed the first free throw. Fox missed the second free throw. Marvin Bagley was blocked at the rim. Oops, Oops, and more oops. 3.6 seconds later, Rozier knocked down a three-pointer to pull the Hornets within five points. Six seconds later, the Hornets intentionally fouled Marvin Bagley. Bagley missed the first free throw. Bagley missed the second free throw. Are you sensing a theme yet?
Nine seconds later, the very same Terry Rozier pulled up for another three-pointer and was fouled by Harrison Barnes. Rozier, in a very un-Kingslike fashion, made all three of his shots from the charity stripe. The Hornets were within a possession with just over 30 seconds left on the clock. Thankfully, De'Aaron Fox found an opening and scored a little floater from eight feet out with 23.8 seconds remaining - a four-point lead with less than a shot clock's worth of time should have been enough. Of course, this is the Kings we're talking about. Six seconds later, PJ "Kings Killer" Washington knocked down his seven millionth three-pointer of the evening, cutting Sacramento's lead to just one point. Buddy Hield was fouled on the following possession, and surprise, surprise, missed one of his free throw attempts. With 1.4 seconds left and trailing by two, Malik Monk blew by Cory Joseph and was fouled by Richaun Holmes while making a layup. Guess what? Monk made his free throw. Game. Blouses.
The Kings are now tied for the fourth pick in the 2021 NBA draft.