The Sacramento Kings final preseason game felt akin to many of their 2019 performances. After matching Golden State Warriors blow for blow through the first 24 minutes, a lackadaisical third quarter ended up costing the Kings the game. De'Aaron Fox recorded 13 assists in 30 minutes for Sacramento, but his shot selection and accuracy were abysmal, as the franchise's cornerstone scored just 8 points on 17 shots, including an 0/7 performance from the three-point line. Steph Curry led the way for the Warriors while looking like his pre-injury self, scoring 29 points and snagging 6 boards, to go along with three assists and three steals.
The start of the game was a bit of a defensive struggle for Sacramento, as Luke Walton's squad surrendered 20 points in the opening six minutes of the game, but the defense recovered a bit in the second half of the first period, as the Kings gave up only 10 points over that span. It should come as no shock that the defensive bleeding coincided with rookie Tyrese Haliburton's entry at the 6:17 mark, as the first-year player continued to show out in the passing lanes and in one-on-one situations.
In the second quarter, Sacramento utilized a balanced scoring attack, with five players entering ending the half with at least eight points, while the Warriors were led by the trio of Andrew Wiggins (16 points), Kelly Oubre Jr. (15 points), and Steph Curry (13 points). In an unsurprising strategy, Golden State leveraged the three-point line to build their slight lead, knocking down 11 long-balls compared to Sacramento's five.
After walking into the locker room down just three points to the powerhouse Warriors, the Kings casually strolled into the third quarter and were absolutely lambasted, a familiar sight of unpreparedness from last season. Golden State began the period on a 16-4 run, with most of the damage coming from Curry, who scored 16 of his own points in the period. From the Kings point of view, a disgusted Luke Walton pulled all five starters in a hockey-style lineup change just four minutes into the second half, but the damage was already done with Sacramento trailing 81-66. The rest of the third and fourth quarter saw the Kings pull within eight or ten points multiple times, but the game never felt particularly competitive after Golden State's initial push.
Tonight's matchup marked the final preseason game for the Kings, who ended the preseason with a 2-2 record. Their 2020 campaign will officially begin on December 23rd against Mike Malone and the Denver Nuggets.
- Although Kyle Guy failed to hit a buzzer-beater or lead the team in scoring, he continued to look comfortable running the offense and finding cutters against NBA players. Despite Luke Walton's comments otherwise, Guy may find himself earning some minutes as the season progresses.
- Tyrese Haliburton had another low usage, stat-stuffing evening, scoring seven points, grabbing three rebounds, and recording an assist, a steal, and a block in 20 minutes.
- Hassan Whiteside's rim protection and rebounding have been a nice touch off of the bench, but his refusal to step outside the paint and challenge shooters killed the Kings throughout the game, especially when he was switched onto Steph Curry.
- Buddy Hield had a rough shooting night of his own, scoring 11 points on 13 shots while going 3/9 from deep.