Articles | Game Recap

Suns 122, Kings 114: Competitive Game, but a 9th Straight Loss

The Sacramento Kings have lost their 9th straight loss (again) as the sun sets on this roller coaster season.

The Sacramento Kings played their best game in weeks and nearly played up to the level of the Phoenix Suns, but their best wasn't enough to beat the 2nd best team in the West. The Suns took the contest 122-114, and the Kings losing streak hit nine for the second time on the season.

Quick Stats

Outcome: Kings lose, 122-114

Sacramento Kings: 114 points, 55.1% FG, 46.7% 3P, 73.7% FT, 32 REB, 21 AST, 15 TO

Phoenix Suns: 122 points, 56.5% FG, 36.8% 3P, 85.7% FT, 39 REB, 30 AST, 11 TO

While the Kings stayed competitive into the final minutes, the Suns won in the clutch by taking care of the ball, snagging the key rebounds, and keeping anyone besides De'Aaron Fox (27 points, 8 assists, 11-21 shooting) from scoring late. Deandre Ayton (26 points, 11 rebounds) was key to end the game, scoring 8 points and grabbing 4 rebounds in the final four minutes against the undersized Kings, who really missed Richaun Holmes (out for the 2nd straight game with a hamstring injury).

The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
The Good: Sacramento's Bench Shines

The Kings got some much needed help from their bench, as the reserves finished with a combined 46 points, 19 rebounds, and 7 assists on the night. Delon Wright was electric in the first half and finished with 16 points and 4 assists on 6 of 10 shooting. Absent of Richaun Holmes, Hassan Whiteside had a strong night with 11 points and 10 rebounds, but got put in a blender multiple times by the Suns guards. And Tyrese Haliburton, who should never come off the bench again, had 12 points on 5 of 7 shooting in just 24 minutes of play. 24 minutes for a future face of the franchise and arguably one of your best three players seems low to me, but Luke Walton clearly thinks otherwise.

The Bad: What is Defense?

While the Kings were damn competitive on offense, their defense was as weak as ever. The Suns shot 55.8%, including 64% (with 17 assists) in the first half of play. Monty Williams has this Suns squad clicking on all cylinders, as five players finished in double figures. Devin Booker had 23 points on 8 of 19 shooting, Chris Paul had 13 points and 11 assists, and Mikal Bridges finished with 13 points (and was the only Sun who had any repeated success stopping Fox). Phoenix is deep, competitive, and hyper-talented - they're going to be a joy to watch in the playoffs.

The Ugly: Nine Straight Losses

It's hard to lose nine straight games in the NBA, but the Sacramento Kings have managed that streak twice this season. This contest was different than most of the losses in the last few weeks - the Kings were competitive for nearly 48 minutes - but at this point, this team doesn't have the talent around Fox to win meaningful games against great teams (or, as the last few weeks have shown, win against bad teams as well).

The King of Kings

De'Aaron Fox tried his damndest to keep the Kings in this game, and could have finished with way more than 27 points if the refs had called some truly egregious missed fouls against Fox. I'm not one to complain about the refs in a loss, but tonight was a particularly poor performance by the zebras, who missed Fox getting hammered on multiple no-calls.

Up Next

Sunday, April 18 @ Dallas Mavericks - 4:30 P.M. (PT)

Author Note: The last time I covered a Kings/Suns game was in February 2019, when the Kings won a matchup 117-104. In that contest, Marvin Bagley dropped 32 points and 7 rebounds against his hometown team as the Kings improved to 30-26 on the season, while the Suns dropped to 11-47. In my article, I wrote the following;

As the rookies (Bagley and Ayton) head to Charlotte next week for the Rising Stars Game, they do so in two completely different situations. The league may have had relatively similar expectations for these two teams, but Sacramento's rebuild got hit by a bolt of De'Aaron Fox lightning and Buddy Hield fire... while Phoenix is stuck in the yearly ping-pong ritual sacrifice to the basketball gods. Bagley is on a much better team, with a much stronger collection of teammates and an identity for the first time in a decade.... you can unequivocally call Sacramento a better developmental situation than most of the other 2018 NBA Draft lottery teams. 

26 months after that now frigged-cold take, the Suns are the 2nd best team in the West, survived passing on Luka Doncic, and are a sleeper title contender - possibly for multiple years. Just goes to show what the right coach and front office personnel can do, and how quickly a promising rebuild can turn out to be a mirage.

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April 15, 2021 9:54 pm

Kings get a participation award.

BeTheBall
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April 15, 2021 9:54 pm

3-way tie for the 7th. After Sunday we could have it all to ourselves, and by this time next week, we could be sitting in the 6th spot. Things are starting to come together.

RikSmits
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April 15, 2021 11:06 pm
Reply to  BeTheBall

Raptors have multiple injuries and “rest” players. Other tanking teams too.
But let’s keep playing Fox for 40 mpg in the chase for …. what exactly?

Kosta
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April 15, 2021 11:23 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

Play-in, I guess. Maybe Vivek and ownership are actually feeling a little embarrassed about their share of the drought.

Last edited 1 year ago by Kosta
BeTheBall
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April 15, 2021 11:31 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

His lack of defense and FT shooting help the tank.

Gregoryl
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April 15, 2021 11:49 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

The Kings are the only team in the bottom 10 who are trying to win. Sad really…

Amonk81
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April 15, 2021 11:52 pm
Reply to  Gregoryl

It is sad. Until Vivek is out or not making decisions it’s all a joke. Useless. Going nowhere….etc etc

BeTheBall
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April 16, 2021 8:24 am
Reply to  Gregoryl

It doesn’t look much like they’re trying at anything, let alone to win. They’re eyeing vacation time.

Last edited 1 year ago by BeTheBall
SneakerKing
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April 16, 2021 10:02 am
Reply to  BeTheBall

1,2,3 – Cancun!

Amonk81
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April 15, 2021 11:51 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

It’s all back asswards with the Kings.

Haliburton should never play less the. 30-35. Fucking idiotic…..How about he gets a few touches in the 4th instead of Fox€”dribble, dribble, dribble, probably shoot? Never heard of a kick out. Good work coach Walton.

KangzofLeon
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April 16, 2021 11:53 am
Reply to  Amonk81

I really don’t think it’s about Fox not distributing enough. Aside from Hali, we have poor ball handlers and decision makers. Even in the starting 5, the only one besides Fox you can trust with the ball is Barnes

Klam
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Nostradumbass 18
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April 15, 2021 9:58 pm

Getting closer to a higher pick!
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Kosta
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April 15, 2021 10:02 pm

I lost all nine of my lives tonight.

Nine of these bastards now…
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Or is it Frodo of the 9 fingers and the Ring of doom?comment image

Last edited 1 year ago by Kosta
Kosta
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April 15, 2021 10:05 pm

Number 9
Number 9
Number 9
Number 9
Number 9
Number 9
Number 9
Number 9
Number 9

comment image

SunBreakTheDawn
April 16, 2021 12:05 am
Reply to  Kosta

Top tier comment, thank you

RikSmits
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April 16, 2021 5:05 am

I give it a 9 out of 10.

02kingsfan
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April 15, 2021 10:18 pm

My 3 wishes before the end of the season:
-just play Guy, Woodward, James, and Silva significant minutes!
-someone stands up for flagrant fouls against your teammates!!! If Walton doesn’t want to get a technical to stand up for his players then someone else has to do it.
-lose every game for better draft odds!

reydarly
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April 15, 2021 10:24 pm

I was more onboard with doing our best to build good habits and living with the lottery results. Now I just wanna tank the next couple years and play the long game. Its been 13 years, 2 more are not going to hurt at this point the damage was done a very long time ago. We need to stockpile assets. Once Fox is in his prime years, the majority of superstars dominating today should be retiring or on the decline. That’s realistically when we should expect a playoff push. With all the top players playing on the same teams now, we don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell at anything better than our perpetual slightly below average mediocrity.

BeTheBall
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April 15, 2021 10:54 pm
Reply to  reydarly

You could probably get some pretty decent assets for Fox. Just saying.

reydarly
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April 16, 2021 12:47 am
Reply to  BeTheBall

That is true. He would only be finishing the second year of his max deal though and going on 26 years old in the timeframe I’m proposing. And I’m also saying so with the knowledge that Fox/Haliburton are already flagged as untouchable. Maybe we luck out for the third time in 4 years (counting that pick swap that ended up being Tatum) and land a top 3 pick? Then everything we are discussing now would go down the drain.

RikSmits
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April 16, 2021 1:21 am
Reply to  reydarly

No-one is untradable!

Last edited 1 year ago by RikSmits
JoeEnzyme
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April 16, 2021 1:15 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

Thanks, George. 🙂

RORDOG
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April 16, 2021 9:44 am
Reply to  BeTheBall

this is one of those situation I don’t understand the thought process at all. I don’t know if it’s just because this site hasn’t really paid attention or what. Fox is a top 12-ish offensive player in the entire league right now as a 23 year old. Any competent front office could build around Fox, Haliburton, and their 2021 FRP. You don’t need to do a fire sale and straight tank for multiple years at this point.

KangzofLeon
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April 16, 2021 11:56 am
Reply to  RORDOG

Agreed. Even if you wanted to trade Fox, he hasn’t even become the player he will be in 2 years

King4life
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April 16, 2021 3:28 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Trading Fox for picks that you hope to one day be as good as Fox doesn’t make any sense to me. He’s not 30 years old. He’s a young guy who’s gotten better every year. Him and Haliburton are a great starting point to a rebuild. Another top 10 pick is on the way.

Marty
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April 16, 2021 7:21 am
Reply to  reydarly

Now I just wanna tank the next couple years 

Me too but it appears that will never be the case.

Imagine tanking for two years AND getting picks for Fox, Buddy, and Barnes. Dreaming sucks.

SexyNapear
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April 15, 2021 10:35 pm

Marvin Bagley once scored 32 points. Now that’s big news.

GorgeousGeorgios
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April 15, 2021 10:46 pm
Reply to  SexyNapear

If you don’t like that…

BeTheBall
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April 15, 2021 10:53 pm
Reply to  SexyNapear

Once.

BestHyperboleEver
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April 16, 2021 11:39 am
Reply to  SexyNapear

RikSmits
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April 15, 2021 11:13 pm

Even if we’d get more FT’s, we’d just miss them anyway. Four missed FT’s down the stretch, two by Fox, two by Buddy.

With all due respect to Fox, him trying to take over in the 4th is clearly not working. Maybe playing better D the whole game would be more effective?

Greg
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April 16, 2021 7:05 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Fox has holes in his game and nobody on this team is above being questioned, but I don’t understand how anyone watches this team and thinks Fox is the problem.

RikSmits
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April 16, 2021 7:23 am
Reply to  Greg

I don’t understand from this how anyone could read that post and think that it states that Fox is THE problem.

However, given that Fox is the franchise player and the player the most money is tied up in, and most of us see Fox with Tyrese as our core going forward, it is not strange that he should receive a significant amount of scrutiny, especially given the lack of leadership, lack of consistent effort and lack of defense plaguing this team.

I mean, I can talk about Whiteside, but he’s a one year rental.

BestHyperboleEver
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April 16, 2021 11:51 am
Reply to  Greg

I think trying to categorize players as THE problem or NOT THE problem isn’t really useful.

No single player is ever THE problem for a struggling franchise.

Except Hawes, of course.

Hobby916
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April 16, 2021 7:06 am
Reply to  RikSmits

I think it’s going to take a coach that will hold players accountable and pull their asses out of the game when they screw up defensively. Now they just miss assignments/rotations and just don’t seem to value that end of the floor.

RikSmits
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April 16, 2021 7:31 am
Reply to  Hobby916

I see players that give consistent effort and value defense no matter who coaches them.

I constantly hear that defense is about 80% effort (or even 90%), 5-10% scheme and 5-10% coaching. So what does that say about our guys?

Walton is bad, no doubt, but how big of a factor is it? Luke may not be reaching the players anymore, but does that mean that all the assistants are dumb and/or tuned out as well by the team? Since early in the season?

KangzofLeon
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April 16, 2021 12:02 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

The thing is, a good coach would discipline players who are not giving the effort they should on defense. It may be true that effort transcends coaching and teams, but Luke Walton is primarily a confused, helpless observer
Imagine Popovich with this team. He’d probably be playing bench guys that tried on defense more than starters with the effort some of our guys display. Then again, he’d also ever be caught dead with this roster

Last edited 1 year ago by KangzofLeon
KangzofLeon
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April 16, 2021 12:00 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

I’m ecstatic we have Fox as part of our core, but I also do see him play such lazy defense for big portions of the games. The thing is, we have all seen him play actual good and smart defense. I hope that under a competent coaching staff, Fox would neither be caught off guard or seem disinterested. Accountability and schemes seems to be the biggest culprit for this team’s defensive ineptitude

Gregoryl
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April 15, 2021 11:54 pm

I was not impressed by the Suns. That team won’t do much in their playoffs.

KangzofLeon
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April 16, 2021 12:07 pm
Reply to  Gregoryl

I’m most curious about what happens with the warriors and nuggets without Murray. Warriors have one of the greatest game changers in the world

Kingsguru21
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April 16, 2021 2:25 pm
Reply to  Gregoryl

The Suns didn’t play their A game. Also the KIngs played a pretty good game on the offensive end and the Suns didn’t really react well until about the 4th qtr.

scatshot
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April 16, 2021 12:45 am

our 5 starters would make phenomenal bench players. So, all we have to do is find 5 new starters. How hard is that.

Dbullsfan
April 16, 2021 6:14 am

I actually give Fox credit for going out there and competing without just blowing the hell up at Walton or somebody. If we are thus frustrated by the clear lack of direction or understanding of the state of the franchise, imagine how he feels. He is a legitimate top talent and yet is stuck in purgatory. I’m sure he would rather be playing with the kids and getting more experience with guys hopefully on a playoff contending team in 2-3 years, not guys who will be gone this offseason chasing meaningless and harmful wins.

Otis
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April 16, 2021 6:24 am
Reply to  Dbullsfan

If he were a top talent, this team wouldn’t have two separate nine game losing streaks this season.

Dbullsfan
April 16, 2021 6:56 am
Reply to  Otis

He is just 1 guy, and no he isn’t KD or Luca he is still a top 20-25 guy in the league.

Otis
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April 16, 2021 10:17 am
Reply to  Dbullsfan

He’s really not.

Otis
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April 16, 2021 10:24 am
Reply to  Otis

I mean, if we’re taking both ends of the court into consideration. As RORDOG noted, you could certainly make the case for him as a high-end offensive player in the league.

Kayte_Hunter_Fan_club
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April 16, 2021 7:12 am
Reply to  Otis

Then you would agree that the Kings roster is one of the bottom 5 in the league.

SelecaoKOJ
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April 16, 2021 8:03 am

I would say Kings are better than Detroit, Raptors, Pels, Houston, OKC, and Orlando, and Bulls currently.

There are other teams that could really improve next year: The Cavs, Wolves, and Wizards .

I would think the Kings are still Bottom 10. Like always. No man’s land. Not bad enough to land a star in the draft. Not good enough to get into the playoffs.

Kayte_Hunter_Fan_club
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April 16, 2021 9:58 am
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

You might want to take a closer look at some of those rosters you noted.

OKC has a slightly better roster right now and is likely to get significantly better very soon with all their draft capital. (SGA, Dort, Bazely, Horford, Roby, Maledon, Brown, Williams, Jerome, Pukuseaski, Muscala)

Pelicans roster is much better not even close (Zion, Ingram, Ball, Adams)

The Bulls have Vucevic and Levine. That alone makes them better.

The Raptors roster is better but closer than one might think. Not a bad call on that one.

Detroit, Houston and Orlando (just recently with Gordon and Vucevic gone) are worse but all of those teams have draft capital and that can also change in the near future.

Otis
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April 16, 2021 10:18 am

I would not. Bottom 10, sure.

Kingsguru21
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April 16, 2021 1:41 pm
Reply to  Otis

Well aren’t you just a picklepusssport today.

SelecaoKOJ
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April 16, 2021 7:53 am
Reply to  Otis

Fox is definitely headed to be an All Star next year. But, the one thing Fox is not. A Game Changer. He typically doesn’t make players around him better. You could easily compare him to John Wall in this prime. Fox will put up great numbers. But is it really conducive to winning basketball?

Fox is not a 2 way player. If the Kings hire the right coach, that might change. But then again, it might not.

The real problem starts at the top. Poor culture and consistently poor front office decisions. If the Kings don’t fix those, it doesn’t matter who’s on this team.

Otis
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April 16, 2021 10:20 am
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

Fox is definitely headed to be an All Star next year.

Definitely? I hope you’re right.

WizsSox
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April 16, 2021 10:50 am
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

Well considering in Wall’s 5 All Star years the Wizards were .500 or above every year, made the playoffs 4 times and had 3 second round appearances, it’s hard to say it wasn’t winning basketball.

I would gladly accept this “non winning ” basketball in lieu of what we currently have.

KangzofLeon
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April 16, 2021 12:10 pm
Reply to  Otis

He’s not elite, granted. But Beal has been through a few hefty losing streaks this season alone as well, and I’d consider him elite. This team is quite awful, but you are right that Steph Curry would’ve won several more games with this team.

He’s not as good as Steph, if that’s what we’re agreeing to agree on

Last edited 1 year ago by KangzofLeon
ZillersCat
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April 16, 2021 6:25 am

Scottie Barnes can play the 4 ..
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Hobby916
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April 16, 2021 7:07 am
Reply to  ZillersCat

He also doesn’t shoot well or rebound well. But the defense and playmaking is nice

kings4ever
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April 16, 2021 8:25 am
Reply to  ZillersCat

Kai Jones > Scottie Barnes

Chent
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April 16, 2021 8:26 am
Reply to  kings4ever

Jalen Johnson>Kai Jones

Hobby916
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April 16, 2021 9:02 am
Reply to  Chent

Been watching YouTube videos of Alperene Sengune from Turkey. Reminds me of Valancuinas type of player with better passing. Not sure about defense and stretch ability, but having a 7’0 C that can pass and play big down low would be a welcomes sight.

(No, he is not Papagiannis 2.0)

BestHyperboleEver
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April 16, 2021 11:55 am
Reply to  Hobby916

The high-end hope is that he’s Sabonis-ish.

BestHyperboleEver
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April 16, 2021 12:12 pm
Reply to  Chent

Certainly, in terms of talent. But without the ability to directly interview Jalen and the people around him, I’d be really wary of drafting Johnson in the top 10.

TerzoM
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April 16, 2021 6:36 am

Competitive incompetence. Ranadive.

cbrody
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April 16, 2021 6:48 am

Here we’re f’d.

Hippity_Hop_Barbershop
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April 16, 2021 7:20 am

Play all the young guys and evaluate your talent. There’s nothing left to prove this season and no sense in risking injury to Fox, Harrison, and Buddy. Fire Walton at the end of the season. Pay Richaun. Hope for top 3 pick and let Monte make all the coaching staff moves and player moves he wants to this summer.

One more year added to the megadrought. Next.

KingsSince85
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April 16, 2021 7:21 am

Fox is not the problem at all. I do worry that he is developing some bad habits under Walton. I can’t wait for the Walton dismissal announcement (perhaps just a week or two away)!

KangzofLeon
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April 16, 2021 12:33 pm
Reply to  KingsSince85

I’m worried about that too, especially with Fox becoming too frustrated

HongKongKingsFan
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April 16, 2021 9:55 am

PLAY of the night: comment image

Loved the hand shake between Hali and Metu afterwards….

Kingsguru21
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April 16, 2021 2:21 pm

Eh, last night wasn’t that bad. I was pretty convinced the Kings would lose by 40 and they ended up playing an entertaining even with no defense basketball game. It worked for me. But I realize I have a very low standard and expected so little that even a glimmer of hope wouldn’t move me off my spot. It would have taken a very large sample (20 games) to make me believe this team was any good, and alas it is not.

Either this team gets lucky in the lottery, but it won’t be because they’ve had multiple losing streaks of extreme length and multiple winning streaks of extreme length. This team is just streaky, and mostly bad outside of the offensive explosion that is De’Aaron Fox more often than not.

It is what it is.

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