The Kings dropped their seventh game in a row tonight, sinking their overall record to 1-8. Although the losses are beginning to pile up, and future win possibilities look slim, this was a much more encouraging defeat than our previous three contests, if such a thing is possible.
This is what most of us expected at the start of the season: competitive games in which a few young guys play well, but the lack of overall talent on the roster is eventually too much to overcome.
Although a new starting lineup of De’Aaron Fox, Garret Temple, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Zach Randolph, and Willie Cauley-Stein was utilized due to George Hill’s absence (personal reasons), the Kings once again started off slower than a Chuck Hayes sprint. Fears of yet another blowout began to creep into Kings fans hearts when the Pistons opened the game on a 10-0 run and held a 22-14 lead midway through the first quarter, but thankfully the Kings were able to make a run behind Zach Randolph and Bogdan Bogdanovic, who combined for 19 points on 8/8 shooting in the first quarter.
Frank Mason III, Malachi Richardson, and Buddy Hield anchored the scoring and playmaking in the second period. Dave Joerger played a 13 man rotation in the first half, and after briefly taking the lead, Sacramento walked into the break down 52-49.
After an exciting start to the third quarter, including a quick 6 points from Willie Cauley-Stein, the Kings lost significant ground on Detroit’s lead. The Pistons won the quarter 33-25 behind a strong offensive performance from Tobias Harris, who scored 10 points on his own. A 14-5 run to end the 3rd helped Detroit build an 85-74 lead, and the Kings were never able to make a significant dent in the deficit from the end of the third.
The final period was back and forth, but the Kings couldn’t get enough stops to make a difference. The reserves who were extremely effective in the first half struggled to make any impact, and Joerger was probably a little late in getting his best players back in the game. An Avery Bradley three-pointer with three minutes left in the game put the final nail in the coffin for the Kings.