The latest test of this altitude Kings The team came up near the end of the fourth quarter on a Tuesday night in Memphis. They dominated the first 44 minutes of the match and took a 12-minute lead with time running down by less than four minutes. This when long, physical grizzly Defense – who has forced the most number of turnovers in NBA Ahead of the season – bringing their pressure and activity to playoff level.
The Kings didn’t handle it well. Their flowing offense, the most efficient unit in the league, stalled. Kevin HuerterAnd the Daron Fox And the Malik is a monk They struggled to get out of the double teams or make themselves available for clean slots. A frantic scramble led to six Sacramento turnovers in the final four minutes, giving the Grizzlies transitional opportunities to get back in the game.
Here is an example. The Kings timidly try to stop the clock at the last minute, and the Grizzlies are starting to double-cross the field waiting for a foul. Fox throws a pass that floats Dillon Brooks Tips. I’m Morant Dip the other end after three seconds.
The Kings still won, 113-109, an escape post that bumped their winning streak to seven games, the longest for the franchise since November 2004. They are now 10-6 and only half a game off the lead in the confused West. A lot is going well in the first month of Mike Brown’s first season, but there’s still plenty to clean up if ambitions to end his 16-season drought spill over into an actual desire to be a once-in-a-class threat.
Remember that amazing fox 32 ft. putter In Orlando two weeks ago? That shouldn’t be necessary. Kings led Charm by two points with 11.7 seconds remaining in overtime and possession of the ball. They needed to get in and protect basketball and make free throws. They entered it, but did not protect it. Monk tucked into the corner and threw a frantic pass across the field that gave the Magic a steal and a score.
This is the sequence.
The bite of this bug will be erased almost instantly. The Browns didn’t call a timeout, and Fox took a few dribbles and carried that bomb close to half court. The Kings left Orlando with an incomplete win just as they walked out of Memphis on Tuesday with a win despite a 19-11 lead in the final 3:19 due to six dangerous turnovers.
A 10-6 record looks a lot different than an 8-8. It is far more appetizing to absorb lessons in victories than in painful losses. This is the Kings’ most successful regular season basketball stretch in nearly two decades. There is much to celebrate. But relevant NBA teams find themselves in tense late scenarios at the crucial moments of the season. Better execution will be essential to leveling up.
Here are some other notes from the Memphis win.
Harrison Barnes It proved to be the safest place for the Kings to land in the final two minutes. This next clip is nothing short of amazing. Nothing about Barnes’ game would ever be described as such. But he beats Kevin Hutter’s saved rebound, crosses the floor and then comfortably dribbles himself into space that forces Memphis to foul.
Barnes would hit the next two free throws to put the Kings up five. He was fouled on the next possession and hit two more layups to put the Kings up six. Brown chose Barnes to open his press conference in Memphis as a stabilizing force in a scattershot time that led the Kings across the finish line.
This may have been Barnes’ best night at the start of the season. He scored 26 points, hit four 3’s (including two mammoths in the fourth quarter) and made all eight of his throws. In a game before, he scored 27 points on 8-of-11 shooting in a narrow home win over pistons. His overall numbers are still low. But he only rocked 3 points from 25 to nearly 30 percent in 2 nights and seemed to wake up aggressively.
From a long-term roster management standpoint, there is a credible argument that the Kings should have walked away from Barnes in recent seasons for a future draft pick. It’s in an expired deal and it has a market. But they have always planned to be competitive this season and – as has been evident in the past two games – have a better chance of winning games with Barnes taking 31 minutes on the wing rather than as a substitute.
Fox was announced as the West’s Player of the Week on Tuesday morning and backed it up with a packed stat streak: 32 points, eight assists, six rebounds, four steals. Until the last minutes, he outplayed Morant.
This was a quote from Steve Kerr on Fox last week before the Kings and the Warriors Met: “He makes the shots. You always look at the whole game, but when De’Aaron Fox makes the shots and you have to go out there on the perimeter to guard him, he’s one of the fastest guys in the league. Then he goes downhill and it’s really hard to stop. I think traditionally, in His career, that when he shoots three points, he’s short. If he doesn’t shoot well, he’ll be easy to guard. Pack the paint. He hits the ball really well. So he’s a handful.”
Fox made five 3’s against the Grizzlies, a pair of midrange jumpers, two float range shots and a couple more on the rim. He is now scoring at every level. But it is the threat of the three that squanders defenses and confuses previous scouting reports. With those 5 times (in six attempts), Fox now shoots 40.1 percent from 3 on the season. He finished last season with a score of 29.7%. This is a canyon of difference.
• Kevin Huerter hit four of his three doubles against the Grizzlies. This is a notable result for the entirety of his overall season. He gives it 59 runs in 118 attempts. That’s exactly half. Huerter sits at 50 percent from 3 to 16 games played.
There are 40 players in the league who have had at least 100 3s this season. Only 11 out of 40 made even 40% of them. Only two others besides Huerter – Steve Curry And the Desmond Bean They achieved a profit of more than 44 percent. Curry at 44.7. Bane at 45.1. Huerter is on an incredible hot streak.
• Keegan Murray Continue to struggle on the road. He shot 1-of-8 in a quiet 24-minute showing, relinquishing closing duties to Monk and Davon Mitchell. Murray has made 51.9 percent of his shots in Sacramento games this season and only 31.7 percent of his shots are far from the Golden 1 spot.
• Thirteen more rebounds for Domantas Sabonis. He averaged 11.1 on the season, which ranked him eighth in the league.
• The Kings in Atlanta on Wednesday night. It’s the tricky side of the back-to-back challenge. The hawk 6-3 at home this season. If the Kings can extend the winning streak to eight games, it will be the longest streak since November 2003. paying off Square scores from the eighth of those victories. They faced the New Jersey Nets. Jason Kidd was the opposing point guard.
(Photo by Harrison Barnes: Justin Ford/Getty Images)