Kings Lead

How The Kings Have Fared in Games 1-6

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Though projected by many analysts and bookies to be among one of the worst teams in the NBA this year, the Sacramento Kings have gotten off to a pretty good start. Fans hoped before the start of the year to see development and improvement in many of the young prospects and to be more competitive in games. With De’Aaron Fox and company now running the show in California’s capital city, the team has been competitive in all but one game so far, and has even managed to pick up wins against struggling playoff contenders.

Game 1: vs. Utah Jazz

The Kings started the season at home against the Jazz in what ended up being a pretty close game. De’Aaron Fox and company controlled the pace for the early part of the game, even leading the Jazz by 14 points in the 1st quarter. However, the Kings’ achilles heel this year will be their defense, as Joe Ingles and Alec Burks proved by draining seven of the team’s 13 makes from downtown. And despite Willie Cauley-Stein’s best efforts, he had no answer for Rudy Gobert at the rim. Strong 2nd and 3rd quarters allowed the Jazz to pull away and safeguard the game to the final whistle.

Result: Kings lose 123-117 (0-1)

MVP: Willie Cauley-Stein (23 PTS, 7 REB, 4 AST, 2 BLK)

Game 2: @ New Orleans Pelicans

This game was more along the lines of what people expect the Kings to do this season. Another fast and pace start saw the team hang with New Orleans through the first half. Rookie Marvin Bagley got more minutes and used them well putting up 19 points and 8 boards at the end. But defensive lapses and a third quarter slump sealed the fate in this game. Nikola Mirotic and Anthony Davis ran riot for 61 points as the Kings got hammered 149-129.

Result: Kings lose 149-129 (0-2)

MVP: Marvin Bagley III (19 PTS, 8 REB, 3 AST, 3 STL)

Game 3: @ Oklahoma City Thunder

In recent years, the Kings have always played well against the Thunder, but were never able to win in Oklahoma City. Until Sunday that is. Iman Shumpert started his first game for the Kings since being acquired in February and had one of his greatest career performances. Four of five three pointers set the tone for the game as Sacramento capitalized on the opposition’s shooting woes. Even the return of Russell Westbrook couldn’t propel the Thunder as the Kings picked up their first win of the young season.

Result: Kings win 131-120 (1-2)

MVP: Iman Shumpert (26 PTS, 4 AST, 3 REB, 3 STL)

Game 4: @ Denver Nuggets

This game provided a reality check for the Kings. Even though they’re improving, they’re still not competitive enough to hang with a defensive minded team like the Nuggets. Once Denver established a lead, they didn’t look back. And off nights from Fox and Buddy Hield didn’t help matters. On the plus side, Bagley got a lot of minutes and Justin Jackson showed that there may still promise for him.

Result: Kings lose 126-112 (1-3)

MVP: Marvin Bagley III (20 PTS, 9 REB, 3 AST)

Game 5: vs. Memphis Grizzlies

Not the prettiest or most exciting win we’ve ever seen, but the team got the job done and brought home the victory. Despite some late game shenanigans including an eight second violation. Fox and Hield combined for 44 points as they returned to form and were able to keep Memphis shooting under 40%.

Result: Kings win 97-92 (2-3)

MVP: Buddy Hield (23 PTS, 7 REB, 2 AST)

Game 6: vs. Washington Wizards

Another close game that came down to the wire, but the Kings held on to secure their best start since the 2014-15 season. Great performances from Hield and Nemanja Bjelica carried the Kings offense and the team to pull away in the fourth quarter. Despite John Wall and Bradley Beal scoring 26 and 21 respectively, they had no answer for Sacramento’s pace of play or team production. Late mistakes on Washington’s part sealed this win for the Kings.

Result: Kings win 116-112 (3-3)

MVP: Nemanja Bjelica (26 PTS, 12 REB, 3 AST)

Player Spotlight: De’Aaron Fox (17.7 PPG, 7 APG, 4.2 RPG)

(NBA.com/SacramentoKings)

With no George Hill on the depth chart this year, the Kings are letting Fox loose and allowing him to control the game. As the fastest player on the court, that also means that the pace of the team has increased as well. And Fox seems to be adjusting well to being a night in, night out starter. His shooting has improved, but continues to be a stumbling block, especially late in games when the team needs to score. Nonetheless, this is exactly the kind of play the Kings want to see out of their new face of the franchise.

Rook Watch

(NBA.com/SacramentoKings)

Neither of the team’s rookies, Bagley or Harry Giles, have started any of the opening games. And with the way that Dave Joerger likes to set up his teams, they may not crack the starting five until mid-November. Bagley looks to be showing why Vlade Divac picked him at number two by averaging 13.7 PPG and 7.2 RPG despite coming in with the 2nd unit and could prove to be a centerpiece big man. Giles on the other hand has shown flashes of why he was considered to be a top high school prospect, but still seems to be struggling at times. And even though he spent the entirety of last season watching and practicing with the team, this was still his first competitive minutes of basketball since March 2017. It’s far too early to cast judgement on either of them however as the season has just started.

Upcoming Schedule

10/29 @ Heat

10/30 @ Magic

11/1 @ Hawks

11/4 @ Bucks

11/7 vs. Raptors

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About Mack Ervin III

Mack is a Journalism student at American River College and an avid sports lover. Follow me on Twitter @FlashRod4 #SacramentoProud

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