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Kings Second Half Comeback Ends Up Two Points Short

ESPN Radio
January 14, 2020 - 11:18 am

By Charlie O. Mallonee @Charlieo1320

Sacramento -- The Sacramento Kings trailed the Orlando Magic 114-112 with 1.1 seconds to go in the game. After taking a timeout, the Kings were able to inbound the ball in the frontcourt. De’Aaron Fox looked for his best options and chose to pass the ball to Harrison Barnes in the lane. Barnes put up a five-foot shot with two defenders around him that missed. Buddy Hield followed up with a tip, but it also missed. The final buzzer sounded, and the Kings had lost their second consecutive game 114-112.

The Kings must play hard for 48 minutes

Luke Walton breaks down the loss: “Well, again there’s a level we have to play at and we didn’t do it long enough. The second half, I thought the intensity we played with defensively, the passion we had, that’s winning Kings basketball. I know it’s been an up and down year, but we got to figure it out. We got to understand how hard it is to win games and how hard you have to compete throughout a game. The first half they didn’t feel us at all – they had 65 on us at halftime. We did a much better job of locking in, being physical, making them feel us in the second half. Again in the second [half>, we held them to 49 points, and we got going a little bit … [De’Aaron> Fox was attacking all night; I thought Belly [Nemanja Bjelica> was really good tonight. It was great to have Marvin [Bagley III> out there playing – playing with that energy, came over had a couple of nice blocks, and just being able to get him out there was a good thing for our group. Overall as a team, it’s got to be more of 48 minutes than we played tonight. Give Orlando credit, they knocked down shots, made plays down the stretch and we gave ourselves a chance to win, but you don’t want [it> to come down to all these one point games. Crazy things happen, you got to take care of business before that. ”

Two 30-point performances

The Kings (15-25) had to two players score 30-plus points in the loss. Nemanja Bjelica scored a career-high 34 points shooting an impressive 13-for-16 from the field in the game. The Kings forward also hit 8 of 10 3-point shots which is another career-high for Bjelica. He also had seven rebounds, two assists and two steals in the contest.

De’Aaron Fox also had a huge game for Sacramento recording a double-double by putting 31 points and 10 assists in book. He came just two rebounds short of making it a triple-double night. Fox hit 12 of 18 shots from the floor and went a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line.

After the game, Fox talked about the loss not his performance: “Just losing it, of course, but just fighting back and then losing the game is probably what hurts. But for us, we can’t dig ourselves a hole like that. We’re down 17 in the first half and we need to play the whole game how we played the second half.”


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Foul calls

Luke Walton had to be very careful in talking about the issue of how the officials have been calling fouls in the last two games. He does not want to pay the $25,000 fine the NBA imposes on coaches who complain about the officiating to the press.

That being the case – Walton did state “just the facts” about the last two games. The Kings scored 116 points in the paint in their last two games. Their opponents went to the free throw line 60 times while the Kings visited the stripe just 21 times. Part of the situation is the team’s fault, but the large discrepancy in the number of foul calls is suspect.

The final two-minute report for the game has not been released yet, but as Walton pointed out, the report does not change outcomes.

Top performances

Leading scorers

  • Bjelica was the game’s high scorer with his 34 points
  • Nikola Vucevic was the Magic’s top scorer putting up 26 points

The Glass cleaners

  • Nikola Vucevic was the leading rebounder with 15 and that gave him a double-double with his 26 points
  • De’Aaron Fox was the Kings top rebounder with eight

Dropping Dimes

  • Fox was the top assist man with 10
  • Evan Fournier led the Magic with six dimes

Up next

The Kings will close out their current homestand on Wednesday night when they will host Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks.

The Magic (19-21) head to Los Angeles to play the Lakers on Wednesday night.

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