On the strength of 44 points from De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield, the Sacramento Kings were able to knock off the Memphis Grizzlies despite a season-low in points.
Neither team was able to get going early as both teams shot under 50 percent (Memphis 48, Sacramento 35) and combined for 10 total turnovers as the Kings fell behind 28-19 after one-quarter of play.
The second-quarter was much of the same lackluster offense and poor ball-security, as the Kings couldn’t buy a basket and turned the ball over 10 times as the Grizzlies built up a 13 point lead en route to a 52-44 halftime lead. Willie Cauley-Stein led the Kings with 11 points at the half, while Fox had just eight points.
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The Sacramento Kings came out firing in the second-half, quickly cutting the lead to 60-59, before taking the lead on a go-ahead bucket from De’Aaron Fox. Hield took over in this quarter, going for 11 points to help keep the Kings in it. A quick 6-0 run by Memphis gave the Grizzlies the lead back, before the quarter ended tied at 71.
The fourth saw a flurry of lead changes as neither team was able to gain separation. After taking an 82-80 lead, the Kings were able to jump out to a 92-86 lead with 1:50 remaining. Sacramento’s defense stepped up in crunch time, however, as the Kings were able to hold out for a 97-92 win as Memphis just couldn’t hit shots down the stretch.
Both Fox and Hield were able to rebound from poor performances against the Denver Nuggets, as the two combined for 43 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists on 17-36 shooting.
Fox was particularly impressive, going for 21 points, eight rebounds, six assists, one steal and two blocks. He was pegged as the key to a Kings win before the game, and he proved it with his performance.
Bagley, for what it’s worth, still made an impact despite a “down night”. He posted 13 total points to go with six rebounds and an assist. Both will look to bounce back on Friday against the Washington Wizards.
Willie Cauley-Stein had himself a solid game, posting a 15 point, 10 rebounds double-double to go with two assists and two steals.
The Sacramento Kings 97 points represented a season-low for the NBA’s fourth-highest scoring team, fortunately, the 92 points scored by Memphis also represented a season-low points given up by Sacramento.
Player of the Game:
You may have noticed one player who made a massive impact not mentioned at all, with that player being none other than Nemanja Bjelica.
Bjelica posted a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds while also adding in five assists, two steals and three blocks. Was his performance flashy? Absolutely not. Was it key for the Kings to grab a win? Of course.
De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield also have a case to be made for PoG, but Bjelica’s all-around impact and solid defense gives him the slight edge over Fox and Hield’s superior scoring numbers.
Up Next: Washington Wizards (1-3) vs Sacramento Kings (2-3) on Friday Oct. 26.
* All stats from NBA.com