Kings’ horrible free-throw shooting comes back to haunt them in loss vs. Bucks

Sacramento Kings v Milwaukee Bucks
Sacramento Kings v Milwaukee Bucks / John Fisher/GettyImages

Last night, the Kings came to Milwaukee and played an almost complete game. They shot well from deep, dished out 34 assists, got 6 steals, and only turned the ball over nine times. It looked like the Kings’ offense we saw last season.

Despite their size disadvantage, the Kings won the rebounding battle by seven and dominated the paint with a 20-point advantage. Coach Brown responded to this by playing a rather unusual lineup of Malik Monk, Keegan Murray, Trey Lyles, Domantas Sabonis, and Alex Len early in the game. 

Youngster Murray had an off night, exiting the game with hip pain, but Sacramento got production from pretty much everyone else who stepped on the court. De’Aaron Fox put together his best game in a while, doing a little bit of everything. 

Monk was the Kings’ energizer off the bench with 288 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists. He led a bench group that also featured Lyles, Len, and Sasha Vezenkov, and was big on the glass. 

Harrison Barnes and Kevin Huerter have been mentioned in trade talks for a while now but that didn’t deter them last night. Barnes scored 14 points, and Huerter had his best game of the season with 26 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal. 

Domantas Sabonis had another huge game

Putting up 21 points on 9-10 shooting from the field, 13 rebounds, 15 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block, he recorded his tenth triple-double of the season. Only Nikola Jokic has more this season with 12. 

This game made Sabonis just the third center ever to have at least ten triple-doubles in multiple seasons. He joins the elite company of Wilt Chamberlain and Jokic

To top that off, he is the first player since the NBA started recording field goal percentage in 1956 to get a triple-double with at least 20 points, 15 assists, and 10 rebounds while shooting 90 percent from the field. 

If that is not an All-Star-level season, I don’t know what is. 

The Kings should have won this game

Last night should have been a win, even after Mike Brown was ejected for passionately arguing a no-call on his All-Star point guard. If four different players give you over 20 points, you should not lose the game. 

The Kings were close and battled in overtime but eventually fell to a buzzer-beater from Damian Lillard. You can never count on Lillard missing a shot, and that is where the Kings’ bad free-throw shooting came back to haunt them. 

They are dead last in the NBA in free-throw percentage at 73.3 percent. Last night, they only missed five free throws, but with the worst possible timing. Those points, or at least some of them, could have made the difference. 

Fox and Monk kept the Kings going when it came down to the wire. They made shots, they got to the rim, they did everything except hit their free throws. Monk leads the team in free-throw percentage, so when the Bucks fouled him with 18.4 seconds left Kings fans breathed a sigh of relief. 

He missed both. Then, with 5.2 seconds left, Fox gets to the line. He made one, Lillard got the ball and won the game.