The Sacramento Kings got off to a rocky start to the 2019-2020 National Basketball Association (NBA) season but finally have something positive to hang their hats on.
After falling to 0-5 to begin the regular season, Bahamian shooting guard Chavano “Buddy” Hield and the Kings started the month of November on a high note with a 102-101 victory over the Utah Jazz this past Friday, November 1.
The 6'5'' Bahamian shooting guard finished with 18 points on nine-for-16 shooting from the field, but went zero-for-five from the three-point arch. He also collected five rebounds in the nail-biting victory.
Kings’ forward Harrison Barnes, who scored the game-winning basket near the end of regulation, finished with 13 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals. Point guard De’Aaron Fox led the way with 25 points, five rebounds and four assists.
The Kings traveled to New York City, New York this past Sunday, November 3, where they faced the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Those results were not known up to press time.
The win gave fans at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California something to be excited about after the slow start. It’s the organization’s first win under new head coach Luke Walton.
In an article posted by the Associated Press’ Michael Wagaman, Walton believed it’s all about maintaining the energy the team displayed that Friday moving forward.
“We were hungry tonight? Yes. Have we been hungry most games to start? Yes, and then it fades out,” Walton said. “But that’s the intensity that we have to have for an entire game. Hopefully we feel that, we build on it and we continue to go in the right direction.”
Barnes chimed in post-game and shared it was good for the unit to finally put together a ‘complete game,’ for all 48 minutes.
“It was probably the first time all season we put together a full game,” Barnes said. “Everyone down the line came in and contributed, and that was the team effort that we needed, the energy, the fight when they made runs, that we needed.”
The Kings still have some ground to make up in the fully loaded western conference. The victory pushed the team to 1-5, good for 14th in that conference and well out of the play-off hunt in the early stages.
The team certainly wants to put their slow start behind them after losing a pair of winnable games last week.
After the team fell to 0-3 to start the season, the Kings lost their October 28 match-up to the Denver Nuggets, 101-94 for their fourth-straight loss. Hield struggled in that one, finishing with five points on just two-for-13 shooting from the field.
Kings’ forward Richaun Holmes did most of the heavy lifting and erupted for 24 points, 13 rebounds and two blocked shots. Point guard De’Aaron Fox also had 20 points and nine assists.
After the loss, Hield was questioned by members of the media on the team’s effort that night. While he shared their performance was a lot better than their blow-out loss to the Jazz (October 26), the Grand Bahama native felt he could have done more to get his team over the hump.
“I’m sure if me, or Bogie (Bogdan Bogdanovic), if we shot the ball better we would have come out with the win. I wouldn’t say it’s our fault but our job is to go out there and shoot the ball and help the team.
“Fox did a great job pushing the pace. Richaun was great offensively and defensively. We played together as a team and once we continue to do that we’re going to make shots - we work hard on that every day.”
The Nuggets focused heavily on Hield’s marksmanship, which opened the doors for Hield to focus on his play making. He finished, though, with just four assists.
“I saw them pressing up on me. Obviously, I know what kind of threat I am coming off of the screen, especially with my shot. They didn’t allow me to get the ball off but I saw Richaun open most of the time so I made the right play.
“He was doing good things with the basketball anytime I passed the ball to him. We just had to take what they gave us.”
The Kings were back at it on October 30 when they took on the Charlotte Hornets and ultimately came up on the losing end, 118-111.
Hield returned to form and finished with 23 points on eight-for-22 shooting from the field while shooting seven-for-16 from three-point range. The fourth-year guard from the University of Oklahoma finished with four assists, once again and two steals.
Holmes finished with 17 points and nine rebounds.
Knowing the team was in a rut, Walton said after the loss to the Hornets that it was important that the team stuck together.
“It’s important for our group right now that we really stick together,” said Walton. “I hope they can see that even though we still haven’t found a way to win a game, the work they’re putting in is going to lead us to be able to win at a consistent level. We just haven’t been able to put it together yet.”