The Sacramento Kings (15-23) traveled to Atlanta, where they were crushed by the Hawks (18-20) 121-106 on Saturday night. The Kings cruised out to a comfortable eleven-point lead by the end of the first quarter but quickly collapsed. They found themselves down by as much as 20 late in the third before closing the gap to 15.
For the Hawks, Trae Young and Clint Capela led the way with 28 and 24 points, respectively. Capela added 14 rebounds and the team as a whole benefitted from a slew of costly Kings turnovers. The Hawks shot 51.2% from the field and completed 36.4% from three-point range. Veteran Rajon Rondo came off the bench and provided the second-quarter spark that put the Hawks in front for the duration.
STAR OF THE GAME
De’Aaron Fox keeps proving me wrong about his value to the Kings organization. He scored 32 to add to the 30 he dropped on the Rockets on Thursday night. He only had six assists, but he almost certainly would have had more if the Kings as a team could sink shots. His ability to move the ball around and find open players continues to improve. When those players hit shots, the Kings have a chance to win every time.
In the first quarter, when the Kings were playing mistake-free ball, Marvin Bagley III was well on his way to a big game. He ended up with 12 points and 7 rebounds but seemed to disappear late in the game.
The Kings of the first quarter were playing the kind of basketball they should. That kind includes Fox moving the ball down into the paint. It is in these situations that the big men can score easy points, and they can chew up the clock and thrive on defense. The Kings have to get patient and grind out the small wins with each possession.
The Atlanta Hawks controlled the turnover game (13-to-9), which highlights something I’ve been saying about the Kings for a couple of weeks now:
They need help with fundamentals.
First, they’ll have to calm down and make sure they’re looking (or at least thinking) their way through passes. They need to work on protecting the ball on the dribble, and shoot some extra baskets in between games. They finished 19.4% as a team from beyond the arc against the Hawks. At a certain point, the viewer has to wonder, “The Kings can’t make threes, why do they keep taking them?”
@ Charlotte Hornets, Monday, March 15th, 4:00 PM PT
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