The Sacramento Kings (19-25) escaped with a narrow victory at home on Wednesday night, 110-108 over the Atlanta Hawks (22-22). The Kings kept gaining big leads, controlling by eleven points at the end of the third quarter. The Hawks, who had been 8-2 in their previous ten games, continuously fought their way back into the mix. The Kings finally won through a broad team effort led by big scoring from De’Aaron Fox, who finished with 37 points.
Third-year point guard Trae Young posted a solid 29 points and 9 assists for the Hawks. Veteran center and defensive stalwart Clint Capela added another 25 points in addition to his 17 rebounds. The Hawks had six players score in double digits, including 20 from bench guard and former King, Bogdan Bogdanovic.
STAR OF THE GAME
De’Aaron Fox continues his recent run of high scoring, increasing his average to almost 29 points per game over the last ten. He shot 13-for-20 on the night, raising his shooting percentage to 50.2 over that same span. He also finished 75% from beyond the arc and 8-for-9 from the free-throw line.
It is safe to say that De’Aaron Fox, NBA Star has arrived in Sacramento over the last few games. His production is a significant part of their recent success, having won four games out of their past five after suffering a dismal nine-game slide a month ago. He’s still very young, but he’s lighting the way for the Kings, who have improved behind his leadership-by-example.
Hassan Whiteside, who has been averaging less than fifteen minutes per game this season, made the most of his time on the floor. In just 18 minutes of game time, Whiteside recorded twelve rebounds and two blocked shots. He added eight points to that, exactly his average this season.
With the trade deadline mere hours away, it stands to reason that Whiteside might have been trying to increase his value. Whether that’s true or not, the Kings got a defensive performance out of him that helped them win a big game against a tough foe. Sometimes, you just can’t ask for more than that.
(Honorable Mention – Tyrese Haliburton’s balanced stat line: 17 points, seven assists, five rebounds, a steal, and a block.)
In the minutes after the game, the Kings traded veteran guard Cory Joseph to the Pistons for journeyman Delon Wright. Joseph has given the most consistent effort for the Kings, making the trade a bit of a disappointment. However, in the hours between now and the trade deadline, that there may come a move that clarifies the absorption of such a big contract (~$8mil) for a sixth-man guard.
Buddy Hield remains inconsistent. He started fast with 11 points in the first quarter and fizzled out to finish with 14 on 5-for-18 shooting. Hield, a touted three-point shooter, was only 30.7% from three-point range. On top of that, he rarely adds any other significant production. He has proven himself to be a one-dimensional player, which is a luxury the Kings can no longer afford at $24mil a year. It would be no surprise if the Delon Wright move becomes an effort to backfill a Hield trade.
vs Golden State Warriors, Thursday, March 25th, 7:00 PM PT
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SACRAMENTO KINGS SHOOT DOWN HAWKS SACRAMENTO KINGS SHOOT DOWN HAWKS
Ryan Dawley is a jack-of-all-trades writer, producing work in the fields of journalism, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, technical writing, and academic writing. He has been a fan of the Sacramento Kings since they snuck into the first round of the 1999 playoffs, when they nearly defeated the defending Western Conference champion Utah Jazz. His work for the Peach Basket has been covering all things Kings since February 2021. When he’s not writing, Ryan is usually absorbing the ins and outs of drawing, photography, and design; or he may be found thumping his bass guitar in front of the television. He was born and resides in Reno, NV.