The Sacramento Kings (22-30) lost their fifth straight game on Thursday night, a 113-101 stinker against the Detroit Pistons (16-36). Sacramento scored the first points of the game–an 18-foot pull-up by Maurice Harkless–but that would be their only lead all evening. The Pistons led by as many as 22 points shortly after the half. The Kings closed the gap and threatened late, down by only seven with just over two minutes to go, but couldn’t finish the job.
Former Kings bench standout Cory Joseph led a bevy of Pistons with double-digit points. Starting the game at point guard, he finished with 24 on 71% from the field and added seven assists, a block, and a steal. The Pistons as a team attacked the ball defensively, amassing four blocked shots and seven steals. They also received standout performances from Saddiq Bey (6 rebounds, 2 steals), and Isaiah Stewart (13 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block) filling in for injured starters Jerami Grant and Mason Plumlee.
De’Aaron Fox once again led the Kings in scoring with 23 points. He has done so for 32 out of the 52 games they have played so far this season, and in seventeen out of thirty losses. The Kings as a team collected nine steals and four blocked shots, but only 38 rebounds. Richaun Holmes delivered another solid performance, logging nine rebounds, two steals, and two blocks.
STAR OF THE GAME
THE FANS deserve to own this category. It is really hard to watch the Kings right now. They just don’t seem like they’re making any effort to play defense, nor to protect the ball. Bad passes, careless dribbles, sloppy shots, and bad time management are killing them. I would say a combination of these things is responsible for nearly every loss this season. We’re out here caring and suffering through it all.
Of course, it’s easy to be the armchair point guard or general manager. The truth of the matter is that we all have ideas, but we don’t have all the information. If we had the opportunity to do it the “right” way (see: “our own” way), there’s a good chance we’d mess it up just as badly. I know what I see, but I’m not so arrogant as to say I know better how to fix it.
TYRESE HALIBURTON, a Rookie-of-the-Year candidate, was dropped out of the starting lineup. The explanation given for the move was to improve size and defense. This claim is dubious at best since Haliburton ended up playing more minutes and outperforming his replacement Mo Harkless in every major statistical category.
All the same, Ty didn’t score a lot of points off the bench (9) but he did add seven assists and two steals. And if you were watching the game, you could see that the energy on the floor always went up when Tyrese was there. He attacks the ball. Yeah, he’s young, but he may one day prove himself to be a very good all-around guard.
The Kings have so many problems to sort out that it’s just impossible to cover all of them here. Of course, as I’ve been saying all season, fundamentals are the root of most of the Kings’ woes. I lose count of the bad passes early in a given game, and the dumb shots taken in traffic with tons of time left…These guys need an offseason with a skills coach.
As for the game-to-game function of the organization, I think a shakeup of the starters was a good idea. I just think that the one they did was foolish. There was no good reason to pull Haliburton out of that group. He’s one of the most dynamic players on the court at a given time. Why they don’t see the writing on the wall is beyond my understanding.
Buddy Hield is the most one-dimensional and inconsistent player on the Kings roster right now. He drags down that starting lineup, both by taking an obscene amount of bad looks at three and just not playing defense or even trying to make noise inside.
Both Terence Davis and Delon Wright have shown more range than Hield in just a few games. If the Kings want to improve that starting lineup, moving Hield to a roleplayer spot off the bench has to be a part of it.
On the road again…
@ Utah Jazz, Saturday, April 10, 6:00 PM PT
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Sacramento Kings Pummeled by Pistons Sacramento Kings Pummeled by Pistons
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.