SACRAMENTO -- Bogdan Bogdanovic turned an ordinary loss into an extraordinary win Thursday evening at Golden 1 Center. Down two with no time remaining on the clock, the Kings' sixth man buried a 27-foot 3-pointer over the outstretched arms of Los Angeles Lakers center Tyson Chandler to give Sacramento an improbable, 117-116 victory.
It was a wild finish that saw the Kings fall behind big in the fourth quarter, and then rally to the finish line. Sacramento's players mobbed Bogdanovic on the court as a stunned sold-out crowd celebrated the win.
Sacramento currently stands at 19-16 on the season. Here are a few positives and one negative from the dramatic win over the Lakers.
The Kings have been waiting for Bogdanovic to find his rhythm. The sophomore guard didn't just hit the game winner at the buzzer, he put the team on his back in the fourth quarter.
After a knee injury cost him the first 10 games of the season and a foot injury slowed him last week, the 26-year-old wing is starting to look more like himself.
He took on the scoring load for the Kings against the Lakers, finishing the night with 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting and 3-for-7 from long range. 12 of those points came in the final period as the Kings climbed back into the game.
Coach Dave Joerger called a timeout to set up the final play with 4.5 seconds remaining. According to the players in the locker room, it was designed specifically for Bogdanovic -- who had proven to be the hot hand throughout the game.
The Other Three Starters
De'Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield are the focal points this season for the Kings. But, the Kings wouldn't be three games over .500 without the contributions of Iman Shumpert, Nemanja Bjelica and Willie Cauley-Stein.
Finally cleared to play in back-to-backs, Shumpert put on a show from the perimeter. The veteran wing knocked down 6-of-8 from long range to account for all 18 of his points. He also drew the tough assignment of guarding lanky Laker Brandon Ingram, and Shumpert did his best to slow the 6-foot-9 forward.
Bjelica failed to hit a 3-ball, but still managed to score 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting to go with six rebounds and three assists. He struggled to stick with Kyle Kuzma, but the athletic four is a tough cover for most teams.
Lastly, Cauley-Stein is a polarizing figure in Sacramento. Some nights he looks lost, other nights he's a force to be reckoned with. Against the Lakers, the 7-footer posted 19 points, eight rebounds and five assists while running a team-high plus-14 in plus-minus. He was active on both ends of the court, and made an impact in a close game.
Justin Jackson was fouled shooting a 3-pointer with 59.6 seconds remaining and the Kings trailing by three points. He stepped to the line and knocked down all three to tie the game at 112-112.
After a Kuzma three put the Lakers up 115-112, Fox stepped to the line with 39.7 seconds remaining and hit a pair of free throws to pull back within one.
In a game that came down to the final shot, the Kings made all five of their freebies from the line in the final minute.
If making free throws doesn't seem like a big deal, look no further than the miss from the stripe by Ingram for the Lakers with 4.8 seconds remaining. He left a door open for a game-winner, and Bogdanovic made him pay.
The Disappearance of Buddy Hield
Over the last two games, the Clippers and Lakers appeared to put a focus on stopping Hield and it has hurt the Kings' offense. Sacramento's leading scorer failed to hit a 3-pointer for the second straight game, and finished with just six points in 2-of-8 shooting.
Teams are making adjustments to the Kings' style of play. It's a huge game of chess, and it's up to Hield and the coaching staff to make a counter-adjustment.
In the short term, Joerger has turned to Bogdanovic to pick up the scoring slack and he seems to be getting back on track.