Kings Under Review: Hield's Offense, Fox's Defense Carry Team to Victory

There is no quit in this Sacramento Kings team. Every time they appear to fall back to Earth, they find a way to eek out a win and get moving back in the right direction.

Friday night was a perfect example. The Kings fell behind big early to a veteran Memphis Grizzlies team. They fought their way back into the game late and found a way to win in the final minutes.

It's not a perfect recipe, but it's one that continues to keep the team above the .500 mark.

Sacramento currently stands at 17-15 on the season. Here are a few positives and negatives from the last two games:


Buddy to the Rescue

Buddy Hield shook off the controversy regarding his age and put up another big night for Sacramento. The Kings' starting shooting guard struggled early like the rest of his team, shooting just 4-of-16 from the field through the first three quarters.

When he returned to the game in the fourth quarter, the 26-year-old looked like a different player. He scored 11 straight points in the middle of the fourth to help track down the Grizzlies and then sealed the win with a pair of free throws in the final seconds.

Hield dropped in 16 of his game-high 28 points in the fourth quarter. He knocked down 6-of-13 from 3-point range and added eight rebounds in 32 minutes of action.


Digging a Hole

This wasn't the first game this season that the Kings found themselves trailing big early and it likely won't be the last. Trying a new starting lineup, coach Dave Joerger's group looked lost coming out of the gate and trailed by as many as 19 points in the first half.

Sacramento shot just 29.3 percent from the field in the first half, including a 5-of-21 showing from 3-point range. They were also outrebounded 27-18 before the intermission and trailed 53-40 on the scoreboard at the start of the third quarter.

Eventually, the Kings made adjustments on the defensive end and shots started to fall on the offensive side. It's a not a strategy that is recommended, but the pace that Sacramento plays at always gives them a shot to come back.


Fox Shutdown

De'Aaron Fox started out going under screens against Mike Conley Jr. and the veteran point guard stopped, launched and hit 7-of-10 3-pointers through the first three quarters.

The Kings made an adjustment to their defense heading into the fourth and Fox cranked up the defensive intensity. The results were stunning.

Fox held Conley Jr. scoreless in the final period as the Kings erased the deficit and came out with a win. The Kings' starting point guard is a having a breakout season offensively, but he has the potential to be a star two-way player at a crucial position on the court.



Nemanja Bjelica came off the Kings' bench for the first time all season as Joerger attempted to match up with Memphis' big frontline of Marc Gasol and Jaren Jackson Jr.

Bjelica didn't respond well to the benching, missing all six of his 3-point attempts in the first half. He also picked up a technical and a flagrant foul and, to top it off, Jackson got him with a viscous poster dunk.

The 30-year-old bounced back in the second half, scoring 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting to help Sacramento come away with the win. Bjelica also found a way to even the score with Jackson, going over the rookie big with a two-handed hammer to invigorate the Golden 1 Center crowd.

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