Kings Under Review: Rookie Bigs, Bench Mob Impress in Blowout Vs. Hawks

SACRAMENTO -- Home is where the heart is. It's also where the wins are hiding for the road-weary Kings.

After a tough 2-4 trip, the Kings got back on the right track Wednesday evening with a 135-113 drubbing of the Atlanta Hawks. The victory was the fifth straight for the Kings on their home floor, and they are now 15-10  at Golden 1 Center this center.

With the victory, the Kings improved to 26-25 on the season. Here are the positives and the negatives from the win. 


Harry and Marv

The Kings are building a fun young core. De'Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Bogdan Bogdanovic have already stepped forward to cement their place as long-term fixtures in the rotation. Rookies Harry Giles III and Marvin Bagley III are trying to join that group.

Giles made an immediate impact when he stepped on the floor against Atlanta. He slowed John Collins down in his first look and then took over the game when he was needed early in the third quarter. The 20-year-old has struggled to find his footing after sitting out most of the last three seasons, but he was dominant on both ends of the court on Wednesday.  He finished with a career-high 20 points on 10-of-12 shooting, to go with seven rebounds.

Not to be outdone, Bagley used his advanced post game and springy legs to do damage in the key. Bagley worked over Atlanta's front line for 17 points and 12 rebounds in 28 minutes. It was the seventh double-double for the second overall selection in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Giles is still wildly inconsistent, which he willingly admitted following the game, but the talent is there. Bagley is further ahead of schedule, but the two have the potential to anchor Sacramento's front court for the next decade.


Second Unit

With Sacramento's starters stumbling out of the gate, coach Dave Joerger turned to his second unit and they changed the course of the game. Giles and Bagley led the way, but Yogi Ferrell, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Justin Jackson all made an impact in the blowout win.

Ferrell scored 11 points, and handed out four assists in 25 minutes of play. Bogdanovic struggled with his shot early, but continued to stay aggressive and finished the night with 16 points and seven assists. Jackson chipped in six points, three assists and three rebounds.

The Kings bench outscored the Hawks' second unit 80-49. In fact, Sacramento's reserves outscored their own starting unit 80-55.

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Fox Struggles

There is a long list of Kings players that are looking forward to putting the month of January behind them. Jackson, Iman Shumpert and Nemanja Bjelica have all struggled to hit shots in the month, which has hurt Sacramento's ability to stretch the floor.

While his dip in production isn't as dramatic, De'Aaron Fox had a lull in production in January as well. Fox finished the month averaging 15.4 points and 5.9 assists, both season lows. He also shot just 43.1 percent from the field and 28.2 percent from behind the arc.

Against the Hawks, Fox struggled early before taking over for a stretch in the third quarter. He finished the night with nine points and seven assists in 22 minutes of action, although he sat the entire fourth quarter with the game out of reach.

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Defying the Odds

Las Vegas oddsmakers placed the Kings' projected season win total at 25.5 games to start the year. Even when Sacramento started off hot, they still walked into most games as underdogs, as it took time for the bookies to come around.

With 31 games remaining in the 2018-19 season, the Kings officially eclipsed the projected win total when they picked up their 26th victory on Wednesday.

This means nothing in the real world of the NBA, but it shows you how the Kings are blowing past preseason expectations. They have reached the month of February over the .500 mark for the first time since the 2004-05 season, and they remain firmly at the back end of the playoff chase.

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