Why Do the Sacramento Kings Keep Falling Behind Big in the First Half?

If it's a strategy, it isn't a good one. The Sacramento Kings have made a habit out of falling behind big in the first half. They have the firepower and pace to get back into almost any game, but the wear and tear it puts on the team is enormous.

Over their last six games, the Kings have fallen behind by 7, 36, 22, 19, 19 and 21 points in the first 24 minutes of hoops. The team is a surprising 3-3 over the stretch.

A few numbers stand out from this grouping of games. First up, the Kings are absolutely getting destroyed on the glass, especially in the first half.

During the run, Sacramento is getting outrebounded 178-127 (-51) in the first half and 329-263 (-66) overall. That's an average of 11 rebounds per game, although most of the damage comes before the intermission.

Willie Cauley-Stein leads the team with 7.2 rebounds per game over the six games, but that number jumps to 10 boards if you remove the one game where he played just seven minutes in the blowout loss in Minnesota.

The six games correspond with the absence of rookie Marvin Bagley III, who is the team's second leading rebounder on the season at 6.1 boards in 23.1 minutes per game. Bagley is out with a knee injury, but should return to action soon.

In addition to the issues on the glass, the 3-point shooting numbers need a longer look. Last season, the Kings ranked third in the league in 3-point percentage, knocking down 37.5 percent on 24 attempts per game. The attempts ranked 30th in the league, which the Kings have improved on during the 2018-19 campaign.

So far this season, the Kings are second in percentage, hitting a spectacular 38.7 percent from deep. They've bumped their attempts up to 30 per game, which ranks 20th in the NBA.

Over the last six games, the Kings have hit 28-of-107 3-point attempts during the first half, which equates to 26.2 percent. They've bounced back after the break, hitting 47-for-98 (48 percent) from long range as they claw back into games.

Look no further than the Kings' leading scorer for your first and second half splits. Buddy Hield has shot 27-for-63 (42.9 percent) over the last six games. In the first half, he's hit 11-of-39 from deep, for 28.2 percent. With the team charging back in the second half, Hield has knocked down 16-for-24 from 3-point land, a ridiculous 66.7 percent clip.

The large volume of missed 3-point attempts in the first half helps to explain some of the team's rebounding issues. The Kings also have two or three players running out in transition on almost every possessions, which is going to hurt their rebounding numbers as well.

Whether it takes a while to get into the flow of a game or the team needs 24 minutes to stretch their legs, there are clear first half issues surfacing for the Kings over the last six contests.

How do they remedy the problem? That's a question for the players and the coaching staff. If they want to compete for a playoff spot deep into the second half, they need find a way to rebound and hit shots in the first half. Falling behind big and recovering late isn't a strategy, it's a recipe for disaster.

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