Why Kings Keep Falling Behind in First Half, and How They Can Fix It

If it's a strategy, it isn't a good one.

The Sacramento Kings recently 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 seven, 36, 22, 19, 19 and 21 points in the first 24 minutes of hoops. The team is a surprising 3-3 over the stretch, though.

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

During the run, Sacramento is being 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 Kings 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 Kings' second-leading rebounder on the season at 6.1 boards in 23.1 minutes per game. Bagley is out with a knee injury, but he 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 NBA 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 this season.

So far, 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 just 26.2 percent. They've bounced back after the break, hitting 47 of 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 of 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 of 24 from 3-point land, a ridiculous 66.7 percent clip.

[RELATED: Kings' backups step up in otherwise disappointing loss]

The large volume of missed 3-point attempts in the first half helps explain some of the Kings' rebounding issues. They also have two or three players running out in transition on almost every possession, which hurts 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 its legs, first-half issues have surfaced 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 to 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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