The Sacramento Kings looked like they were destined for a long season when they opened up 0-5.
Things are looking a bit brighter now after a stretch of five victories in seven games. Now, the Kings will look to continue their success — and climb within a game of .500 — when they host the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday.
Sacramento certainly looked solid on Sunday when it posted a 100-99 victory over Boston to halt the Celtics’ 10-game winning streak.
It marked the third straight game and fourth in the past six that the Kings held their opponent under 100 points. Sacramento didn’t achieve that even once during the first six games of the season.
Along with the victory comes a confidence boost as the Kings put their early-season demons to rest.
“It’s a good win,” Sacramento forward Richaun Holmes told reporters after the Boston victory. “They were the best team in the NBA, so it’s a good win and it’s something for us to continue to build on. We have to continue to get better, look at some things we did well and also look at some things we need to get better at. But at the end of the day it’s a great win against a great team.”
Shooting guard Buddy Hield was the scoring hero for the Kings with a season-best 35 points on 14-of-24 shooting. He matched his season high of seven 3-pointers and also helped on the defensive end with a season-high four steals.
“Buddy obviously was spectacular,” Sacramento coach Luke Walton told reporters. “We all know he can score, and he’s going to have nights like this. But I thought he was so committed to the team winning. The way he was defending, just his all-around game.”
Backup guard Bogdan Bogdanovic played a key role off the bench with 12 points and 10 assists without a turnover. He has been seeing increased time at point guard with starter De’Aaron Fox (ankle) sidelined.
Phoenix’s last game also came against Boston and it wasn’t nearly as successful as the Kings’ venture.
Point guard Ricky Rubio was a late scratch due to back spasms and the offense never kicked into gear without him as the Suns succumbed 99-85 at home on Monday.
The Suns committed nearly as many turnovers (19) as they had assists (22) and didn’t score more than 23 points in any quarter while recording a season-low scoring output.
“That’s not us. We did not play our kind of basketball,” Phoenix coach Monty Williams told reporters afterward of the offensive performance. “We’ve proven there’s a style of play that works for us. It may not mean you’re going to win the game but it gives you a shot.”
Jevon Carter started for Rubio and had just three points and two assists in 24 minutes. He may have to start again versus Sacramento as Williams said he isn’t optimistic that Rubio will be available.
Shooting guard Devin Booker scored 20 points to increase his streak of consecutive 20-point outings to 10. He has failed to reach 20 just once this season, that coming when he scored 18 against the Denver Nuggets on Oct. 25.
Despite Monday’s loss, Booker is pleased with the club’s improvement.
“It’s hard to pinpoint just one thing that got this engine running,” Booker told reporters earlier Monday. “But we still have a long ways to go. We still have a lot of room for improvement that we’re working on. We’ve had a little bit of success so far but we have to keep moving.”
Sacramento won three of last season’s four meetings.
–Field Level Media