March 15, 2018, 12:52 am
The Kings managed to escape with a 123-117 win in overtime thanks to some late-game heroics by De’Aaron Fox, again.
The Kings were one step behind the injury-hampered Heat for much of the first quarter, falling behind by as many as 11 points. Miami were without Hassan Whiteside and Dwyane Wade but you certainly couldn’t tell early on. Bam Adebayo, Whiteside’s replacement, was controlling the paint and making life difficult for Sacramento. He grabbed nine rebounds in the quarter alone.
Zach Randolph scored a quick six points before heading to the bench, and a late run by the Kings’ bench helped close the gap to 31-24 after the first 12 minutes. The Heat are a stout defensive unit, restricting teams to 102.4 points per game which is good for fourth in the league, but the Kings remained steady on offense.
The Kings opened up the second quarter on a 12-2 run to take the lead. Miami’s defense seemed to slip when Adebayo was off the floor, and the Kings took full advantage of his absence. Sacramento kept their foot down offensively and built themselves a nice lead at halftime, up 59-52. The Kings managed to outscore the Heat 35-21 in the second quarter, led by Randolph’s 13 points, six rebounds and three assists.
Randolph was the only King in double figures at that point, and while he was playing well, it was the steady balance of offense that was giving Sacramento the edge. They were scoring from various different parts of the court and really making the Heat work. Every single Kings’ player that played in the first half scored at least two points.
Taking care of the ball is something the Kings have done increasingly well of late and they continued that trend in the first half, committing just three turnovers.
Wayne Ellington had 13 points at the half for Miami, shooting 3-of-6 from three. Goran Dragic added 14.
The offense continued to produce at a high level as the game entered the third quarter. The Kings extending their lead to 91-79 through three periods of action. At this point they were shooting 57.6 percent from the field.
The Heat fought back in the fourth. They clamped down of defense, reaffirming their reputation coming into the game. Miami were sending help defense Randolph’s way effectively taking him out of the game. The Heat worked it all the way back, holding a two-point edge with three seconds to play. Enter De’Aaron Fox. Fox’s late-game heroics were on display yet again as he nailed a floater surrounded by four Heat players to send the game to overtime.
The Kings were able to assert themselves early in overtime and create some separation. Big buckets by Fox and Bogdanovic were enough to get them across the line, extending their perfect overtime record to 3-0. The Heat lost their ninth straight game on the road.
Buddy Hield led the way in scoring for the Kings, posting 24 points on 9-of-16 shooting and adding six rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block. Randolph recorded 22 points and nine rebounds on 9-of-16 shooting (2-of-4 from three).
Fox is getting better and better with each game he plays. He wasn’t just the hero tonight, but he turned in a solid performance overall too with 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting and just one turnover. He’s really starting to make his presence felt during each game and the team is experiencing some positive results when that happens.
The Kings shot a tidy 51.1 percent from the field to Miami’s 40.8 percent. The Heat missed a lot of easy shots, but the Kings should also get credit for some pesky defense down the stretch and at times during the first half. When they’re motivated and willing to defend this team can actually be quite effective.
Sacramento will now head back out onto the road beginning Friday night against the Warriors, and followed by a trip to Utah on Saturday.