October 5, 2018, 1:21 am
The Sacramento Kings got off to a hot start in the first half against the Lakers, but the team was unable to maintain that hot start through the second half in a 128-123 loss.
The game was really a tale of two halves, with both teams resting plenty of their starters in the third and fourth quarters. With the Lakers already playing their third game of the preseason and the Kings heading to Seattle for a game tomorrow, it’s not too shocking to see both teams go deep into their benches.
Even with plenty of players sitting, there were more than a few positive signs for the Kings. The team received some great contributions from their young core, and the offense looked exactly the way the team has repeatedly said they want it to.
Below are some of the key notes from the loss:
Fox heats up
De’Aaron Fox was dominant in his short stint against the Lakers, draining multiple threes and finding plenty of opportunities in transition. Not only was he able to provide plenty of scoring for the team, but his energy and pace helped create opportunities for the rest of the players on the court as well.
Fox was confident with his shot and was seemingly unstoppable at times from behind the arc. The Kings will want to start seeing big games like this more regularly this season.
Jackson and Labissiere struggle
Justin Jackson and Skal Labissiere both struggled to live up to expectations last year, and neither player has done much to turn that around this preseason.
Jackson was completely unable to make an impact on the game tonight, a fairly consistent theme for him throughout his time in the NBA. Labissiere didn’t struggle quite as much as Jackson, but he appeared unsure of himself and fouled out just a few minutes into the third quarter.
Jackson should be able to find minutes last year without much small forward depth on the roster, but both players likely needed a strong preseason to carve out a decent spot in the rotation. If they aren’t able to turn things around, they could find themselves buried on the bench in the near future.
Hield finds his shot
It wouldn’t be fair to say that Buddy Hield struggled in the opening game of the preseason, but he wasn’t nearly as effective as he can be. Thursday night’s game in Los Angeles was a much different story for him.
Hield managed to find good looks for himself from behind the arc both on and off the ball. Beyond his contributions as a shooter, he also looked much more comfortable than usual attacking out of the pick and roll. Without a clear go-to scoring option on the roster, the Kings are surely hoping that they can rely on Hield to create from himself and others this upcoming season.
Bagley makes an impact
Marvin Bagley looked like a completely different player in Los Angeles after struggling to make much of an impact in his debut. Bagley worked hard to get good position inside offensively, and did a much better job of using his elite athletic ability to finish at the rim and snag rebounds.
There were certainly a few rookie mistakes throughout, but overall Bagley looked much more like the player the Kings likely thought they were getting with the second overall pick.