March 30, 2018, 12:36 am
Losing at home will always be disappointing, but the Kings will surely be happy with more than a few aspects of their performance Thursday night. Victor Oladipo and the Pacers managed to beat the Kings 106-103 at the Golden 1 Center, but the Kings will have plenty to be proud of after a great effort on both ends of the floor.
Sacramento came out with plenty of energy to start the game, but an early exit for Bogdan Bogdanovic left the team in a less-than-ideal situation. Luckily for the Kings, Buddy Hield and Willie Cauley-Stein did a great job running the team’s offense early in the first and gave the team a nice cushion.
The Kings were aggressive on the defensive end of the floor early and the results were somewhat mixed. The team did a great job switching and recovering defensively, but they got burned a few times trying to double team on the perimeter. De’Aaron Fox also struggled to apply pressure effectively, allowing Darren Collison and Victor Oladipo to get past him too regularly.
The second quarter featured even more activity on the defensive end of the floor, and early in the quarter the team appeared to have it figured out. Having Kosta Koufos and Vince Carter on the floor helped the team play under control and it eliminated some of the errors that the team had in the first.
Sacramento struggled defensively towards the end of the quarter and Indiana ended up taking a 61-56 lead after the half. Sacramento struggled to stop Myles Turner, who made some great passes when the situation called for it, and Bojan Bogdanovic did a great job of exploiting some of the smaller players that guarded him. Without a terrific quarter from Willie Cauley-Stein on offense, the Pacers may have been able to open up a much bigger lead.
The Kings continued to play aggressively on the defensive to start the third quarter. Bogdan Bogdaonvic forced a 24-second violation with a great play against Victor Oladipo early on, and that seemed to set the tone for the team. The two of them went right after each other in the third quarter, and the rest of the players on the court seemed to feed off of it.
De’Aaron Fox’s hot start to the quarter, combined with some strong team defense, made the team look dangerous early, but struggles from Skal Labissiere kept them from gaining much momentum.
The Kings struggled late in both the first and second quarter, but the team managed to keep the Pacers from pulling away heading into the final quarter. Some terrific play from Bogdan Bogdanovic in the final minute and a huge 3-pointer at the buzzer from Frank Mason allowed the Kings to tie the game heading into the fourth.
The big shot to end the third seemed to get Mason into a rhythm. He did a great job getting into the paint and getting good looks for himself and others early on in the fourth. Mason’s ability to run the offense allowed the Kings to rest Fox and Bogdaonvic and set them up well to make a run late.
The game remained close late into the fourth, but some bad turnovers allowed Indiana to open up an eight-point lead with three minutes left. It’s tough to point to one thing that swung the game in Indiana’s direction, but the Pacers certainly benefited from winning the turnover battle 18-10.
The Kings did a great job of staying competitive late, but a huge 3-pointer from Oladipo with just 17 seconds left gave the Pacers a comfortable four-point lead. Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic hit two huge threes to give Sacramento a chance, but the team ran out of timeouts and couldn’t finish off the comeback.
The Kings have been playing well recently, but with back to back games against two good teams this weekend it will be tough to avoid a five-game losing streak. There was plenty to be happy about despite the loss, but the Kings will need to make some adjustments to beat the Warriors on Saturday.