After a 133-day delay, we finally got some Sacramento kings basketball. Well, sort of.
The Kings faced the Miami Heat Wednesday night at the HP Fieldhouse just outside Orlando and played a meaningless scrimmage that ultimately ended in a 104-98 defeat to the squad from South Florida.
Buddy Hield came off the bench and after a slow start, heated up to finish with 19 points and five rebounds in the shortened 40-minute game. Kent Bazemore got the start at small forward and contributed 11 points and two steals, while DaQuan Jeffries had an impressive showing with 12 points on 5-6 from the field, including 2-2 from deep.
Playing without De’Aaron Fox, Harrison Barnes, Richaun Holmes, Alex Len, and Marvin Bagley, the team struggled against the Miami starting 5. An amazing barrage of 3-pointers from the Heat buried the Kings early, but once the reserves took the court, Sacramento was able to close the gap. They were never able to quite get over the hump and take a lead but held tough throughout the game with their limited roster.
The Kings played with more pace than expected with Fox not in the lineup, but defensive rotation lapses left Miami wide open way too often on the perimeter and they nailed 14 threes as a result.
With no fans in the stands, the game had an eerie feeling about it. Large digital boards tried to make the scene feel more alive, but it was more of a distraction than an enhancement. The court wasn’t very well mic’d up and the announcers sounded like they were on the other side of the country. Oh yeah, Gary Gerould and Doug Christie were actually on the other side of the country in Sacramento calling the game.
All in all, it is nice to see Kings basketball again, but this bubble season is going to be hard to get excited about if the real games are as dull as this one was. The NBA is all about the hype, and there was not much hype tonight.
Postgame: Buddy Hield
Postgame: DaQuan Jeffries
Postgame: Luke Walton