Sports

Big wins for ‘Buddy’ and DeAndre in NBA

It was a shooting night to forget for Bahamian Chavano ‘Buddy’ Hield, the starting two-guard of the Sacramento Kings in the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Despite an off shooting night, Hield kept shooting, and with 38 seconds left in the game, he completed a four-point play that helped seal a 128-124 victory for the Kings as they turned back the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night.

At that point, Hield was 2-for-14 from the field and ended up finishing the night 3-for-15 and 2-for-9 from the three-point line. He finished the game with 10 points, three rebounds and three assists in 35 minutes of play in the home victory for the Kings at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California. That was his second straight game scoring just 10 points, but is averaging 15.1 points, four rebounds and 2.5 assists per game for the season.

Fellow Bahamian in the NBA DeAndre Ayton, the starting center of the Phoenix Suns, finished with 11 points and a season- and game-high 16 rebounds to help his team win 123-115 over the Toronto Raptors at the Phoenix Arena in Phoenix, Arizona, on Wednesday night. Ayton finished the night shooting 5-for-8 from the field in 31 minutes of play.

The Suns are tied with the Los Angeles Lakers for the best win-loss record in the Western Conference of the NBA at 6-2. They are winners of five of their last six games. The Raptors fell to 1-6 on the season.

Hield helped the Kings overcome a career night from Bulls’ guard Coby White who finished with a game-high 36 points in the loss. The Bahamian sharpshooter helped the Kings avoid going below .500 on the season as they are now 4-4. The Bulls dropped to 4-5 on the season.

Hield and the Kings had to overcome the loss of starting point guard De’Aaron Fox. Fox left the game after five minutes of play in the first quarter with an apparent hamstring injury. He did not return.

In the first quarter, Hield made only one shot, a three-pointer, and the Kings led 28-25 after 12 minutes of play.

The 2016 NBA Draft sixth overall pick only took one shot in the second quarter – a floating jump shot that rimmed out. He finished the half 1-for-6 from the field. Although Hield only had four points at the half, and they were playing without Fox, the Kings led 62-59.

Coming out of the intermission, the 2020 NBA Three-Point Competition Champion shooting woes continued. He attempted six field goals in the third quarter but only connected on one. It was a cutting layup with 9:08 remaining in the third quarter to put his team up 69-65. Kings center Richuan Holmes picked up his third assist of the night on that play.

With the score deadlocked at 93 to start the fourth quarter, Bulls’ small forward Patrick Williams scored a layup to put the bulls ahead. The Kings held a slim 120-119 lead with 1:34 remaining. At that point, Hield came off a screen from Holmes at the top of the key and pulled up for a three-pointer that went in while being fouled by former Kings’ player Garett Temple on the play. Hield converted the four-point play to put his team up 124-119. The Bulls didn’t go away as time ran down but the Kings held on for the win.

Holmes was the high-point man for the Kings with 24 points.

The Kings play their second of seven consecutive home games when they welcome the Raptors to the Golden 1 Center tonight. Tip-off is at 10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST).

For Ayton and the Suns, they benefited from 21 made three-pointers in the game – nine in the first half and 12 in the second half. It was the fourth time in franchise history that the Suns made 20 or more three-pointers in a game.

Ayton was active on the boards early in the game as he opened the first quarter with seven rebounds, but had just two points in the opening quarter. The Raptors led, 25-22, after the first period.

By the end of the first half, Ayton had 11 boards to go along with his six points. The Suns held a slim 58-54 lead at the half.

The Suns picked up the pace of the game in the third quarter, going on a 12-0 scoring run to go up 70-60 with 8:54 remaining. They hit four three-pointers in a row. The Raptors tried to make a comeback but the Suns kept the pressure on and led 96-87 heading into the fourth quarter.

Ayton gave his team a 15-point cushion when he was fouled while making a layup with 7:02 remaining in the fourth quarter. He sank his final point of the night to complete the and-one play to put his team up 114-99, and the Suns held on for the victory.

The Suns dished out 30 assists in the game compared to 18 for the Raptors.

Ayton returns to action tonight when he and the Suns face the Detroit Pistons (1-7) at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. EST.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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