Hield, Kings continue impressive season

As a prelude to his 25th birthday on Monday, Bahamian Chavano “Buddy” Hield matched a season-high in points in over 50 percent shooting from the floor in another win for the Sacramento Kings.

The Kings is one of the more exciting young teams in the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the Bahamian sharp shooter is a key reason why. Hield continues to average career-highs in points, rebounding and assists, and is a key component in the Kings’ best start in 14 years.

Hield leads the Kings in scoring at 19.2 points per game, is fifth in rebounding at 5.1 rebounds per game, and fourth in assists at 2.5 per game. He is also averaging a career-high in minutes played (31.1), field goal percentage (48) and is once again among the league leaders in three-point shooting. Only player in the league is averaging a higher three-point percentage who has taken a greater volume of shots – two-time Most Valuable Player (MVP) Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors. Curry is shooting 48 percent from distance compared to 42.5 percent for Hield.

‘Buddy Buckets’ remains on fire though. On Sunday night, Hield matched a season-high with 28 points on 12-for-23 shooting from the field in 39 minutes of play. He was 3-for-9 from distance and added four rebounds and two assists. The Kings went into the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, and won 120-113 over the Dallas Mavericks. It was their third victory in their last four games, and sixth in their last eight.

The Kings improved to a 16-13 win-loss record on the season and are in a three-way tie for sixth in the NBA’s Western Conference, just a half game ahead of the Mavericks and just four games behind the conference-leading Denver Nuggets. They were in the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, playing the Minnesota Timberwolves last night, but the result of that game was unavailable up to press time.

As for the game on Sunday night, they ended the 11-game home winning streak of the Mavericks and spoilt Dirk Nowitski’s home debut.

Hield and explosive point guard De’Aaron Fox form one of the most dynamic backcourt duos in the league. They have both played and started each game for the Kings this season.

Fox was prolific on Sunday night as well, matching Hield for game-high honors with 28. He added five rebounds, three assists and three steals. Nemanja Bjelica and Bogdan Bogdanovic contributed 15 points apiece, and Willie Cauley-Stein added a dozen.

Impressive rookie Luka Doncic, of Slovenia, led Dallas with 28 points, nine assists and six rebounds. DeAndre Jordan had a monster night on the glass with a whopping 23 rebounds. He added eight points, three assists and three blocks.

Coming off a stinging home loss to the two-time defending champions Golden State Warriors, in which they blew a 10-point lead in the final three minutes, on Friday, Hield and the Kings executed perfectly down the stretch on Sunday to record the impressive road win. Collectively as a team, they shot 46.9 percent from the floor (46-for-98) compared to 41.7 percent (40-for-96) for the Mavericks.

Scoring-wise, Hield is currently enjoying his best stretch of the season. In his last three games, prior to last night, he scored 28, 27 and 20 points.

He is having the best season of his three-year NBA career. The 6’4” guard from Freeport, The Bahamas, who turned 25 yesterday, has 82 three-point shots this season. He is on pace to hit 230 three-point shots which would be a career-high. He had 176 last season, and 148 in his rookie campaign for the Kings and New Orleans Pelicans combined. His string of at least one three point shot in 36 straight games, dating back to last season, was broken at the end of November against the Los Angeles Clippers, and he has hit at least two in each game since including five in back-to-back games against the Timberwolves and Warriors last week.

Hield leads all third-year players in scoring, three pointers made and three-point shooting among those with at least 150 attempts. He is fifth in rebounding among third-year players and ninth in assists.

Hield has scored 20 or more points 15 times this season, including five straight at one point. He has scored 20 or more points in six of his last seven games. Hield has started every game at two-guard for the Kings this season and is averaging 31.1 minutes per game.

The Kings now return to the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California for three home games – against Oklahoma City, Memphis and New Orleans.

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Sheldon Longley

Sheldon Longley joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2001 as a sports reporter. He was promoted to sports editor in 2008. Sheldon has an extensive background in sports reporting. He covered three Olympic Games and three world championships, along with multiple smaller regional and local games.

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