Bahamian Chavano “Buddy” Hield found his stroke late, hitting three three-point shots in a four-minute span in the final quarter for the Sacramento Kings but the Los Angeles Clippers weathered the storm and pulled away for a double-digit win at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California, on Wednesday night.
The Clippers won, 105-89, dropping the Kings to their second straight loss and sixth in their last eight games. Hield and the Kings have a 13-20 win/loss record on the season and have fallen to 12th in the Western Conference of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Be that as it may, they are just a half game behind the Portland Trail Blazers (13-19) for the final play-in spot in the race for the NBA playoffs.
Hield scored nine points off those three three-pointers in the fourth and finished with 16 for the game.
Getting just his sixth start of the season, the Bahamian sharp shooter got off to a slow start, going 0-for-6 from the field and 0-for-4 from distance. The second quarter wasn’t much better as he connected on just one three-point shot in six shot attempts. The Kings trailed 25-20 after one and were behind 49-38 at the half.
Hield played all 12 minutes in the third quarter but had just three shot attempts. He was 1-for-3 from the field including 1-for-2 from three-point range. The Kings pulled to within 74-68 at the end of three quarters but after point guard Tyrese Haliburton made a running finger roll at the beginning of the fourth to pull them to within 74-70, they could get no closer the rest of the way.
In the fourth quarter is when the Bahamian came alive in an attempt to salvage the game for the Kings. He knocked down three of his seven shot attempts including 3-for-6 from deep but the Clippers pulled away with a strong contribution from reserve player Serge Ibaka. He scored seven consecutive points for the Clippers during one stretch, and had 12 in the period.
For the game, Hield was 5-for-22 from the field – all five of those shots coming from three-point land. After going through a rough patch at the beginning of the month, the Bahamian has hit at least four three-pointers in seven straight games and is shooting 45.95 percent from three-point range during that span.
For the season, Hield is at 38.5 percent shooting from the field and 37.2 percent shooting from deep – both career lows. He remains second in the league in made three-pointers at 124 – 30 behind Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors (154). Curry and Hield are the only players in the league with more than 100 three-pointers.
Hield is on pace to hit 308 three-pointers this season, which would obliterate his own franchise record of 282 that he set last season. He was second in the league in made three-pointers a season ago, and has the three most prolific shooting performances from three-point territory in franchise history (2018-2021).
Hield is at 16.1 points per game this season – the third straight year he is averaging more than 16 points per game for the Kings. He is regarded as a frontrunner for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award this year.
As for the game on Wednesday, Eric Bledsoe scored 19 points to lead the Clippers, and Paul George and Ibaka scored 17 apiece. For Ibaka, it was a season-high, helping the Clippers end a three-game losing streak.
Prior to Wednesday night, the Clippers had lost three straight to Sacramento, including twice this season.
Haliburton had his fourth consecutive double-double with 22 points and a career-high 13 assists for Sacramento. Harrison Barnes had 18, Hield scored 16 and Chimezie Metu added 11 points and 10 rebounds. Tristan Thompson came off the bench to score 11 and added seven rebounds.
George made a clutch three-pointer as part of the Clippers’ game-ending 10-3 run after the Kings had pulled to within single digits with 4:57 to play.
Sacramento shot 32.6 percent in the first half, committed 19 turnovers overall and never led. After the Clippers extended their lead to 19 points following back-to-back dunks by Terance Mann and Ivica Zubac and a Bledsoe layup, the Kings made their best push and got to within 74-70 but could get no closer.
The Kings shot 40 percent for the game (34-for-85) compared to 51.2 percent for the Clippers (42-for-82).
Both teams were down several players who are in the NBA’s health and safety protocol. The Clippers were without Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris Sr., while the Kings were missing De’Aaron Fox, Davion Mitchell, Marvin Bagley III, Terence Davis, Alex Len, Louis King and Neemias Queta, along with interim coach Alvin Gentry.
Hield and the Kings will be off for Christmas and will host the Memphis Grizzlies at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento on Sunday. Memphis has won its last five against Sacramento.