Sports

Hield scores 26 points in Kings 2020 debut win

It looked like the Sacramento Kings were going to lose their ninth straight contest on Thursday night but Bahamian and Kings shooting guard Chavano “Buddy” Hield dropped 26 points as his team rallied to a 128-123 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California.

Hield got help from point guard De’Aaron Fox who scored 10 of his 27 points in the final five minutes of the game.

The Kings got off to a rocky start in the first quarter as the Grizzlies dominated to win the first quarter 42-26. That dominance included a 10-0 run when the score moved from 30-21 to 40-21 with 1:32 remaining in the first quarter.

With the Grizzlies up 42-26 heading into the second quarter, the Kings needed to find a way to get the game under control.

Kings big man Richaun Holmes made a 14-foot jumper as his team pulled within 10 points with 6:47 remaining in the second quarter. The score was 48-38 in favor of the visitors.

The Grizzlies were in the lead with the score at 58-51 with 2:32 remaining before the intermission.

The Kings ended the quarter on a 12-2 run to take a 63-60 lead at the half.

The fight that the Kings showed in the second quarter is what Hield has been calling for during the team’s losing streak that dates back to December 17, when they lost 110-102 to the Charlotte Hornets.

“It’s terrible. The product we put on the floor is not 10 games below .500, we’re way better than that. Obviously, we’re not winning games to show that. We’re way better than this and we need to figure it out,” Hield told reporters after their home loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night.

Against the Grizzlies, Hield finished with seven rebounds and three assists to go along with a block. The Grand Bahama native also connected on five of his nine three-point attempts.

Fox is someone that the Bahamian also felt that the Kings have to run with. Fox delivered, finishing with nine assists, five steals, four rebounds and two blocks.

The third quarter was won by the Grizzlies who outscored the home team 37-27 to take a 97-90 lead heading into the final quarter.

In the fourth quarter, the Kings went up by four points on a Hield layup with 4:01 left in the game. The score was 110-106 with the Kings up.

Grizzlies guard Ja Morant made a floater with 3:44 remaining to bring his team within two points, 112-110.

That was the closest the visitors got to the Kings before the Kings closed the game out on an 18-11 run.

The game was an evenly matched one on the offensive side but the Kings showed more toughness on offense as they had eight blocks and nine steals. The Grizzlies had four steals and zero swatted shots.

That win gives the Kings a 13-22 win-loss record. They are now 11th place in the Western Conference.

Hield is averaging 20.4 points per contest to go with 5.1 percent. He has connected on 128 three-pointers so far this season having connected on 278 total three-pointers last season.

Last season, he finished fourth in the entire league and made three-pointers with 278, which was a new franchise record and the seventh-most productive performance from downtown in a season in NBA history. This season, he is on pace to surpass that total, averaging a career-high 3.7 made three-pointers per game. Houston Rockets guard James Harden (378), Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (354) and Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George (292) were the only players to hit more three-pointers than Hield last season.

Hield and the Kings will be at home for tonight’s contest against the New Orleans Pelicans. After that game, they will play the defending Western Conference champions, the Golden State Warriors, on Monday, which will be their final game in a four-game homestand.

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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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