The Sacramento Kings couldn’t hold off the San Antonio Spurs from snapping their two-game losing streak on Sunday night, proving rather difficult to survive a 41-point assault in the third quarter against a veteran squad.
Rookie shooting guard Buddy Hield has taken the loss in stride, though, harnessing it as a boost for his confidence and an experience he can learn from in the future.
“I grew some confidence this game, seeing where I can compete at,” Hield told Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee, after scoring a team-high 18 points. “If you can play with these guys, you can play with anybody else.”
The Spurs benefitted from unlikely sources, as veterans Pau Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge led the way, while star forward Kawhi Leonard struggled shooting a mere 3-of-12 from the floor, totaling 12 points.
“Kawhi’s always active,” said an admiring Hield. “And just watching him, he’s always trying to set a tone on defense and change the game. And just competing, he’s a two-way player and still competing on the offensive end, too. Going against him. I’m taking the challenge, too.”
The Kings have now lost two in a row and 10 of their last 13 games, pushing them that much further from playoff contention at 6.5 games back from the eighth-seeded Denver Nuggets.
“It’s a high level they’re playing at,” Hield said of the Spurs. “They’ve got a lot of vets, professionals on their team that understand the game and it’s a great example us young guys can learn from them because one day that’s what we’re trying to get. Playing with that continuity and the flow they have. It’s exciting to watch them play.”
Hield has flourished since coming to the Kings roughly a month ago, the 23-year-old guard has scored in double-figures in 11 of his last 12 games since being acquired by Sacramento, averaging 13.9 points per game in March.