CHARLOTTE- De’ Aaron Fox made the headline prior to tip-off Tuesday night by returning to action against the Hornets, but the Kings failed to come up with a win in Charlotte.
The final score, 110-102, is a little misleading. The Hornets dominated every stat possible for the majority of the game. The Kings failed to crash the glass effectively, losing that battle 51-33 despite inserting Marvin Bagley III back into the lineup.
“I mean we didn’t do what we normally do. We kind of got away from how we play a little bit, but there is going to be nights like that. But we have to try to limit it and try to do whatever we can get out of those slumps when we get into them,” Bagley said.
Bagley finished the night with 14 points and seven rebounds after missing a few games due to injury.
Fox did deliver off the bench for his team, finishing with 19 points and eight assists in 30 minutes of action off the bench after recovering from his ankle injury. He didn’t seem to miss beat on the offensive side of the ball, but seemed to be a little out of shape a little bit on the defensive side of the ball.
“It was different. You can do all the conditioning that you want but it’s not the same as playing basketball,” Fox said. “You can go run two miles and play five minutes of basketball and feel like you ran a marathon.”
The flow of the game will come back to those two guys as time progresses. Both will be vital for their team down the road. They just need to get wrinkled back into the swing of things.
“The whole time I was out and De’Aaron was out they had a certain group and we just need to work our way back in,” Bagley said. They are both young, so the game will come back naturally. However, head coach Luke Walton knows he has his work cut out for him with his group for the rest of the season.
“I talk about the rebounding and the free throws is where you get mad at as a coach. We play a lot of games, you fly across the country, there are going to be nights where people miss shots and if that’s the reason we lose than we can be okay with that,” Luke Walton said.
Sacramento Kings veteran forward, Trevor Ariza, is learning patience playing with such a young squad on a nightly basis. The only positive he was able to take away from the tough loss was that they understand why they lost. It is his biggest adjustment compared to some of the other squads he has played for. When asked about his former teammate James Harden’s ridiculous scoring streak. He kept it as real as it can get.
“That’s James. That’s what he does, its what he’s excellent at. I’ve seen him do it so many times its like its normal. He’s probably the best scorer in the game. He believes nobody can guard him. His numbers are showing can’t nobody guard him. His next step would be to get past the western conference finals with the way he plays.”
Only time will tell how this Kings squad will grow and if James Harden’s unique style of play is able to get Ariza’s former team over the hump in a loaded Western Conference.