The Kings never backed down last night. Even when all hope seemed loss, they showed up to make big plays. Given the tough task of opening their season against a team that had just went to the Western Conference Finals a few months prior, Sacramento held their ground against Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets with some help from late game theatrics courtesy of Buddy Hield.
The Kings looked solid last night against a great team and all of you are probably as excited as I am. Hield looked like a sharpshooter. Fox shook off his first half struggles and helped power the Kings to victory. Barnes looked like a seasoned veteran. Tyrese Haliburton looked like one too. Marvin Bagley flashed his potential. And Hassan Whiteside showed he can anchor a defense and match up with the best bigs in the game.
If you aren’t excited to see how the rest of the season plays out after last night, I am calling into question your Kings fanhood.
There were a lot of positives last night on top of winning a nail biter. The Kings defense looked much improved from what we are used to seeing. New assistant coach Rex Kalamian has the team’s defensive rotations looking sharp and it sure does help having last year’s leading blocker down in the paint when you need a stop.
Buddy looked better than he has in awhile, knocking down triples and playing to his strengths despite his turnovers. With Fox turning into a star beside him, this duo should be able to make some noise this season.
Even Bagley, who didn’t have the greatest stat line, showed his grit going up against Jokic, fighting for boards, attempting threes, and working in the post.
Fox, Hield, and Bagley can all have great seasons, and if they do, then the rest of the league better watch out.
But what better way to win on opening night than what we witnessed yesterday, truly showing what this team is capable of.
With a loss in sights, De’Aaron gives zero Fox and makes an incredible block. With defense leading to offense, Barnes goes coast to coast and finishes the tough bucket to tie the game.
What a win over the Nuggets. Hustle plays all over in OT. De'Aaron Fox with the block to save it and Buddy Hield with the tip-in to win it.
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) December 24, 2020
Then, to end the game, Barnes comes up with a steal and tries to hammer it home on the other end but gets blocked. The trailing, and always hustling Buddy Hield picks up Barnes’ miss and tosses it in as time expires to win the game in a crazy season opener.
We can call it Buddy’s, and the team’s, early Christmas present to us.
It was a fun, thrilling game that gave us a lot to look forward to. Can the Kings play like this all season? Perhaps. But if last night was any precursor for how the rest of the year will play out, then buckle up because it’s going to be a fun ride.