The Sacramento Kings defeated one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference tonight, the Miami Heat with 105-97. It was the 20th win of the season for Luke Walton’s guys, who showed signs of life in recent times.
“Overall, we just didn’t play a smart game,” said Erik Spoelstra following the game. “We had lot of errors, lot of mental breakdowns.”
With 23 points, and six threes, Bogdan Bogdanovic led the way for the hosts who now have five wins over the last seven contests. And that is exactly when Walton decided to swap Buddy Hield and Bogdanovic in the starting lineup, choosing to make Buddy the second unit leader, and introduce Bogi as the starter.
“My experience is just to move the ball and keep it simple, and whoever is open you got to be ready to shoot,” said Bogie.
We’ve already mentioned several times, that the Kings played much better with the Serb in the starting lineup. At the early stage of the season, he was playing instead of De’Aaron fox who was injured, and the Kings were fantastic, posting several wins in a row.
His calmness and organizing skills are giving a specific tone to the Kings’ run-and-gun game, articulating the best this young team has to offer, especially in the attack.
As for this match, the hosts controlled things on the court pretty much throughout the entire time. They jumped out the Heat early on making an 11-3 lead, and extending it throughout the second period, once Sacramento even had a 50-39 edge.
Miami started the second half much better, and they even had a slight lead, but midway through the third, the Kings once again seized the control of the floor. The last 12 minutes were a routine for the franchise from California’s capital and they even created a 17-point difference 105-88.
Sacramento exploited Miami’s turnovers, with the Heat posting 20 of them, and conceding 31 points off the same. Also, the hosts have been excellent from the three-point territory, with 19 hits in 44 attempts.
“You force 20 turnovers for 31 (points), you are doing something right on defense,” stated Sacramento’s coach. “Part of our focus the last couple of days at practice has been getting more (deflections).”
Besides Bogdanovic, who will, by the way, stay for sure in the team after the latest trades Sacramento made, ht Kings had Hield with 21 points, seven boards, and five assists. The fantastic shot added five threes also.
De’Aaron Fox scored 16 points, with 8 dimes, while Nemanja Bjelica played another superb match, scoring 15 points, from five threes, missing just one downtown shot and posting 8 assists and 6 boards.
“We wanted him on the court as much as possible tonight, whether he was shooting threes and stretching (the floor) or playing in the middle distributing,” said Walton.
The hosts were heavily handicapped because of Jimmy Butler’s absence. Bam Adebayo took over the wheel instead of Miami’s All-Star scoring 26 points, and going 12-for-16 from the field. Duncan Robinson added 18, all of them from three-pointers, and Kendrick Nunn had 16. Goran Dragic contributed 14 off the bench.
Apart from Robinson, the Heat’s starting lineup has been bad when shooting for three – 2-for-17.
Miami (34-17) posted its second loss on its Western Conference tour. After losing to Clippers, they suffered another blow, and they yet to have four more stops before coming back home. The Heat now travels to Portland, then San Francisco, Utah, Atlanta, and goes back to Florida.
As for the Kings (20-31) they meet the Spurs in back-to-back tomorrow, and after that go to Milwaukee, before visiting the Mavericks.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.