Well, the streak was bound to be snapped at some point. After the beam was lit for seven straight games, it definitely needed a break so that it wouldn’t burn out. And after a long night in which they trailed throughout the game, the Sacramento Kings gave it one, as they fell to the Atlanta Hawks, 115-106.
Before I dive into all the negatives from tonight, there were a couple positives worth highlighting.
The first is rebounding. Led by Domantas Sabonis, who finished with 14, the Kings — who were ranked 26th in rebounding before tonight — actually won the boards. Though they only managed to grab just one more off the glass than their opponent, it is definitely nice to see some progress in that aspect of the game.
The second positive was Malik Monk. Monk played phenomenally, and recorded a season-high 27 points, second amongst all scorers. He also sparked some life into this team at moments when they looked desperate. Having a player with his type of offensive capabilities on the bench is invaluable and will lead to many more wins in the future.
Now…the bad stuff.
Keegan Murray has been in a shooting slump for the lesser part of two weeks now. In particular, he is struggling to shoot from deep. In his last five games, he has made just a single three in 15 attempts. But it’s not just his shot that’s off. Murray just isn’t walking around with the type of swagger he carried at the beginning of the season. He finished tonight’s game with just 4 points, going 0-5 from the field. His shooting surely could have helped the Kings at least make it more competitive tonight.
But even if Murray was out of his slump, the King’s defense was absolutely atrocious, giving up baskets consistently at all three levels. Trae Young looked like he was in a shootaround tonight, garnering 35 points while shooting 58% from the field. There were multiple possessions where the Kings literally didn’t guard Young and even when they did, it made no difference.
The Kings have looked fantastic over this recent stretch, and have done more than just inspire hope in their city. They have shown they can play with the best of the NBA. However, if they don’t want to be in a situation where they need to go on another seven-game win streak in the Spring just to make the play-in tournament, they need to get much better on defense… quickly.