The Sacramento Kings have been one of the biggest surprises in the league this season, thanks in large part to their explosive offense. Entering Monday night’s showdown with the Memphis Grizzlies, the Kings were scoring 117.7 points per 100 possessions, which ranked second only behind the Denver Nuggets.
Early on, they gave the Grizzlies, and the rest of the league, another reminder of their offensive firepower by pouring in 12 3-pointers in the first quarter to tie an NBA record for the most 3s made in a single quarter. They went 12-of-13 from downtown in the first and scored 47 points, and didn’t slow down the rest of the way. They finished 22-of-40 from 3 in a 133-100 win.
For the most part, it was pretty simple basketball. They played with pace, both in transition and in the halfcourt, got into the paint to collapse the defense, moved the ball, and shot confidently. Even if it wasn’t groundbreaking, putting up that kind of shooting display against the league’s best defense was still extremely impressive.
The Kings are capable of those bursts because they spread the floor with shooters around Domantas Sabonis and have five guys out there who can decide with the ball in their hands. During the first quarter, they had five different players make at least one 3, and five different players have at least one assist. Harrison Barnes led the shooting department with four makes, while Sabonis led the playmaking department with six dimes.
Entering Monday, the Kings were seventh in the league in 3-point attempts per game at 36.8 and 10th in percentage at 36.7. They have seven different players taking at least three 3s per game, and only two of them are shooting under 34 percent. Kevin Huerter, in the midst of a breakout season, leads the way at 41.4 percent, just ahead of rookie Keegan Murray at 41.3 percent.
While the Kings still have their issues on the defensive side of the ball, the offense has been so awesome that it hasn’t mattered — at least not yet. Come playoff time, the Kings’ inability to get stops may be a problem, but just getting there is the main goal for a franchise that owns the longest active playoff drought (16 years) in any major North American professional sports league.
At 27-19, the Kings sit alone in third place in the Western Conference and are on pace to end their ignominious place in the record books.