How Marvin Bagley fared in his first game back and what his teammates are saying

Rookies Harry Giles III and Marvin Bagley III score combined 37 points in Kings win over Hawks

Sacramento Kings beat the Atlanta Hawks 135-113.
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Sacramento Kings beat the Atlanta Hawks 135-113.

The Kings’ top rookie has returned.

Marvin Bagley III played during Sacramento’s 126-120 loss to the Boston Celtics on Thursday night.

The 6-foot-11 forward missed the Kings’ previous five games due to a sprained left knee suffered in an overtime home loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Feb. 27.

Bagley played 19 minutes and finished with 14 points and six rebounds. He shot 5 for 9, including 1 of 2 from 3-point range.

“He brings another dimension to us, especially his rebounding ability,” said Kings guard Buddy Hield, who scored a game-high 34 points. “It’s good to have a guy like him back.”

Bagley wasn’t on an announced restriction, but his time Thursday was about nine minutes lower than what he averaged in the 20 games before the injury, which was his second this season on the same knee. He suffered a bone bruise Dec. 14 at home against the Golden State Warriors and missed 12 games, including one for load management.

Before the team announced his return Thursday morning, Bagley showed spring on a few dunks during the morning shoot-around at a Boston-area college. He said he felt confident but had not yet heard if he would get the green light to play. He was cleared to resume basketball activities Saturday morning but didn’t practice with the team right away.

“I took the time to make sure I was ready before coming back and feel comfortable doing all things I can do,” Bagley said. “I’m looking forward to getting back out there with my teammates.”

His team is glad to have him back in the game.

“It was definitely great for us,” Kings guard De’Aaron Fox said. “He came out really aggressive. ... I think it’s always good to have him out there with us.”

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Noel Harris is a sports reporter for The Sacramento Bee, with a focus on the Kings. He’s been in professional journalism for more than 18 years. His roles have included sports editor at The Modesto Bee and news editor at two smaller California newspapers, as well as online producer and copy editor.