Here are three takeaways from the Kings’ 144-109 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday at Fiserv Forum:
Pace of play
The marquee matchup of the day in the NBA featured two of the hottest teams.
The Bucks had won seven of eight to start the season. The Kings had won five in a row and six of seven. Both teams came in ranked among the top five in scoring and pace, but this was one track meet the Kings couldn’t win.
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The Kings (6-4) staged a 12-0 run to go up 14-7 early, but that lead was short-lived. Milwaukee (8-1) quickly regained control and dropped 39 points on the Kings in the opening period. The Bucks went on to score more than 30 points in each quarter.
The Bucks shot 48.4 percent from the field. They made a franchise-record 22 3-pointers on a staggering 56 attempts, shooting 39.3 percent from beyond the arc. They posted their highest scoring total in a non-overtime game since scoring 147 against the San Antonio Spurs on March 18, 1979.
The Bucks were led by star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, who left the game to “MVP” chants with 7:48 remaining after posting 26 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists, his second triple-double of the season. Antetokounmpo led eight players who scored in double figures for Milwaukee.
The Bucks attacked the rim more aggressively than the Kings and were generously rewarded with 33 free-throw attempts.
When the Bucks finally finished their parade to the charity stripe, they had made 30 free throws while the Kings were just 11 of 22. The disparity was most obvious in the first half, when the Bucks attempted 13 free throws and the Kings only four.
The Kings’ free-throw woes continued a troubling trend that was easier to overlook during their winning streak. While they have done a better job of drawing fouls and getting to the line this season, they have not shot well. They are last in the NBA in free-throw shooting at 65.2 percent.
Jackson has hot hand
The Kings received an encouraging performance from Justin Jackson, the second-year small forward who entered the game shooting 37.5 percent from the field and 19.4 percent from 3-point range.
Jackson scored a career-high 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the field. He made 4 of 7 from 3-point range, tying his career high for 3-point goals in a game. He scored 10 total points in the first three games of the trip.
Jackson eclipsed his previous career high of 20 points, set last season in a 105-90 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.
Jackson was one of five Kings who scored in double figures. Buddy Hield had 19 points. De’Aaron Fox had 15 points, six rebounds and six assists. Marvin Bagley III and Troy Williams scored 11 points apiece.