Kings swingman Iman Shumpert talks about his teammates
Here are three takeaways from the Kings’ 117-113 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night at Golden 1 Center:
Shumpert shows out again
Iman Shumpert seems to like playing against the Thunder.
The veteran swingman got off to a hot start, scoring the first five points of the game and tallying 23 going into the break. He made four 3-pointers to tie his season high.
“I think Shump has something against the Thunder,” guard De’Aaron Fox said. “In the first half he’s gone crazy against them both times this season.”
Shumpert didn’t score again for the rest of the game, taking just three shots in the second half, but his offense got the Kings rolling early.
“It definitely gave us a spark,” forward Marvin Bagley III said about Shumpert’s scoring. “He was on fire in the first half and it definitely allowed the rest of the team to follow and just keep up with him.”
His previous season high of 26 points came Oct. 21 in the Kings’ first win of the season, a 131-120 victory at Chesapeake Energy Arena – and that came exactly one year after his last game of at least 20 points.
Take away the two contests against the Thunder and his best scoring game this season is 17 points in a home win over Minnesota on Nov. 9. That’s one point less than he had in the opening half of the first meeting.
Bagley doubles up for first time
Bagley notched a career first Monday. The No. 2 overall pick finished with a double-double, finishing with 15 points and 13 rebounds for the Kings (9-8).
The scoring total was five points fewer than his high, but the boards total gave him double digits in the category for the first time.
He scored all but three of his points in the final quarter and eight of his rebounds came in the fourth.
“I started off slow a little bit and I just stayed aggressive, had a short memory,” Bagley said. “I just came out and was trying to play hard, go for every rebound, go for every ball that I saw bounce off the rim and I was just trying to get them. It worked out for me tonight and I just have to keep playing that way.”
There have been reports questioning the rookie’s playing time. He didn’t start Monday, but he did log nearly 26 minutes. He was active on both sides of the ball with multiple dunks and three blocked shots.
Fox finds other ways to lead
It wasn’t Fox’s night shooting the ball.
The Kings’ second-year point guard took 10 shots and connected on just one, a driving layup with three minutes left in the game. He scored just six points to tie a season low.
However, Fox dished out 13 assists, the second-highest total of his career.
“My team was making shots and I just try to get guys in position for them to not have to floor the ball,” Fox said. “If you can catch and shoot and you’re open, that’s my job – that’s what I’m trying to do.”
He may not have scored big, but he came up big in crunch time and again showed why he’s the Kings’ leader.
Entering Monday, Fox was shooting just 68.8 percent from the free-throw line. He was fouled with 4.6 seconds left Monday and calmly sank two free throws which accounted for the game’s final margin – and the Kings’ second victory over the Thunder (10-6) this season.