When analysts and experts compile those star-studded lists of the NBA’s best backcourt combinations, the names include Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, James Harden and Chris Paul, John Wall and Bradley Beal, Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum.
Someday soon they might add two more names to the list: De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield are emerging as one of the most dynamic duos in the league, and they have help with Bogdan Bogdanovic coming off the bench.
“It’s not even just me and Fox,” Hield said. “I think Bogi, as well, because he’s a big part of what we do, too.”
Fox, Hield and Bogdanovic combined for 70 points, leading the Kings to a 129-110 victory Friday against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. Bogdanovic didn’t shoot the ball as well as usual, but Fox and Hield were spectacular for the Kings, who will be seeking their fourth win in a row when they continue a four-game road trip against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.
The Kings (13-11) raced out to a 24-9 lead with Fox and Hield combining for 13 points over the first 6:10. The Cavaliers (5-20) battled back and took the lead on a couple of occasions in the second and third quarters, but Fox and Hield answered every time Cleveland made a charge.
Fox posted 30 points, 12 assists and three steals, making 12 of 16 field-goal attempts and 4 of 5 from 3-point range. He finished one point shy of his career high, set in a victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Nov. 1, when he put up 31 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds.
Fox joined James Harden, Damian Lillard and Jrue Holiday as the only players to post at least 30 points and 10 assists in two games this season. The last player to do that for the Kings was Mike Bibby, who had three 30-point, 10-assist games in 2005-06. Fox is the first Kings’ player to do it twice in the team’s first 24 games since Tiny Archibald, who had 16 games with at least 30 points and 10 assists in 1972-73.
“Both of those guys are legends, especially Kings’ legends, and it’s an honor to be in the same sentence with those guys,” Fox said.
Hield had 25 points, four rebounds and three blocked shots. He made 9 of 17 from the field and 4 of 5 from beyond the arc.
Bogdanovic scored 15 points on 7-of-18 shooting from the field and 1-of-5 shooting from 3-point range. Rookie big man Marvin Bagley III came off the bench to score 17 points on 8-of-9 shooting after missing the last two games with lower back spasms.
The Kings shot 57.1 percent from the field and made 13 of 29 from long distance. They accumulated 30 assists on 56 made baskets while committing only nine turnovers.
“Sacramento plays with incredible pace,” Cavaliers coach Larry Drew said. “They are nowhere near the team they were last year as far as pace is concerned and that was a problem for us. We talked about it before the game as far as making sure we got back, got matched and had bodies on bodies. I really felt like they exposed us in every area. I haven’t felt like that all year long ... but I give credit where credit is due. They played a heck of a game.”
Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson also complimented the Kings, who rank among the league leaders in scoring and pace after finishing last in both categories last season.
“They definitely play fast, especially De’Aaron Fox, head of the snake, pushing the ball,” Thompson said. “I think in the first quarter, we didn’t realize how fast they play. In the second quarter, we figured it out, got it to a tie game, but in the third quarter, they ramped it back up on us and we weren’t able to recover.”