Sacramento Kings

How the Kings caught fire from 3-point range to ‘light up the scoreboard’ in a win

Kings guard Buddy Hield celebrates after making a 3-pointer against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday at Golden 1 Center. Hield had five of Sacramento’s franchise-record 19 3s in the 141-130 victory.
Kings guard Buddy Hield celebrates after making a 3-pointer against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday at Golden 1 Center. Hield had five of Sacramento’s franchise-record 19 3s in the 141-130 victory. pkitagaki@sacbee.com

The Kings didn’t take their first 3-pointer until about 3 1/2 minutes in, a shot by Iman Shumpert in front of his team’s bench that hit the back of the iron and bounced away.

It didn’t discourage them. Not at all.

The Kings kept firing away Wednesday night. The result was a franchise-record 19 3s made in a 141-130 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves at Golden 1 Center.

The bulk of the outside damage was done in the second half, when Sacramento was 13 of 23. In all, the Kings hit half of their 3s while boosting their league lead to 39.4 percent from beyond the arc.

Seven Kings contributed to the total, including a team-high five by Buddy Hield.

“We got up a lot of 3s today, but the 3s are birthed from us pushing the ball,” Shumpert said. “When (the opposing team has) to play on their heels the whole game, we’re walking into 3s. A lot of 3s will light up the scoreboard.”

They definitely did that in recording their second victory this season over Minnesota (13-15). The scoring total was the team’s second-highest of the season. The Kings (15-12) scored 146 in a 31-point victory at Atlanta on Nov. 1.

“I think it was probably a pretty exciting game to watch if you’re a fan. We enjoyed it as well,” Kings coach Dave Joerger said. “There’s a lot of ‘atta boy’s to go around. ... Very happy locker room tonight.”

One can go to Yogi Ferrell. The third-year guard didn’t play in five of Sacramento’s last 10 games – and when he did, he averaged just over four minutes.

That didn’t stop him from providing sparks both early and in the final period.

When he entered with about three minutes left in the first quarter, he put up eight points and three assists in eight minutes. He finished with 17 points on 5-of-6 shooting — including 4 of 4 from outside the arc — and six assists. The scoring is a season high and five better than the 12 he put up in the Kings’ season-opening loss.

“It felt good to get out there. I was a little winded just a little bit – I’ll be honest – but I got my second breath,” Ferrell said. “I just wanted to go into that second group and create a spark.”

Ferrell’s teammates appreciated what he brought to the floor as well.

“He just brought energy today,” Shumpert said. “He’s just a professional. He didn’t get any playing time for a while, but he didn’t lose any confidence at all, as you saw tonight.”

“It was great for us,” guard De’Aaron Fox said. “We know the way he can play and he came out and proved it. ... He had a hell of a game for us today.”

Another “atta boy” can go to Nemanja Bjelica. The forward, who played his first three seasons with the T’wolves before signing with Sacramento in the offseason, lit up his former club with a team-high 25 points.

“I was aggressive from the beginning of the game. This game was very special for me,” he said.

In all, seven players reached double figures in scoring, including Marvin Bagley III, who recorded his fourth double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

The rookie big man was happy to see the Kings put up such a high total.

“That’s always fun, especially the way we did it tonight where we all had a part in winning this game,” Bagley said. “It’s always good to win like that.”

Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau wasn’t nearly as pleased.

“I think we scored 80 in the second half, shoot over 50 percent and lose,” he said. “The disappointment was in our defense. If we don’t play defense, you can’t win in this league. ... You can’t jog back against them and we did that, so we gave them easy baskets.”

The Kings also shared the ball well, totaling 34 assists. Fox led Sacramento with eight and was one of seven Kings with at least three.

Up next is another rematch this season as the Kings host the Golden State Warriors. The two-time defending champs, who slipped past Sacramento 117-116 on Nov. 24 at Oracle Arena, will visit Golden 1 Center coming off their fourth loss of at least 20 points in 2018-19.

The game will match up the top two 3-point-shooting teams, even with the Warriors hitting just 6 of 26 in a 113-93 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday.

The Kings hope the fun continues for the spectators.

“Our fans are getting more and more behind us,” Shumpert said. “You can hear the excitement during the warm-ups. It’s fun right now.”

Noel Harris: 916-321-1602, @SacBeeNoel
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