Hield, Kings heat up to keep Spurs reeling, 122-102

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA (AP) — The Sacramento Kings are finally building some momentum, although it might be too late to get them back in playoff contention.

San Antonio also has hopes of playing in the post-season but the Spurs are headed in the opposite direction.

Buddy Hield scored 31 points and made nine 3-pointers, Harrison Barnes added 25 points and the Kings beat the Spurs 122-102 last Saturday night.

“We defended, we rebounded and we shared the ball,” Hield said. “We made shots. When you make shots, the ball moves a lot easier and the team gets more confidence. It was a spark that we needed. Hopefully we keep this up and build from this.”

Nemanja Bjelica had 15 points and six rebounds as the Kings won their third straight and sixth in eight games. Kent Bazemore scored 15 points and De’Aaron Fox had 13 points and five assists.

Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield tries to stop the drive of San Antonio Spurs forward DeMar DeRozan during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, California. PHOTO: AP

Sacramento is in 12th place in the West, five games behind Memphis for the final playoff spot.

San Antonio is only in slightly better position. The Spurs are in 10th place, one game ahead of the Kings and four back of the Grizzlies.

“We have a problem sustaining good play for 48 minutes,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said, “At the end of the third quarter, the last four minutes, it was a great game and we get outscored 17-2 with the second team out there. That’s unacceptable. Those guys have to man up and play better.”

Hield became the fastest player in NBA history to reach 800 career 3-pointers, doing it in 296 games. Golden State’s Stephen Curry was the previous fastest, having reached 800 in 305 games.

Hield was nine of 10 beyond the arc and was greeted with chants of “Buddy! Buddy!” after making his ninth to put the Kings up 120-98. “Some of the shots are tough that he’s making,” Sacramento coach Luke Walton said. “It’s finding that balance of having that gunslinger mentality that he has that makes him great and makes him so hard to guard, but also finding that balance and the discipline to do it within the offence.”

Sacramento made 19 3-pointers for the second consecutive game.

Dejounte Murray had 17 points, nine assists and nine rebounds for San Antonio. LaMarcus Aldridge added 12 points and 10 rebounds. The Spurs have lost four straight and seven of nine.

San Antonio’s frustrations boiled over in the fourth quarter when DeMar DeRozan was ejected after picking up consecutive technicals. DeRozan, who earlier was called for a pair of offensive fouls, was angry after being whistled on the defensive end and began to argue. After being hit with the first technical, DeRozan continued yelling at officials and was called for a second.

The Spurs were down by 13 at the time so it hardly mattered in the final outcome. But for a team that has dropped seven of nine, it was another blow.

“I felt like we were getting hit all night,” DeRozan said. “Every little ticky-tack whatever they did seemed to get called. I just rather it be consistent on both ends.”