Harrison Barnes' buzzer-beater caps Kings' electric comeback

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Barnes saves Kings from another collapse at final buzzer originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

With just more than one second remaining in regulation, Harrison Barnes threw up a shot to beat the buzzer, and pandemonium ensued. 

The Kings found themselves in a 107-107 tie with the Phoenix Suns with 1.4 seconds remaining in regulation. 

Then Barnes called game. 

Barnes was asked by NBC Sports California's "Kings Postgame Live" hosts Morgan Ragan and Matt Barnes about the electrifying shot and what was going through his head. 

"The biggest thing was, we got a stop," Barnes said. "Obviously the first half was tough for us. Buddy [Hield] got a great stop for us down the stretch and on that last play we were just trying to get a shot up."

Before Barnes could knock down the game-winner, a critical rebound on the other end of the court from center Richaun Holmes gave Sacramento the opportunity to walk off against the Suns, and Kings coach Luke Walton believes the rebound before the shot was more impressive than the shot itself. 

“To me, that’s more impressive than the shot," Walton told reporters postgame. "Harrison, he’s made shots like that for us before. We want to be able to rely on our defense, we have to be able to count on our defense for nights where the shots aren’t going. It was only one play, but it was a heck of a contest.”

The Kings trailed 61-53 heading into halftime. A modest deficit, sure, but with Sacramento's continuous struggles to close out games even dating back to last season, the outlook was bleak. 

Despite their continued second-half struggles throughout the first three games of the season, these aren't the Kings of old, and they proved that by taking down the defending Western Conference champions Wednesday night. 

“We are a different group," Walton said after the win. "I know we have a long way to go still, but we’ve put in time, put in work. It’s a group that believes in each other and a group that knows we’re headed in the right direction. That was a big-time shot by Harrison tonight, and yeah that helps along the journey getting those types of sweet (wins).”

Barnes echoed a similar message to Walton's and believes the Kings as a complete unit have made strides since last season. 

"A game like that last year, we would come out in the second half and we would be down 12," Barnes told reporters. "The game would kind of slip away from us, we would keep making the same mistakes over and over. I think it’s just a testament to where we are as a group that we’re able to get back into the game.”

Ever since joining the Kings in a trade from the Dallas Mavericks during the 2018-19 season, Barnes has been a consistent leader and mentor for every young star that has since been drafted by the club.

“He’s had a great start to the season, he’s really been balling," Tyrese Haliburton said of Barnes. "Putting the ball in the hole for us, helping lead us, just been doing a lot of things great. He’s the ultimate example as a vet. Not only as a player, but as a person. Just a great guy to have with us.”

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Barnes was challenged to become a more aggressive shooter in the offseason by Walton and the coaching staff. So far, his teammates have noticed a difference. 

“He’s being aggressive," Buddy Hield said. "There’s a different sense of energy about him. When he comes to the gym, he’s one of the first guys there. He’s working his butt off, and the hard work he’s putting in is showing.”

After three-straight second-half collapses to begin the season, the Kings flipped the script and finished the game with authority Wednesday night. 

It's still very early in the season, but the new-and-improved Sacramento Kings look like they are here to stay.