Kings takeaways: What we learned in heartbreaking 114-112 loss to Magic

James Ham


SACRAMENTO -- Close isn't good enough.

Playing in front of their home crowd at Golden 1 Center, the Sacramento Kings fell behind early and tried to play catch up the rest of the game. They found a way to take a one-point lead with under 16 seconds remaining, but the Orlando Magic (19-21) got a late basket by Aaron Gordon and a last-second shot by Harrison Barnes came up short.

Nikola Vucevic dominated the paint, posting a 26-point, 15-rebound double-double. Evan Fournier added 25 points and Gordon chipped in 19 points and nine rebounds to help the Magic pull off the win.

Here are three takeaways as the Kings fall at home by a final of 114-112 to drop to 15-25 on the season. 

No. 5

De'Aaron Fox was taken with the No. 5 overall selection in the 2017 NBA Draft, four picks behind Markelle Fultz. Monday night's game was just one more reminder of how big of a mistake that was by the Philadelphia 76ers. 

Fox put Fultz on blast, roasting the Magic's point guard for 31 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. Fultz responded with 16 points and four rebounds, but he wasn't nearly the factor that Fox was. 

In his third NBA season, Fox is starting to take another big jump. Fultz is back on the court after a disastrous first two years in the league, but he's well behind the Kings' floor general in development.

Serbian sniper

Nemanja Bjelica is rolling. Despite fighting through a sprained right ankle, the 31-year-old forward torched the Magic in the first half and kept his team within striking distance.

From the opening tip, Bjelica was in attack mode. In a wild first-half outburst, the Kings' starting power forward knocked down 9-of-11 from the field, including 4-for-5 from 3-point range on his way to 22 points. 

Bjelica kept it going in the second half, hitting four more 3-pointers to set a new career-high with 34 points. He added seven rebounds and two steals in 33 minutes of action.

Making most of minutes

Marvin Bagley III is on a minutes restriction after missing the previous eight games with a foot issue. He didn't look like the injury slowed him at all against Orlando.

The 20-year-old big struggled to get the ball to drop early, but he bounced back to hit 8-for-17 from the field on his way to 18 points. He added six rebounds, two blocks and made some nice defensive adjustments in his second stint on the court. 

Bagley has scored in double figures in all 10 of his games this season. He needs to find a way to stay on the court and avoid the injury bug if the Kings have any chance of recovering in the second half of the season.

Kings takeaways: What we learned in heartbreaking 114-112 loss to Magic originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
+400+10.5O 230.5
LA Clippers
-556-10.5U 230.5