Kings takeaways; What we learned in narrow 122-119 loss to Rockets

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James Ham
·2 min read
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What we learned in Kings' nail-biting loss to Harden, Rockets originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Win or lose, the Kings are giving opponents fits early in the 2020-21 NBA season.

In another spirited battle Thursday, the Kings ran it down to the wire against the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center.

James Harden caught fire late, torching the Kings for 16 points in the fourth quarter to give his team a late lead. The Kings had two shots late, but couldn’t get either to fall and lost 122-119 in Houston.

Here are three takeaways from Sacramento falling to 3-2 on the season.

Fantastic Four

These Kings come at you in waves. De’Aaron Fox is the sprinter. Buddy Hield is the sharpshooter. Harrison Barnes is the bully in the post and Richaun Holmes spaces the floor with his rolls to the rim.

The quartet of Kings went to work against the Rockets, with each player scoring 19 or more.

Barnes led the way with 24 points, but four of the Kings’ five starters had big-time performances.

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Taking minutes

Coach Luke Walton has all kinds of options at center, but the best one might be his starter. Holmes isn’t waiting around to see how Walton will distribute minutes. He’s demanding more with his play.

After playing the entire fourth quarter in the Kings’ win over the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night, Holmes carried over his strong play into the team’s battle with the Rockets.

The 27-year-old big man posted 22 points on 10-for-13 shooting to go with 13 rebounds in his first double-double of the season. He added two assists, two steals and a block in just under 36 minutes.

Anxious moment

Rookie Tyrese Haliburton has been a standout player for the Kings early in the season, but he took a spill in the early fourth quarter that had the city of Sacramento holding its breath.

He’ll likely wake up on New Year's Day covered in bruises, but the 20-year-old somehow survived the fall unscathed.

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Walton pulled the rookie early in the fourth and let him catch his breath, but turned back to Haliburton to finish the game. In 27 minutes, he managed to score 11 points and grab a pair of steals for Sacramento. His 3-pointer with 22.4 seconds remaining gave the Kings a shot to get back in the game.

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