The Sacramento Kings have not made the playoffs in the past 14 seasons, and the Phoenix Suns have 10 seasons without qualifying for the postseason.
But a long-suffering franchise is set to start 2-0 in the 2020-21 season as the Suns and Host Kings compete in the first consecutive matchup in the California capital on Saturday night.
The Kings scored a dramatic 124-122 overtime win against hosts Denver Nuggets on Wednesday, while Phoenix fought off the Dallas Mavericks for a 106-102 home win that same night.
Sacramento tried to keep from losing in overtime when Harrison Barnes stole the ball from Nuggets star Nikola Jokic in the final seconds. Barnes drove and missed a contested shot, but Buddy Hield threw the ball at the buzzer to claim victory.
Then Hield and his teammates ran down the square and into the tunnel that led to the locker room.
It was a strong performance from Hield scoring five 3-point points, scoring the team’s top 22 points. Barnes and DeAaron Fox each added 21 points for the kings.
Overall, Sacramento had seven players in the double digits. One of them was Tyrese Haliburton, who had 12 points in the first round and four assists off the bench in 30 minutes to push the win.
« I hope they say we are hungry, » Haliburton said after the triumph. « Hungry to get Sacramento back where they belong and just win games. People who have been here are fed up with not winning as much as they expect, and we young people are just trying to bring young blood and new blood here and get Sacramento back on its tracks. «
Fox was very impressed among the players by Haliburton, 20, who is 12. Election from the state of Iowa was.
« He wasn’t unsettled, » Fox said of Haliburton. « He makes great shots, we know he can shoot the ball. When someone steps in defensively, my first instinct is to kick them out. We all have the greatest trust in him to make great things. «
Phoenix also played well after beating Dallas. The score was tied at 100 before the Suns scored five direct points, capped at 40 by Devin Booker’s Springer. 2 seconds left on the way to victory.
Booker scored 22 points in his first pairing with ten-time All-Star Chris Paul, who was overtaken by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the off-season.
Paul, who sustained an ankle injury, was calm for most of the competition. He only had eight points on 3-of-9 in 27 minutes. He also had five templates and set three turnovers.
However, Paul knocked down a large shot at 1:20 to bring Phoenix forward by three in front of Booker’s basket.
« I like people who are ready to take the shots, » said Sun coach Monty Williams afterwards. « And we have a couple of people who are going to do these recordings. Booker and CP have been in situations like this before. «
Mikal Bridges added 18 points and was among the Phoenix players – as was Williams – who described the team’s 19 sales as something that needs to be scaled back. Booker committed eight.
« It’s trust, » said Bridges. « We know what we can do offensively at the other end. We have the boys for it. As soon as we know we’re getting hold of, and we’re just like, « Okay, we’re missing out on shots we’re working on, some sales we need to clean up, » but as long as we’re out there protecting and helping one another That will be the key to our success: just keep defending as a team. «
Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns, Harrison Barnes and Buddy Hield
World News – CA – Kings, Suns are both aiming for a 2-0 start
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