Preview: 3-pointers could reign supreme when Magic visit Kings
TV: FOX Sports Florida
TIME: Pregame coverage begins at 9:30 p.m.
A team coming off a historic 3-point shooting display faces one of the NBA’s worst at defending the arc when the Sacramento Kings host the Orlando Magic on Monday night.
The Kings have lost four in a row, but made national news when they sank a franchise-record 20 3-pointers Saturday as part of a record-setting night on which 41 combined 3s were made in a 127-123 win by the Golden State Warriors. The 41 combined 3-pointers broke the NBA record of 40 set by Minnesota and Cleveland last season.
It also was the first NBA game in which both teams made at least 20 3-point shots.
The performance seemed to be one in the making for the Kings, who were 11-for-33 in an overtime loss to Portland and 13-for-31 in a four-point loss to Denver in the two games before facing Golden State.
And the Kings believe they are a team that should beat the two-time defending champs the way some of the Sacramento players talked afterward.
“We just couldn’t find a way to beat those boys,” guard Buddy Hield lamented to reporters after a 32-point night on which he made a career-best eight 3-pointers. “They’re tough and that’s why they’re the champs. We’re not too far, just a couple possessions off. They sense it. We’re not too far from them. It’s going to come. Might not be this year — maybe next year — (but) it’s going to come.”
If nothing else, the Kings will be happy to see the Magic bring an end to a run of 13 straight games against Western Conference clubs, including eight against the current top eight in the conference.
In fact, three of Sacramento’s next four will be against Eastern teams, with Detroit and Charlotte also coming to town this week.
“We’ve just got to keep on doing what we’re doing, play like we have been, and the chips will fall where they fall,” Kings big man Willie Cauley-Stein declared after Saturday’s loss. “We’ve just got to not change what we do and play how we play.”
The Kings surely would love a repeat of their last game against Orlando, when they got 25 points from Hield in a 107-99 win in Florida on Oct. 30. The Kings took only 22 3-point shots in that win, but made a healthy percentage (eight, 36.3 percent) and shot 48.8 percent overall.
The Magic began play Sunday ranked third-to-last in the NBA in 3-point field goal percentage allowed at 37.2.
It was actually the Magic who went 3-crazy in the first meeting, going 11-for-43 — tied for their second-most 3-point shots in a game this season.
Orlando will be playing its second game in two days, losing 106-96 to the Clippers in Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon in a game in which center Nikola Vucevic celebrated a homecoming in the city of his college playing days at Southern Cal with 16 points and 24 rebounds.
Aaron Gordon will be the one who gets to enjoy the comfort of playing in front of family and friends in Monday’s game, with the San Jose product returning to Northern California for the seventh time in his NBA career. Gordon has rarely disappointed in his homecomings, having recorded three double-doubles (one against the Kings) in his career in Northern California and scoring 17 points in his last visit to Sacramento in March 2017.
Gordon, who had 17 points in Sunday’s loss, is primed to put on a nice show, Magic coach Steve Clifford observed last week.
“I think we should all be really, really happy with the way he is playing right now,” the coach gushed to reporters. “And he’s gonna keep getting better because he’s a hard worker and he studies and he’s a very committed pro player.”