Kings use dominant third-quarter run to earn 117-111 win over Thunder, snap three-game skid

The Kings refused to let another one slip away
by Jonathan Bradley

It looked like history was repeating itself Tuesday night in Sacramento, as the Kings saw a 10-point lead turn into a four-point deficit with just over 5 minutes left to play in the third quarter.

Then the Kings did something they’ve struggled with much of this season – they outplayed their opponents in the third frame.

Sacramento used a 15-5 run to take a lead they would never relinquish, en route to a 117-111 win over the Thunder, snapping a three-game losing streak in the process.

“For us, I think it’s about playing 48 minutes,” Harrison Barnes said after the win. “We talked about it in the scrimmage yesterday, and just seeing some of those things come out in the game, it’s like, look you have to play all 48.

“We had some slippage. We had some moments there where things could have went the other way. But we were able to get this win. Like I said, it’s about tomorrow, coming out with the same focus and same intention about what we’re doing.”

Buddy Hield, who finished with 21 off the bench, scored seven points during the run, including a clutch bucket with 5.8 left in the quarter that helped Sacramento take an 87-81 advantage into the final frame.

The Kings didn’t turn the ball over at all during the 5-minute run and held the Thunder to just 1-of-9 shooting in that span.

“When we were able to go on our big runs it was it was built off of us getting stops defensively and getting out and running,” Tyrese Haliburton said. “And you guys know, Alvin (Gentry) always preaches transition basketball and y'all know that me and De’Aaron (Fox) and everybody else loves transition basketball. So that's what we have to be, you know, more times than not I thought we did a good job tonight.”

Haliburton led the way for Sacramento, finishing with 24 points and 10 assist while becoming the first Kings player since Rajon Rondo (2015-16) with seven consecutive games with 7-plus assists. The second-year guard also added two blocks in the win, to give him 28 on the season, tied for third-most among guards.

Harrison Barnes contributed 17 points, with all five of his makes coming from 3-point range, big man Damian Jones added a career-high 14 boards while Fox chipped in 12 points and eight assists in his second game back after a five-game stint in the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

In addition to the solid offensive output, the Kings can thank their 57-45 rebounding advantage and near season-low 10 turnovers for their ability to prevent another one from slipping away in the third quarter.

“It's just about figuring out ways to win. Honestly, I do not care how it happens, I just want to win,” Haliburton said. “I don't care if we mess up every time defensively and shoot 70% In the fourth and win the game – like, we won. And obviously, we're going to go back to the drawing board and figure out how to fix things. But you know, for right now, like in the moment right now, like I'm just glad to win.”

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