Bagley has 32 points to help Kings extend Suns' skid to 14

Sacramento Kings forward Marvin Bagley III, left, is fouled by Phoenix Suns forward Richaun Holmes, right, as he goes to the basket during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Phoenix Suns forward Richaun Holmes, right, goes to the basket against Sacramento Kings' Alec Burks, left, and Harry Giles III, center, during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges, right, steals the ball from Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, right, is fouled by Sacramento Kings guard De'Aaron Fox, left, as he drives to the basket against during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Marvin Bagley III was more than a little excited playing against Phoenix for the first time. The Sacramento rookie grew up in Tempe, Arizona, and was briefly high school teammates with the Suns' Deandre Ayton.

Phoenix passed over Bagley with the No. 1 overall pick in last summer's draft, taking Ayton instead. Bagley fell to the Kings at No. 2 — a little added motivation there, too.

Bagley had another strong game off the bench with a career-high 32 points and six rebounds, and Sacramento beat Phoenix 117-104 on Sunday to hand the Suns their 14th straight loss.

"I love playing against the Suns," said Bagley, who missed the Kings first two games against Phoenix due to a knee injury. "It's fun playing against Deandre, the whole organization, everybody involved. I got to meet them when I went there for my pre-draft work and I met a few of those guys. So it was good competing against them."

Buddy Hield scored 18 points, De'Aaron Fox had 17 points and nine assists, and Nemanja Bjelica added 10 points and eight rebounds to help Sacramento to its fifth win in six games.

The Kings inched closer to ending the longest current playoff drought in the NBA. Sacramento, which last made the postseason in 2005-06, pulled within a half-game of the idle Los Angeles Clippers for the final playoff spot in the West.

It's also the fastest the Kings (30-26) have reached 30 wins since 2004-05 when they did it in 43 games.

"We have this goal in our heads about getting to the playoffs and it's getting close right now," Bagley said. "Every game matters. I'm excited, after we get done with this next game, how we come back from break and see where we can go from there."

Devin Booker had 27 points, eight rebounds and six assists in his return from injury for Phoenix. Ayton added 16 points and nine rebounds.

The Suns' losing streak is one shy of its franchise record of 15 set last season. They'll try to avoid matching that dubious mark Wednesday against the Clippers.

"The Kings came better prepared, more ready and more aggressive," Phoenix coach Igor Kokoskov said. "We said before the game that they were going to throw the first punch hard at us. We were not ready to accept that punch."

Bagley had his best game as a pro while dominating in the paint. The second overall pick in the draft, Bagley shot 10 of 15 and went 11 for 13 from the free-throw line. He also scored Sacramento's first 12 points in the fourth quarter, including a driving 360-degree spinning layup.

"He's doing what we knew he could do in the beginning," Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein said. "It's really on him. He's getting the time, he's putting in the work and it's showing.

TIP-INS

Suns: Jackson scored six straight points in the third on a free throw, dunk and 3-pointer. He was also called for a technical foul in the same period. ... Booker returned to the lineup after missing the previous two games because of right hamstring tightness. He had a scare in the third quarter when he banged knees with Bogdan Bogdanovic and limped off the court, but he came back to start the fourth and promptly made a 3-pointer.

Kings: Sacramento had only two turnovers in the first half. ... Fox spent much of the first quarter on the bench after picking up his second foul early.

FINISHING WHAT THEY START

The Kings are 4-1 this season in games when they lead by 15 or more at halftime. The only blemish was a 115-11 loss to the Suns in Phoenix on Jan. 8 when Sacramento blew a 19-point lead at the break.

UP NEXT

Suns: Play in Los Angeles against the Clippers on Wednesday.

Kings: Play at Denver on Wednesday.

__

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Must Read

Colbert to air live after Trump-Clinton...

Aug 10, 2016

Stephen Colbert, who capitalized on the political conventions with live broadcasts, will do the...

Sept. 11 memorial motorcycle ride ending on a...

Aug 10, 2016

Leaders of a massive, annual motorcycle procession to the three Sept. 11 crash sites say this...

US: 45,000 Islamic State fighters taken off...

Aug 10, 2016

A top U.S. commander says that the military campaigns against the Islamic State group in Iraq and...

David Ortiz limps off after fouling ball off...

Aug 11, 2016

Red Sox star David Ortiz left a game against the New York Yankees in pain after fouling a pitch off...

Shifting tone, Trump entertains the notion he...

Aug 12, 2016

Straying from his trademark bravado, Donald Trump is acknowledging that his presidential campaign...

Sign up now!

About Us

In The Headline sought to bring professionalism back into journalism, bringing you only the most exclusive and the most impactive news from all over the globe.

Contact us: sales[at]intheheadline.com