SACRAMENTO, Calif.—Harrison Barnes scored 32 points and De’Aaron Fox outplayed leading Rookie of the Year candidate Ja Morant, leading the Sacramento Kings to a 129-125 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday night at Golden 1 Center.
Fox scored 26 points for the Kings (22-33), who improved to 7-4 since coach Luke Walton moved Buddy Hield into a backup role in late December. Kent Bazemore added 18 points. Hield had 20 points, four assists, three rebounds and three steals.
Barnes finished two points shy of his career high. Jabari Parker came off the bench to post four points, four rebounds and two assists in 14 minutes in his Kings’ debut.
De’Anthony Melton scored 24 points for the Grizzlies (28-27), who had won eight of their last 10 games to move into eighth in the Western Conference. Morant scored 19 points. Jaren Jackson Jr. had 16.
Sacramento staged a 16-2 run to take a 23-11 lead on a 3-pointer by Barnes midway through the first quarter. The Kings led by as many as 13 in the opening period and went up 53-39 on a basket by Cory Joseph with 6:46 remaining in the second, but the Grizzlies cut the deficit to eight going into the halftime break.
The Kings shot 56.6% in the opening half and made 10 of 17 (.588) from 3-point range. The Grizzlies nearly matched Sacramento’s efficiency, shooting 55% from the field and 50% from beyond the arc.
Barnes was brilliant in the first half. He made 8 of 10 from the field and 6 of 6 from long distance to finish the half with 22 points.
The Kings reestablished a double-digit lead early in the third quarter and went up 85-67 on a basket by Barnes with 6:18 to go. Memphis outscored Sacramento 23-12 over the final 6:03 to get within seven going into the fourth quarter.
The Grizzlies cut the deficit to five at the start of the fourth, but the Kings responded with a 10-0 run, momentarily regaining control. Memphis made another big charge to get within one on a basket by Melton with 3:07 to play, but Fox and Joseph made big shots in the final minutes to help the Kings hold on for the win.
The waning moments were tense after Melton made three free throws to cut the Kings’ lead to one with 7.5 seconds remaining, but Hield converted four free throws in the final 6.6 seconds to help the Kings hold on for the win.
LATEST NEWS ON MARVIN BAGLEY III
Walton was asked about the possibility of Marvin Bagley III missing the rest of the season Thursday after the team announced the second-year forward is still weeks away from returning from a foot injury. Bagley has missed 19 of the past 23 games due to a left midfoot sprain.
The team said Bagley recently incorporated stationary shooting and partial weight-bearing conditioning activities into his rehabilitation regimen. He is also running in water and using an anti-gravity treadmill, but he is not ready to return to the court. The team will approach his recovery with caution and prioritize his long-term health.
The Kings said Bagley’s condition will be updated again in three weeks. There are less than eight weeks left in the regular season. Walton said it is unclear if or when Bagley will return. He said the team is eager to get Bagley back on the floor, but at some point it might make more sense to shut him down for the season.
“We’re dying to get him back out there because we need him (and) we need him to get that experience on the court, but we also need to be cautious and make sure he’s healthy and ready to play,” Walton said.
RICHAUN HOLMES INJURY UPDATE
Kings center Richaun Holmes said his injured right shoulder is feeling better, but he is still sidelined with a torn labrum.
“It definitely feels better,” Holmes said. “You’ve got to take it day by day and make sure I get my strength and everything back, but I want to get back out there as soon as I can.”
The Kings announced Feb. 11 that Holmes received a platelet-rich plasma injection to treat the injury. The team said at the time he would be reevaluated in two to three weeks.
“All the treatment and rehab that’s taking place with him is in the training room right now,” Walton said. “Once he gets past all of that, we start bringing him out to the court and see how he looks and how he feels, but we’re not even at that point yet.”
©2020 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)