The Milwaukee Bucks will be hoping for more of the same while the Sacramento Kings attempt to flip their script when the clubs both endure the second game of a back-to-back Saturday night in the California capital.
The Bucks got 47 points from Giannis Antetokounmpo in a run-away, 127-109 victory at Portland on Friday night.
At the same time, the Kings, despite 26 points from Harrison Barnes, were getting clobbered 115-94 at home by the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Bucks-Kings meeting effectively concludes a three-team round robin also involving the Lakers. Milwaukee began the sequence with 112-97 romp in Los Angeles on Wednesday, before the Lakers rebounded to triumph at Sacramento.
Milwaukee will be looking to complete a two-game, season-series sweep of the Kings, having prevailed 128-115 at home in February. Antetokounmpo burned the Kings for 38 points that night as the Bucks used 48.9-percent shooting to better the visitors’ 44.0 percent.
Rookie Tyrese Haliburton had 23 points for the Kings.
Sacramento shot even worse against the Lakers on Friday. With the normally reliable De’Aaron Fox just 5 of 20 and Buddy Hield 3 of 11 from the field — and the high-scoring duo combining to hit just 1 of 13 3-pointers, the Kings were limited by the Lakers to 42.4 percent shooting.
The loss snapped Sacramento’s five-game home winning streak.
Once again, the Kings will not benefit from having fans in the stands at a high-profile game. Even though the state of California relaxed restrictions on attendance at sporting events on Friday, the Sacramento organization announced it wouldn’t be until the “near future” that Kings faithful could replace their cardboard cutouts.
The Kings issued a statement before Friday’s game that read: “We are excited about today’s announcement regarding indoor professional sports venues and look forward to safely welcoming fans back to the arena in the near future. On behalf of the entire organization, we thank Governor (Gavin) Newsom, state and county public health officials and the NBA who have worked tirelessly to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, providing prevention guidelines and protocols and for collaborating to create a robust health and safety plan that enables guests to return to Golden 1 Center.”
The Kings, who despite two straight losses and a losing record (22-27) remain in the playoff hunt in the West, have 10 more home games on the schedule after Saturday night, including two visits from the top team in the West, the Utah Jazz.
The Bucks will be playing for the fourth time on a six-game trip that began with a split in Los Angeles. They have won two straight, with visits to Golden State and Dallas remaining after the Sacramento stop.
Veteran guard Jeff Teague, signed off waivers on Thursday, wasted no time becoming a small factor off the Milwaukee bench, contributing two points and two assists to the Friday’s win in 13 minutes.
Teague will back up Jrue Holiday, who has been impressed with changes the team has made since he had a 10-game, COVID-related absence in February.
“This is gonna sound weird, but I think it was a good thing,” Holiday noted of the team having to go without him for a long stretch. “I feel like it gives a chance for other people to step up. And that kind of shows the type of team we have.”
Holiday has scored 24, 28 and 22 points in the first three games of the trip.
–Field Level Media