Kings lose to Warriors; have ‘no concern’ about De’Aaron Fox


Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox (5) drives to the basket against Golden State Warriors center Kevon Looney (5) on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021 during an NBA basketball game at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento.

Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox is struggling with his shot and committing too many turnovers, but coach Luke Walton said he is not concerned.

“He’ll find his rhythm,” Walton said.

Fox had 17 points, six assists and five rebounds in a 119-107 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Sunday at Golden 1 Center, but he went 1 of 6 from 3-point range and finished with seven turnovers. The Kings (1-2) outshot and outrebounded the Warriors (3-0), but they were outscored 29-9 in points off turnovers.

“It’s going to be hard to win games like that, so we’re frustrated, but we’re going to be fine as a team,” Walton said, noting that the Kings committed 19 turnovers. “That’s another really good team over there and we didn’t do a good enough job of taking care of the ball.”

Fox had 27 points in a 124-121 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in the season opener, but he made only 9 of 22 from the field and 2 of 8 from 3-point range while committing five turnovers. He was held to 12 points on 5-of-19 shooting in a 110-101 loss to the Utah Jazz on Friday.

Fox appeared to be forcing the action at times against the Warriors, perhaps because he only got to the free-throw line once despite driving to the basket numerous times.

“It’s ridiculous that, as quick and aggressive as he is, he only shoots one free throw in a game where we only shot 13 and the other team got a plus-10 on us,” Walton said. “I think part of it is, there’s probably some frustration from not getting the whistle, and then he’s trying to get himself going. I think he’s expecting big things from himself this year, as we are. I’ve said multiple times, he’s the head of the snake for us. He knows he needs to play better and he will.”

Through three games, Fox is 14 of 41 (.341) from the field, 2 of 13 (.154) from 3-point range at 9 of 14 (.643) at the free-throw line. He is averaging 5.0 turnovers per game, well above his career average of 2.8. The Kings expect more from Fox, who is in the first year of a five-year, $163 million max contract, and Fox expects more of himself.

“He knows how good he is,” Walton said. “He knows, when he plays at the highest level, how good our team is, so there’s no concern there. De’Aaron puts a lot of responsibility on himself, but it’s not on him. It’s on our team. It’s on our coaching staff. It’s on our group. So we’ve got all the confidence in the world, and we’ll keep looking to make adjustments to make it easier for him, and our team will play better.”

Harrison stays hot

Nobody in Sacramento has gotten off to a better start than Harrison Barnes.

The 29-year-old forward had another strong outing against the Warriors, posting 24 points and seven rebounds while knocking down 7 of 13 field-goal attempts and 5 of 10 from 3-point range.

Barnes averaged 30.5 points and 12.0 rebounds over the first three games while shooting 48.7% from the field, an eye-popping 58.5% from 3-point range and 86.7% at the free-throw line. Barnes had a career-high 36 points against the Blazers. He had 25 points and a career-high 15 rebounds against the Jazz.

“Honestly, I’m just trying to play in the flow of our offense,” Barnes said. “We play a free style. My teammates are finding me and I’ve been able to get open looks.”

Davion goes on the offensive

Everyone showed up hoping to see Kings rookie Davion Mitchell test his defensive wizardry against Warriors star Stephen Curry, but Mitchell put on a different kind of display.

Mitchell struggled to get going offensively in the first two games of the season, but not against the Warriors. Mitchell poured in a career-high 22 points, showing off the shooting touch he demonstrated in summer league and preseason play.

Mitchell had a total of five points on 2-of-14 shooting against Portland and Utah, but he was more comfortable, more aggressive and more effective against the Warriors. Mitchell got to the basket easily against Golden State’s defense and didn’t hesitate to pull the trigger from long distance, going 9 of 16 from the field and 3 of 8 from 3-point range.

“My teammates kept encouraging me every day, just telling me the shots were going to fall, just keep believing in yourself,” Mitchell said. “The coaching staff and everyone around me has been encouraging me.”

Buddy Buckets … and bricks

Kings guard Buddy Hield was honored before the game for passing Peja Stojakovic to become the franchise’s all-time leader in 3-point goals. General manager Monte McNair presented Hield with a trophy during a pregame ceremony.

Stojakovic made 1,070 3-pointers in 518 games for the Kings from 1998-2006. Hield now has 1,078 in 333 games since coming to Sacramento in 2017.

The Kings could have used a few more 3-pointers from Hield on Sunday. He was held to six points on 2-of-11 shooting, including 2 of 10 from 3-point range.

Jason Anderson is an award-winning sportswriter for The Sacramento Bee. He started his journalism career at The Bee more than 20 years ago and returned to cover the Sacramento Kings in September 2018.

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