The Sacramento Kings fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder 86-80 in their third contest at the NBA Summer League.
It was a duel between the top of the lottery from Las Vegas on Wednesday night as No. 2 overall pick Chet Holmgren was pitted against No. 4 pick Keegan Murray in their meeting on the tournament. Both players were sharp from tip-off, hitting beyond the arc and playing aggressively in the paint.
While the normal “it’s just Summer League” discourse shuffles throughout the association, tonight’s match-up was one of Sacramento’s most realistic outings, seeing how Holmgren and Murray could face off in a regular season scenario that can be very real come October. However, Sacramento did not see sophomore Josh Giddey, who was a late scratch in tonight’s contest despite his tear through the desert with Oklahoma City.
Despite another smooth start tonight including the likes of Kings’ sharpshooter Frankie Ferrari, the Thunder went on a 12-0 run in the second frame. Oklahoma City was able to garner a double-digit lead with brilliant shooting from 3-point range, and the Summer Kings would spend the rest of the contest trying to dig themselves out of a familiar position.
Murray had 16 of Sacramento’s 32 first-half points, writing his way through the contest like an exclamation point in invisible ink.
Sacramento erased a 19-point deficit in the third frame, but were still unable to capitalize on Oklahoma City’s slower start to the second half. Perhaps the fatigue of tournament life in the last two weeks has made for the dog days of Summer League, as outside of Murray’s 29-point outing there was little on the Sacramento offense to be excited about.
A nail-biter in the end, Sacramento was able to cut the lead to 5 points, their statement style at this tournament. In the end, Neemias Queta contributed strong offense in the final frame, but it wasn’t enough for the Kings to make their way back into the contest.