The Kings hadn’t experienced a loss since Jan. 18. The Miami Heat hadn’t experienced a win since Jan. 15. One was bound to happen Wednesday night inside Kaseya Center.
Unfortunately for Sacramento, it was the latter.
Miami welcomed the traveling Kings — who were at the midway point of their seven-game road trip — to its home floor in hopes of snapping a seven-game losing streak, and the Heat were successful in their mission, completing a 115-106 win over the Kings.
The Heat were determined to get back into the win column, and they certainly played like it on Wednesday.
“We’ve been in that situation a week ago or something like that. We knew they were hungry for a win and they came out and played like that,” Kings forward Keegan Murray told reporters postgame. “So kudos to them.”
Sacramento’s loss wasn’t for a lack of performance from Murray, who finished with a game-high 33 points on 12-of-18 shooting from the field and 7 of 11 from 3-point range, with five rebounds, two assists, one steal and two blocks in 38 minutes.
Murray entered the contest averaging 15.7 points in 33 minutes per game this season. By halftime against Miami, he had a game-high 21 points.
“Just staying confident,” Murray said of his impressive night. “I feel like the basket looked big tonight so I just kept shooting [and] was trying to get open looks for myself. Just confidence in myself.”
But Murray’s hot hand from beyond the arc wasn’t contagious for the rest of the group. Aside from the young forward, the Kings were 5 of 29 (17.2 percent) from deep.
Meanwhile, Miami shot 50 percent from the field and 46.4 percent from downtown.
Aside from an off shooting night, Kings coach Mike Brown believes a lack of effort on the little things made all the difference in the loss. Sacramento had 11 first-half deflections, something the team takes pride in, but had just three in the second half.
The biggest area of concern to Brown, though, was loose balls, what the Kings refer to as “50-50 balls.” Of the six “50-50” balls in the contest, Miami secured all six of them.
“At the end of the day, it’s going to be hard to come into somebody’s building — especially a team that’s desperate like the Heat — and have three deflections in the second half and go 0-for-6 on the 50-50 balls,” Brown said postgame.
Brown added that the Heat “outworked” the Kings and credited Jimmy Butler, who led the Heat in scoring with 31 points on 10-of-14 shooting, for his unwavering physical and mental resilience.
The Kings don’t have much time to mope, as their longest road trip of the season continues with another big matchup against the Indiana Pacers on Friday.
And after Wednesday’s loss, the Kings might not be “desperate” like the Heat were just yet, but they certainly don’t want things to get there.