NBA Summer League

What we learned as Kings suffer first California Classic loss at G1C

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SACRAMENTO – After coasting through their first two games of the California Classic, the Kings fell short in their quest for a three-game sweep at Golden 1 Center and lost to the Charlotte Hornets 86-82 on Tuesday night.

Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. led Sacramento with 19 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two blocks. Adonis Arms scored 16 points while Xavier Sneed added 15 points with four 3-pointers.

The Kings led by 17 in the first half and were ahead 40-35 at the break before going quiet offensively in the second half.

Sacramento still nearly pulled it out.

After being limited to nine points in the third quarter, the Kings got within 83-80 following a 3-pointer by Arms with 21.7 seconds remaining to play.

The Hornets missed one of two free throws with 19 seconds left, and the Kings missed a 3-pointer on the other end in their last-ditch attempt to rally.

Here are the takeaways from Tuesday’s game:

Quiet Night For Arms

Arms gained a lot of attention for his breakthrough performance against Bronny James and the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday but couldn’t keep the rhythm going against the Hornets.

Arms, who put up 32 points, 11 rebounds and five assists against the Lakers, missed his first three shot attempts and had his first bucket wiped out by an offensive foul call against Lual-Acuil Jr. Arms finished 7 of 15 from the floor and 1-for-5 behind the arc.

The 26-year-old guard has been bouncing around the G-League since 2022 when he went undrafted out of college. Arms’ saw his scoring take a significant up-tick last season when he averaged 18 points on 45.5 percent shooting.

Arms shows up in a lot of different ways on film and, as he showed against James down at Chase Center in San Francisco, can be very explosive. He showed some of that against the Hornets when he hauled in a court-length pass from Antoine Davis and scored when Charlotte was whistled for goal-tending.

Arms appeared injure an ankle while going for a rebound in the fourth quarter. He sat out the final four minutes.

Jo Just Doing It

After officially re-signing Alex Len to a one-year contract earlier in the day, the Kings don’t have a lot of room on their roster for another big man. Lual-Acuil Jr., though, might be worth taking a longer look at. He took 15 shots against the Hornets, continuing a solid-but-unspectacular run in the California Classic.

A star in Basketball Africa League this past season, the 7-footer from the South Sudan is an interesting prospect. While he might not have the frame to bang in the paint with the true big men of the NBA, Lual-Acuil Jr. moves around well and is a proven rim-protector – something that the Kings’ don’t really possess.

Lual-Acuil’s age – he turned 30 in April – certainly will be a factor that the team brass has to consider. An injury could open up a spot on the regular roster, but it’s more likely that the Kings send Lual-Acuil Jr. to their G League team in nearby Stockton to keep him close.

Davis Hopes College Success Follows Him To NBA

On a night when nearly everyone on the Kings struggled with their shooting, Davis didn’t flinch and kept going at it on the offensive end, going 6 of 15 from the floor.

Davis, who also had five assists and three steals, might be the most intriguing player on Sacramento’s summer league roster despite his lack of somewhat diminutive size – 6-foot-1, 165 pounds.

Davis averaged more than 23 points a game during five college seasons at Detroit-Mercy where he was coached by his father.

The younger Davis is a college legend. He’s second on the NCAA’s all-time scoring list behind the great Pistol Pete Maravic. Davis also holds the Division I record with 588 3-pointers – not attempts, makes.

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