Buddy leads second-half resurgence against the Clippers
Chavano “Buddy” Hield
For the third straight scrimmage game, Bahamian professional basketball player with the Sacramento Kings Chavano “Buddy” Hield shot 3-for-10 from behind the three-point line, going 30 percent. However, this time it came in a winning effort as he and the Kings came from 21 points down in the second half to storm past the Los Angeles Clippers, 106-102, on Monday.
Hield scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half, including all three of his three-pointers, to lead the Kings’ comeback. He played a little over 27 minutes off the bench, adding eight rebounds and four assists to go along with his 17 points. The Bahamian sharp shooter shot 7-for-16 from the floor.
It was the third straight respectable outing for Hield as the Kings prepare to begin their NBA restart on Friday against the San Antonio Spurs. That game is set for an 8 pm start. Hield and the Kings are battling for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference of the National Basketball Association (NBA). They sport a 28-36 win/loss record, three and a half games behind the eighth-place Memphis Grizzlies (32-33) with only eight games remaining. The season will resume on Thursday.
On Monday, after the Clippers took 79-58 lead on a three-point shot from Marcus Morris Sr., the Kings went on a 13-2 scoring run to get within 10 points. Hield started the run with a pair of three-point shots. The Clippers held on to a 83-73 lead at the end of three, but it didn’t take long for Hield and the Kings to pull even and surge ahead in the fourth.
A 12-0 run to open the fourth, in which Hield buried another three-point shot, gave the Kings their first lead since the 10:39 mark of the second quarter. The game went back and forth from this point. A clutch three-point shot from starting power forward Nemanja Bjelica with just 27.4 seconds remaining on the clock gave the Kings the lead for good, 102-100. Bogdan Bogdanovic, who took Hield’s starting two-guard position back in January, hit two free shots with 13.5 seconds remaining, and back-up point guard Cory Joseph added two more with 8.7 seconds remaining to seal the win for the Kings.
Despite coming off the bench in each of their three scrimmage games, Hield turned in respectable, consistent performances, striking for 19, 19 and 17 points. He played a little over 24 minutes against the Miami Heat in a loss for the Kings last week Wednesday, and stepped on the court for almost 26 minutes in a 131-123 loss for the Kings to the Eastern Conference-leading Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday. He averages 32 minutes per game on the season, while dropping in 19.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists. The 6’4” 27-year-old guard is shooting 42.9 from the field on the season and 39.5 percent from distance.
On Monday, Bogdanovic led the charge against the Clippers, connecting for a game-high 21 points on 7-for-15 shooting. He added four rebounds and three assists and went 4-for-10 from distance. Hield contributed 17, and De’Aaron Fox, Harrison Barnes and Harry Giles III contributed a dozen points apiece. DaQuan Jeffries came off the bench to score 11.
Paul George paced the Clippers with 19 points. Morris added 18, Kawhi Leonard helped out with 17 and Terance Mann came off the bench to score 12. Reggie Jackson contributed 11 points, four rebounds and five assists.
Before the season was halted in March, Hield was on pace to break the franchise record of 278 three-point shots that he set a season ago. He was second in the league with 244 made three-point shots, trailing just James Harden of the Houston Rockets who had 271. Hield is also the NBA’s Mountain Dew Three-Point Champion this season.
As mentioned, he and the Kings will begin their NBA restart on Friday against the Spurs. As for the other Bahamian in the NBA, DeAndre Ayton, he and the Phoenix Suns will also restart their season on Friday when they take on the Washington Wizards at 4 p.m.
The Kings and the Suns were two of 22 teams chosen for the NBA restart after the regular season was stopped back on March 11 because of the presence of the COVID-19 pandemic. All the teams are housed at a single-site complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, under strict COVID-19 conditions and protocols