Kevin Harter has dealt with running jokes since he was with the Atlanta Hawks.
“Sometimes I’m allergic to 30,” Harter quipped Friday after hitting a go-ahead 3-pointer late in the Kings’ dramatic 126-125 victory over the Utah Jazz.
The winning shot had 9.0 seconds remaining after De’Aaron Fox missed a pair of floaters and the Kings frantically collected a pair of offensive rebounds. The ball hit Keegan Murray, who swung the ball to Hueter, who had a clean look from just left of the top of the key and only hit the net.
This gave Huerter 30 points for the first time in his 306-game NBA career. His all-time high of 29 was achieved during his rookie season at Atlanta in a win over the Philadelphia 76ers on January 11, 2019.
“It’s good that Kevin got over the hump,” said Fox. The way it was put in and knocked down was great for us.
Huerter finished 6 for 10 from 3-point range and 12 for 18 overall. His highest score of the season so far is 27, which took place on October 29 in Miami. That was in the midst of an impressive stretch of his 52.6% shooting percentage from distance in his first 13 games after joining Sacramento in a trade with Atlanta in the offseason.
Since then, his shooting has dropped predictably. He recorded his 33% shooting percentage from his range on 3-point in his 19 games so far on Friday. He’s led Sacramento in both 3-point attempts (6.9) and makes (2.8) all season, and his shot against up-and-coming Jazz on Friday saw the Kings take a six-game homestand to 3-3. It helped me to finish with
Huerter scored 15 of Sacramento’s 35 points in the fourth quarter, 6 of 8 from the field and 3 of 4 from 3-point range.
“There are certainly nights when the shot feels good, but it doesn’t drop,” says Huerter. “There were a lot of nights. Especially at the beginning of the year, I was looking pretty good, and that first month I was in a good flow and a good rhythm. Tonight I was able to find shots I was looking for them for most of the game and I was able to find them really steadily especially in that 4th quarter , I tried to be aggressive.”
Head coach Mike Brown, who returned to the bench after missing two games due to COVID-19, said a pair of offensive rebounds leading to Harter’s shot stood out during the sequence. This gave the Kings 16 second-chance points needed for a one-point victory.
The first rebound of the sequence came by Domantas Sabonis, who had 28 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists, scoring 12 of 12 goals. Sabonis relayed Fox’s first mistake to Murray, who again found Fox near the free-throw line. Fox cut his shot short, but fought for the ball with 7-footer Lauri Markkanen. Harrison Barnes passed to Murray, who swung the ball to Hurter.
“It was just the will to go get it,” Brown said. “That’s the kind of competitiveness you want to see every night, because that’s what helps you win the game. Sometimes you get into ugly matches, but if you’re competitive, you have a chance to win.”
Sacramento may not have been competitive early in the homestand when the Kings lost to the struggling Charlotte Hornets and Washington Wizards. But they rebounded to win his final two games at Golden 1 Center this week, where he won by one point.
“We have to find a way to win like this,” Brown said. “We are now at a stage where we have to understand what consistency means in this business. As long as we have staples and win a lot of games, we’ll do just fine.”
Kings acquire Justin Holiday, Moe Harkless and Harter in July for first-round draft picks in 2024 Protected Draw, 2025 Protected Top 12, and 2026 Protected Top 10 Did. Spurs acquire guard Dejounte Murray.
The 24-year-old Helter is in the first season of a four-year, $65 million contract that runs through 2025-26, which might be a bargain given his offensive efficiency. He has a career-best 3-point shooting percentage of 41.4%. He ranked him 16th in his 3-point goals scored (91) and his shooting percentage was better than his 10 players.
Huerter’s 4.6 net rating on the floor is the third best of the Kings’ rotation players behind Davion Mitchell (5.9) and Sabonis (5.7). He helps reserve space on the floor for attacks that prioritize it.
“I think every team is looking for a six-to-seven-year-old player with elite movement shooting,” Fox said. “The types of shots they make are very tough, so he gives us such versatility both offensively and defensively. did.”
Malik Monk, Sacramento’s sixth man, who is participating in a friendly shooting competition with Huerter in practice, plans to keep the joke going about Huerter failing to score 30 points. Monk has scored 30 points twice this season, including his 33 game against Denver on Wednesday.
“He’s terrified of being 30,” said Monk. “So I don’t think he will do it again.”
The Kings had to fight for the win despite a 36-point performance from Markkanen, who scored 11 points in the final frame to nearly steal the win from Sacramento. The Jazz trailed him to his mark of 10:13 in the fourth quarter, but Markkanen’s sharp shot kept the team down until the end.
“He’s crazy good,” Brown said. “He’s seven feet tall and he moves like a security guard. He shoots it like a security guard. He’s strong. He’s athletic.”
Brown indicated the game plan was to make Markkanen work while limiting Utah’s other scorers. Jordan Clarkson added his 25 and Mike Conley added his 17, but no other Jazz player in his career Walker surpassed Kessler’s 11. The Kings went 19-15 to put him back in fifth place, 23-12 to tie for first place with the Nuggets and New Orleans, who trailed the Pelicans by 3.5 games.
The Kings next travel to face the Memphis Grizzlies on New Year’s Sunday, before taking on the road next Tuesday against Utah. They return to the Golden 1 Center the following night to host Hueter’s former team, the Hawks.