Chris Duarte bounces back, shows value in Kings’ loss to Lakers

Chris Duarte bounces back, shows value in Kings’ loss to Lakers
originally appeared on
NBC Sports Bay Area

After an underwhelming performance in the Kings’ preseason debut on Sunday,
Chris Duarte bounced back three days later in Southern California.

The 26-year-old third-year pro, who recently joined the Sacramento Kings, displayed his two-way potential in their preseason loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday at Honda Center in Anaheim.

Duarte struggled in the previous game, scoring only four points on 2-of-9 shooting and missing all six of his 3-point attempts against the Toronto Raptors. However, he redeemed himself with an impressive performance against the Lakers, scoring 10 points on a perfect 4-of-4 shooting from the field, including 2 of 2 from beyond the arc. He also contributed two rebounds and one steal in nearly 16 minutes of play.

Kings coach Mike Brown made changes to the lineup after second-year starting forward Keegan Murray was unable to play. EuroLeague star Sasha Vezenkov started and played with the first unit in the first half, while Duarte took over in the second half.

Duarte was excited to reunite with his former Indiana Pacers teammate and close friend Domantas Sabonis, with whom he played alongside in the second half.

After the game, which ended in a 109-101 loss to the LeBron James-less Lakers, Coach Brown shared his thoughts on Duarte and Vezenkov’s performances.

“I thought they both played pretty well,” Brown stated. “Defensively, Chris was exceptional. He was active and got a couple of deflections. Offensively, they both had a strong game.”

Vezenkov had a less efficient shooting performance compared to his NBA preseason debut, scoring seven points on 3-of-10 shooting from the field and 1-of-4 from beyond the arc. He also contributed two rebounds, one assist, and one steal in 22 minutes. Although Vezenkov has significant professional basketball experience in the second-best league worldwide, he is still adjusting to the highs and lows of being an NBA rookie.

For Duarte, it is still early in the preseason, but he showed improvement from Game 1 to Game 2. And in the preseason, any progress is a positive outcome.


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