Desmond Bane was mired in a shooting slump before ending it in spectacular fashion in the Memphis Grizzlies’ fourth game of the season.
Now Bane will attempt to follow up his best performance as a pro on Thursday night when the Grizzlies visit the Sacramento Kings in the opener of a four-game road trip.
Bane was a career-best 8-for-11 from 3-point range while scoring a career-high 38 points in Monday’s 134-124 win over the visiting Brooklyn Nets.
Overall, the third-year pro was 14 of 21 from the field after being a porous 13 of 49 (26.5 percent) over the first three games.
“I felt good about everything,” Bane said of the improvement. “A lot of the misses were in-and-out, back rim. I feel like that’s just kind of getting my legs back under me. … I knew it was just a matter of time before I caught my rhythm.”
Bane averaged 9.2 points as a rookie before increasing his average to 18.2 last season. He is averaging 20.5 points and 6.0 assists through four games this season.
This also could be the season where Bane cements himself as Ja Morant’s long-time running mate. The two play well together and Bane continues to get better as a passer.
“(Bane) being able to go out and do both, score the ball from all three levels and also get teammates involved, is a big key to our success this year,” Morant said. “(It’s) having another guy out there on the floor who could create for everybody.”
Morant also scored 38 against the Nets and is averaging an NBA-best 35.3 points per game. He also has outings of 49 and 34 this season.
The battle with Sacramento gives Morant a chance to go up against another solid point guard in De’Aaron Fox.
Fox is averaging 31.7 points and 7.0 assists and shooting 59.4 percent from the field. He has had outings of 36 and 33 points.
Fox had 26 points and 10 assists in Sunday’s 130-125 road loss to Golden State Warriors as the Kings fell to 0-3.
Sacramento hasn’t made the playoffs since 2006 — its 16-season postseason drought is the longest in the NBA — so the slow start is a bit concerning. But new coach Mike Brown isn’t about to subscribe to the “same old Sacramento Kings” chatter.
“I’m not looking at 0-3 as the end of the world,” Brown said. “I mean you go back and you look at the history of the league, and you’ll see who started off hot. It all works itself out.
“We’ll see around games 20, 21, 22, 23 what’s going on with the league, but as long as I feel we’re trying to trend upwards in most areas if not all areas, then I’m (going to) keep pushing.”
Giving Brown hope is that Sacramento’s three losses are by a total of 14 points.
“There are things that we’re going to do throughout the course of this season to make sure that this is right,” Brown said. “It’s not going to be a thing where I’m gonna sit back and just continue to let the same thing happen over and over again. Now having said that, the one thing I do know about being part of this team is because of the lack of playoffs in 16 years, there’s a little bit of anxiety around here.
“I would caution everybody there’s a time to overreact and a time not to. And after three games for me — and I hope everybody takes my lead — it’s not time to.”
Memphis won last season’s three meetings by an average of 23.7 points and has notched six straight victories against the Kings.
–Field Level Media