By Peter Gleason
Buddy Hield scored 34 points and Sacramento weathered a fourth-quarter flurry from Jimmy Butler to beat the visiting Sixers 115-108.
Hield went into the game fourth in the NBA for 3-point percentage and had another outstanding game from the perimeter while going 7 of 13 beyond the arc. That gave Hield 180 this season, topping his previous best of 176 in 2017-18.
He also showcased an improved mid-range jumper while trying to make more of an emphasis to drive to the basket as well.
With its third consecutive victory over Philly, Sacramento (27-25) matched its win total from last season.
Joel Embiid had 29 points and 17 rebounds for the Sixers. Butler added 29 points, 18 coming in the fourth quarter when he made two four-point plays.
“It was one one of those games where they kept throwing punches,” said Ben Simmons, who scored 22. “We didn’t respond the right way.”
Hield did most of his scoring in the first half but made a pair of pivotal 3s down the stretch and made three free throws in the final 27 seconds.
“I saw a lot of positives,” Kings coach Dave Joerger said. “We kept our composure down the stretch, made some free throws, contested some shots without fouling and got rebounds.”
Two days after beating two-time defending NBA champion Golden State, the Sixers struggled from the perimeter and couldn’t get much going offensively until the fourth quarter. Embiid shot 9 of 24 while Philadelphia went 7 of 33 beyond the arc.
The Sixers led 2-0 on the first of five dunks from Ben Simmons but didn’t lead again until Butler’s four-point play put them ahead 98-97 with 4:35 remaining.
The two teams traded buckets before the Kings closed on an 11-5 run. Hield had six points as part of the surge while Cauley-Stein had three.
Philly played without JJ Redick and Wilson Chandler.
“What you realize is we need a healthy team,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said. “You’re not fighting with your whole arsenal and you need to. There’s not much wriggle room as it sits.”