A New Era: Sabonis Posts Double-Double, Fox & Barnes combine for 57 In Kings Win
A new era of Sacramento Kings basketball has arrived.
Not only did Domantas Sabonis make his debut on Wednesday night, the two-time All-Star tallied a double-double to compliment huge performances from Harrison Barnes and De’Aaron Fox as the Kings defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves by a final of 132-119 in front of a fun Golden 1 Center crowd.
Following an emotional 36-hour roller-coaster, Wednesday night’s win seems to have brought an overwhelming sense of calm–or excitement–to a majority of this fanbase.
With the win, Sacramento (21-36) pulled themselves to within 2.5 games of the 10th-seed spot in the Western Conference standings.
Minnesota quickly silenced the faint hum of buzzing in the building that started during Sacramento’s pregame introduction of Domantas Sabonis as the T-Wolves jumped out to a 10-2 lead before two minutes had ticked off of the game-clock.
Chimezie Metu established a new career-high for points in a single quarter (10 points) to help keep the Kings within 37-29 as play entered the second quarter.
Like a shot in the arm, the Kings played some of their most exciting basketball of the season during an electrifying 12-0 run that gave themselves a 49-45 lead with 7:22 remaining in the half. Sabonis quickly showcased his playmaking ability as the center dished out five assists by the end of the second quarter.
The Kings displayed impressive ball-movement during the first half and used a big second period (outscored Minnesota 42-27) to take a 71-64 lead into the break.
Just as he did on Tuesday night, Harrison Barnes caught fire in the first half on Wednesday night.
The veteran led all Kings scorers with 18 points on four-of-five shooting from the field, three-of-three from beyond the arc and a perfect seven-of-seven from the free-throw line after sinking all 12 freebies last night.
Barnes has scored at least 16 points during the first half in four-straight games.
A 19-9 run by the T-Wolves to open up the second half would erase Sacramento’s lead as Minnesota went on to regain a slim 101-99 lead entering the fourth quarter. D’Angelo Russell, a well-known Kings killer, nearly eclipsed the 30-point mark before the end of the third period (29 points).
Sabonis, fellow newcomer Jeremy Lamb and Davion Mitchell helped lead a 7-0 Kings run in the early minutes of the fourth to help Sacramento regain a three-point lead with less than nine minutes to go, setting the stage for a nail-biting finish.
Back-to-back fast-break scores by De’Aaron Fox and Mitchell gave the Kings a 119-115 lead with 3:22 remaining while igniting a lively crowd at Golden 1 Center.
After Sabonis tipped in a miss by Fox, the Kings created a stop on the defensive end before Mitchell found Harrison Barnes for a game-sealing triple, giving Sacramento a 124-115 lead with less than two minutes to go–a lead that would last until the final buzzer.
The crowd at Golden 1 Center was more filled out than usual, something that you could feel while inside the building and even hear on TV or radio.
“That crowd felt like one of the old ARCO crowds,” Kings head coach Alvin Gentry said postgame. “The way the fans supported the guys and the excitement in the building, it was huge.”
Ball-movement was a massive plus for Sacramento as the team dished out 32 assists–the most assists that the team has tallied in a game since January 14th.
It was a fun night for plenty of reasons, but it all comes back to the new look that this team has.
A shakeup was needed, no doubt. Time will tell if moving Tyrese Haliburton was the right move, but if you didn’t know already, now you know: Domantas Sabonis is a really, really good basketball player.
Kings general manager Monte McNair might not be down making moves as the NBA trade deadline will pass at 12:00pm PST on Thursday. Could more moves take place before then?
If so, you have to hope that they have a ripple effect similar to what transpired on Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center.
Welcome to Sacramento
In his first game as a member of the Sacramento Kings, Domantas Sabonis did what Domantas Sabonis does best:
The talented center tallied his 35th double-double of the season in his debut, scoring 22 points, pulling down 14 rebounds and dishing out five assists over 33 minutes.
Sabonis looked very comfortable on the floor with his new team, pulling down boards and bruising around in the paint while securing yet another double-double. Without a doubt, the 25-year-old’s play is something that Kings fans can certainly get used to.
“I feel like this is a fresh start for me. It’s going to be exciting,” Sabonis said postgame on being traded to Sacramento. “I want to be here. The fans were amazing tonight. I’m in shock. Today was a great day.”
Sabonis went on to add: “I want to find a place where I feel at home and I feel loved and I think that I have found it here. I love it here.”
Jeremy Lamb added 14 points and six rebounds off of the bench, while Justin Holiday contributed with six points to round out the new Kings.
Fox & Barnes Go Inferno; Davion Flirts With A Triple-Double
For the fourth-straight game, Harrison Barnes topped the 20-point mark–except this time, the veteran forward topped the 30-point mark.
Barnes scored 30 points for the second time this season as the 29-year-old followed up his perfect 12-for-12 free-throw performance on Tuesday with a 10-for-10 showing from the charity stripe during Wednesday’s win.
The remarkable thing about Barnes’ scoring outputs is that he is able to do so on limited field-goal attempts (11 field-goal attempts tonight versus seven field-goal attempts on Tuesday).
It was quite an encore performance for De’Aaron Fox on Wednesday, who followed up his 29-point showing on Tuesday with a 27-point effort in the win.
Fox finished the night 10-of-20 from the field while grabbing eight rebounds, dishing eight assists and blocking two shots.
After missing eight games due to ankle soreness, it’s clear that Fox is feeling a lot better, even while playing 30-plus minutes in back-to-back games upon his return to action.
Davion Mitchell nearly posted a triple-double off of the bench during Wednesday’s win, as the rookie scored 18 points (seven-of-12 shooting from the field and three-of-six from three-point range) to go along with a career-high seven rebounds and seven assists.
Mitchell’s improved shot continues to prove to be an emerging weapon for a Kings team that will no doubt need more of an outside presence if they hope to make a postseason push.
- Marvin Bagley III (ankle soreness) was listed as a game-time decision vs Minnesota before being ruled out for a sixth-straight game.
- Moe Harkless exited Tuesday’s game during the second quarter after taking a bad step and injuring his right ankle. Harkless is considered day-to-day.
- Terence Davis will be re-evaluated in two-to-three months after undergoing successful surgery to repair a right wrist ECU tendon injury.
It will be quite a while before the Sacramento Kings take the floor at Golden 1 Center.
With a three-game road-trip followed by the All-Star break on the docket, the Kings will not play another home game until February 24th.
Sacramento will next face the Washington Wizards on Saturday afternoon in what will be the team’s first game following Thursday’s 12pm PST Trade Deadline.
In the only meeting between the two teams this season, the Kings defeated Washington by a final of 119-105 back on December 15, 2021 at Golden 1 Center. De’Aaron Fox scored 28 points on 10-of-16 shooting during the win.
Be sure to get all of your Kings vs Wizards coverage right here on Sports 1140 KHTK beginning at 2:30pm PST on Game Night with Scott Marsh & Henry ‘The High Flyer’ Turner prior to a 4:00pm PST tip-off from Washington D.C.
Upcoming Sacramento Kings Schedule
- February 10th: NBA Trade Deadline – 12:00pm PST
- February 12th @ Washington Wizards
- February 14th @ Brooklyn Nets
- February 16th @ Chicago Bulls
- February 17th-23rd: NBA All-Star Break
- February 24th vs Denver Nuggets