Sacramento Snaps Four-Game Skid With Win Over Thunder
Three members of the Kings finished with 20 points or more on Monday night
Trailing by nine points in the third quarter, the Sacramento Kings needed to flip the switch if they wanted to avoid losing for the fifth-straight game.
Thanks to De’Aaron Fox, Trey Lyles and the Kings offense, that flip was switched.
Sacramento outscored the Thunder 72-51 in the second half to claim a 131-110 win on Monday night to open up a very important week for a Kings team that is attempting to make some noise in the Western Conference Play-In conversation.
If it felt like a rare occurrence to see the Kings win on the road, it’s because it is–Sacramento has only won two road games over the past 18 contests.
Alas, Wednesday’s game against the 10th-seed New Orleans Pelicans just got a lot more interesting.
The Sacramento offense was off and running early as the Kings shot 57-percent from the field and 40-percent from the three-point field during the opening period.
De’Aaron Fox dished out five assists (no turnovers) during the first half to continue his solid streak of playmaking, but Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander reigned supreme over the first two quarters of play.
Gilgeous-Alexander scored 19 points and racked up eight assists during the first half to help keep Oklahoma City neck-and-neck with the Kings as this one was evened up at 59-59 entering the third period.
For the second-straight game, Domantas Sabonis got himself into foul trouble early as the All-Star center only logged 12 first-half minutes. With Sabonis out of action, the Thunder were able to control the paint as they outscored Sacramento 30-22 in that department during the first half.
The Thunder set the tone to open up the second half by jumping out to take a nine-point lead after holding the Kings scoreless for almost three minutes.
As bad as Sacramento opened up the third quarter, they corrected course to mount a 15-5 run to end the period as they built a nine-point lead of their own at 99-90 entering the fourth quarter. Trey Lyles, Harrison Barnes, and the Kings offense scored 40 points in the third to put themselves in prime position to snap a four-game skid.
After ending the third on a high note, the Kings took their largest lead of the game at 109-97 with less than nine minutes to go as the Thunder offense ran out of gas.
De’Aaron Fox dished out what may have been the most impressive pass of his career as the talented guard delivered a highlight reel assist to Donte DiVincenzo for a triple that capped off a truly amazing sequence.
Fox, Lyles and Barnes all scored 20 points or more to help lead a red-hot Kings offense on a furious tear to end Monday’s game.
After trailing 68-59 in the third quarter, the Kings outscored Oklahoma City 72-42 to end the game. As a team, Sacramento shot 56-percent from the field on 30 assists. In eight games this season with 30 assists or more, the Kings are 7-1.
Following a rough start, the Kings were able to pick up a much-needed win as they begin a week with massive postseason implications.
Not only will Sacramento play back-to-back on Wednesday and Thursday, but they will also do so against the current 10-seed in New Orleans before heading to Texas for a matchup with the San Antonio Spurs–a team that is currently one game ahead of the Kings in the Western Conference standings.
The Kings can put themselves in a real position to make a run over the final month of the season if they can take care of business this week.
“We’re approaching every game one game at a time. We know what’s at stake,” Lyles said of the Kings’ postseason aspirations. “We just need to go out there and play with that sense of urgency that every game is win-or-go-home. That’s what we did tonight and what we have to continue to do throughout the week.”
In a season that has had so much negativity, somehow, someway, the Sacramento Kings will be playing games with postseason implications in the month of March.
Who saw that coming?
Rounding Out The Box Score
For the ninth-straight game, De’Aaron Fox topped the 20-point mark.
It’s only the second time that Fox has scored 20+ points in nine-straight games, a testament to the talented guard’s superb stretch of play over the past month. Fox posted a double-double for the second-straight game as well, finishing with 29 points (10-of-20 shooting), four rebounds, 10 assists and two steals over 41 minutes.
While Fox continued to show that he is tapping into his All-Star form, Trey Lyles was arguably the star of the night for the Kings.
In his first start with the team, Lyles scored 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting to go along with six boards over 31 minutes of action.
“I think it showed tonight. That when I’m aggressive, I’m a better player,” Lyles said postgame.
Joining Lyles and Fox in the 20-point club was Harrison Barnes, who finished the night with 23 points and five rebounds while knocking down 10 of his 11 free-throw attempts.
While Domantas Sabonis battled foul trouble for most of the first half, the two-time All-Star still managed to post his 40th double-double of the season during the win: 14 points, 16 rebounds, 7 assists over 31 minutes.
Donte DiVincenzo found his stroke on Monday, drilling four-of-six attempts from three-point range en route to a 14-point night. Davion Mitchell knocked off Saturday’s rust to finish the night with 13 points on six-of-nine shooting from the field.
- Richaun Holmes (back soreness) missed his third-straight game and is considered day-to-day. Holmes was nearly ready to make a return on Monday, but was ultimately held out as his back was still bothering him.
- Terence Davis will be re-evaluated in two-to-three months after undergoing successful surgery to repair a right wrist ECU tendon injury.
In what could be the most critical 48 hours of the season, Sacramento will play the 10th-seed New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night before facing the 12th-seed San Antonio Spurs on Thursday.
The Kings will have a golden opportunity to gain some ground in the Play-In race–or backslide even further out of the picture.
Sacramento can clinch the season-series victory over New Orleans with a win on Wednesday and control the tie-breaker if the two teams end the regular season with identical records.
In two meetings this season, the Kings have come out on the winning end of things on both occasions, with the most-recent matchup taking place on November 3rd: a 112-99 win at Golden 1 Center behind 23 points and eight rebounds from Harrison Barnes.
Be sure to get all of your Kings vs Pelicans coverage right here on Sports 1140 KHTK beginning at 3:00 pm PST on The Nick Cattles Show before a 5:00 pm PST tip-off from New Orleans.
Upcoming Sacramento Kings Schedule
- March 2nd @ New Orleans Pelicans
- March 3rd @ San Antonio Spurs
- March 5th @ Dallas Mavericks
- March 7th vs New York Knicks
- March 9th vs Denver Nuggets