Fox Ties Career-High, But Kings Have Hearts Broken In Dallas
Sacramento led by 19 points on Saturday, but the Mavericks outscored the Kings 63-48 in the second half
Add Saturday’s game in Dallas to the long list of disappointments from the 2021-22 Sacramento Kings season.
Not only did De’Aaron Fox continue his streak of games with 20 points or more, but he also tied his career-high of 44 points to help put the Kings in a prime position to defeat the Dallas Mavericks.
Instead of picking up their second-straight win, Sacramento rolled over in the second half as the Mavs overpowered a stagnant Kings defense down the closing stretch. Dorian Finney-Smith’s go-ahead triple gave Dallas a nail-biting 114-113 win to further push Sacramento out of the Play-In picture.
With the loss, the Kings (24-42) fall to 4.5 games out of the 10th and final spot in the Western Conference standings.
De’Aaron Fox’s red-hot stretch of play continued to impress during the first quarter as the guard scored 11 points (five-of-seven shooting) to lead the Kings to a 36-26 lead after 12 minutes of play.
Sacramento took complete control of the paint during the first half behind the stellar play of Fox and the rest of the offense, outscoring Dallas 38-14 in the key to build a 15-point lead at the halftime break.
Fox entered the third quarter with 23 points (season-high for points in a first half) on nine-of-15 shooting over just 18 minutes while knocking down both three-point attempts and all three free-throw chances. After finishing Thursday’s game in San Antonio with nine assists and zero turnovers, Fox turned in a clean sheet with three dimes and no mishaps at the conclusion of the first half.
It was clear that the star guard was frustrated with officiating due to several no-calls, and Fox harnessed the frustration into an offensive showcase to put Sacramento in a strong position to win their second-straight game.
Fox scored his 34th point of the game before the conclusion of the third quarter, but Dallas was able to get back into the game thanks to a timely 11-2 run during the final moments of the period. Sacramento was outscored 34-27 in the third as a lead that was once 19 points was reduced to just 92-85 entering the fourth quarter.
Dallas’ strong play in the third carried over into the final period as the Mavs finally took their first lead of the game after Spencer Dinwiddie’s layup made it 95-94 with just under 10 minutes remaining in the game.
The Kings would get a boost from–guess who–Fox as the guard answered with five-straight points via an and-one lay-in and transition slam dunk off of a stolen pass to give Sacramento a four-point lead.
These teams would trade buckets while each center battled foul trouble, with Dwight Powell fouling out before the five-minute mark and Domantas Sabonis sidelined with his fifth foul
Sacramento finally got a shred of breathing room after Donte DiVincenzo knocked down a triple to give the Kings a 108-103 lead with three minutes remaining. Dorian Finney-Smith’s triple and Spencer Dinwiddie’s lay-in erased the deficit to give Dallas a slim 111-110 lead with 44.3 seconds on the game clock.
After Fox and Davion Mitchell forced a difficult Dallas field goal attempt, Fox tied his career-high of 44 points after converting one of two free-throws to tie things up at 111-111 with 12 seconds to go.
In true heartbreaking fashion, Finney-Smith was left free in the corner to knock down a game-winning triple that was eerily reminiscent to Chimezie Metu’s buzzer-beater from late December.
As amazing as Fox played on Saturday, the star guard needed some help.
Domantas Sabonis disappeared following the first half. Harrison Barnes finished the night with just nine points on three-of-eight shooting. Justin Holiday followed up his two-of-12 three-point performance from Thursday with a one-for-seven showing on Saturday.
The window is officially closing for the Kings in their hopes to obtain a Play-In spot.
With 16 games left in the season, Sacramento possesses the fifth-hardest remaining strength of schedule and currently sit almost five games back of the 10th-place New Orleans Pelicans.
By The Numbers
Another game, another milestone for De’Aaron Fox.
Fox became the first King to score 20+ points in 12-straight games since DeMarcus Cousins did so at the end of the 2014-15 season into the beginning of the 2015-16 season.
Over 40 minutes of play, Fox tied his career-high of 44 points while shooting 18-of-31 from the field to go along with six assists and one turnover.
Speaking of milestones, Domantas Sabonis continues to prove that he is a double-double machine, as advertised.
Sabonis notched his 43rd double-double of the season and his ninth over 10 games with the Kings, finishing the night with 15 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists over 32 minutes.
- Richaun Holmes (back soreness) returned to action following a five-game absence.
- Jeremy Lamb (left hip soreness) did not play on Saturday afternoon and is considered day-to-day.
- Terence Davis will be re-evaluated in two months after undergoing successful surgery to repair a right wrist ECU tendon injury.
The Kings will finally return home to Golden 1 Center where they will play five of their next six games at home, starting on Monday when the New York Knicks come to town.
In their only meeting this season, the Knicks picked up a 116-96 blowout win over Sacramento at Madison Square Garden back on January 31st.
You can find all of your Kings vs Knicks coverage right here on Sports 1140 KHTK beginning at 3:00 pm PST on The Nick Cattles Show before a 7:00 pm PST tip-off from downtown Sacramento.
Upcoming Sacramento Kings Schedule
- March 7th vs New York Knicks
- March 9th vs Denver Nuggets
- March 12th @ Utah Jazz
- March 14th vs Chicago Bulls
- March 16th vs Milwaukee Bucks