SACRAMENTO KINGS

De’Aaron Fox, Domantas Sabonis dominate as Kings rout Wizards

Dec 18, 2023, 9:37 PM | Updated: Dec 19, 2023, 9:39 am

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 29: De'Aaron Fox #5 and Domantas Sabonis #10 of the Sacramento Kin...

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

Golden 1 Center continues to act as a house of horrors for opposing teams.

The Sacramento Kings shook off a rough first quarter and finished the game on a tear en route to establishing a season-high in points scored while claiming a 143-131 win over the Washington Wizards on Monday night.

In his return to action after missing Saturday’s win over the Utah Jazz due to right shoulder irritation, De’Aaron Fox picked up right where he left off as the All-NBA guard tallied 30 points on 10-of-19 shooting over 31 minutes, while fellow All-NBA talent Domantas Sabonis posted his third triple-double of the season in an overall dominant showing from the duo.

With the win, the Kings improved to 16-9 on the season and 10-3 on their home floor. The ‘Beam Team’ has won five of its past six games after dropping the NBA In-Season Tournament semifinal to New Orleans on December 4th.

Last year, Sacramento didn’t improve to seven games over the .500 mark until January 18th–43 games into the season.

It’s early in the season, but this version of the ‘Beam Team’ looks like it could be as good or better than last year’s squad that clinched its first NBA Playoff appearance in 17 years.

Kings vs. Wizards Takeaways

Sacramento’s Starters Take Control

After a sluggish first quarter that saw the Kings shoot 39 percent from the field and four-of-11 from three (36%), Sacramento turned up the heat during the second.

De’Aaron Fox missed his first four shots en route to a one-point first quarter, but ‘Swipa’ looked like his usual self as he poured in 15 points on seven-of-nine shooting during the second period. Fox’s fellow All-Star in Domantas Sabonis was also dominant in the quarter, as the center scored 14 of his season-high 20 first-half points in the second frame.

Sabonis also pulled down eight rebounds during the first half, becoming the third player in Kings franchise history to score 20+ points and grab 8+ rebounds in a first half on multiple occasions, joining DeMarcus Cousins (seven times) and Chris Webber (four times).

With Fox and Sabonis leading the charge, Keegan Murray contributed with eight points on the side as the Kings’ blossoming trio combined for 37 of Sacramento’s 39 points during the second quarter.

Thanks to Fox, Sabonis, and Murray, the Kings shot 52 percent from the field in the second and flipped a four-point deficit into a ten-point lead at the break.

Once Sacramento shook off the the rust, it was curtains for Washington. The Kings opened up the second half on a 10-0 run to push its lead to 20 points, and things didn’t stop there.

The rest of Sacramento’s starting five–Harrison Barnes and Kevin Huerter–had a big hand in the Kings’ run to open up the third as Barnes scored 13 points in the quarter, while Huerter converted a poster jam over Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma to bring Golden 1 Center to its feet.

Fox followed up his 15-point second quarter with 12 points in the third, while Sabonis posted his 21st double-double of the season before the period’s midway point. Sacramento scored 46 points on 16-of-21 (76%) in what was the team’s highest-scoring quarter since January 23rd of this year when they racked up 47  points in the first quarter against Memphis.

With the starters buzzing and Washington struggling to generate offense, this game seemed as if it was in the books before play entered the final quarter as the Kings led by as many as 26 points en route to taking a 112-91 lead into the fourth.

Sabonis Makes It Look Easy

It might look easy to the naked eye, but that doesn’t mean Domantas Sabonis’ efforts should be taken for granted.

Sabonis finished Monday’s win with his third triple-double of the season–a 28-point, 13-rebound, 12-assist performance on 11-of-16 shooting from the field over 32 minutes.

The 27-year-old has played in just 119 games with Sacramento thus far, but his 17 triple-doubles rank first in the Sacramento era (1985-present) ahead of Chris Webber’s 14.

It was a special triple-double for the three-time All-Star, who wanted to perform well in light of his father, Hall of Fame center Arvydas’ birthday.

“Today, I really wanted to get [the triple-double]. It’s my dad’s birthday,” Sabonis said postgame. “My present is going to be delayed, so hopefully, the triple-double counts.”

Massive stat lines seem like a regular occurrence for Sabonis, but some believe the center’s contributions are often overlooked during the Kings’ consistent stretch of winning basketball.

Following the win, De’Aaron Fox spoke about Sabonis’ impact–an impact that Fox feels has been under-appreciated by many.

“Everything that he does for us, being able to grab a rebound and push it, there aren’t many people that have been able to do that at that size. He’s a focal point of our offense,” Fox said of his All-Star teammate.

“There are so many things that he does for us. There’s just so much that he does that doesn’t get appreciated enough.”

Sabonis continues to act as a force for the Kings in the post and as a table-setter on offense, and Sacramento is playing its best basketball of the season during the center’s eight-game double-double streak.

That doesn’t seem like it’s a coincidence.

Keegan’s Encore

How would Keegan Murray follow up Saturday’s record-breaking 47-point performance? With another high-scoring effort, of course.

Murray had his fifth-straight game with 15+ points, including his third over his past five games with 20+ during a 25-point effort against Washington. The second-year forward continued to showcase his ability to score off-the-dribble and from beyond the arc, shooting nine-of-17 from the field and four-of-seven from three-point range.

The second-year forward broke Buddy Hield’s (15) franchise record for most made three-point field goals over a two-game span on his fourth and final triple of the night to give him 16 over his past two contests.

While fans are familiar with Murray’s ability to convert from behind the arc, it’s plays like below–attacking the rim with authority–that have many excited about the forward’s potential to evolve into a legit two-way wing that can score from any spot on the floor.

The Kings are now 17-1 when Murray scores 20+ points dating back to last season, and it looks as if more 20-point games could be on the way for the former fourth-overall pick.

When Murray is locked in, it usually means the rest of Sacramento’s offense is firing on all cylinders, and that’s what transpired on Monday night at Golden 1 Center.

Notes

  • Harrison Barnes has scored 16+ points in consecutive games for the second time this season: 19 PTS | 8/11 FG | 34 MIN
  • Sacramento entered play 0-6 when opponents shot above 50% from the field, but overcame a 52% outing from the Wizards, including 18-of-38 (47%) from three-point range.
  • Malik Monk had another strong showing off the bench as the guard increased his lead in games with 10+ points and 5+ assists among NBA reserves (12): 10 PTS | 6 AST | 22 MIN
  • Sasha Vezenkov made an impact in limited minutes off the bench: 8 PTS | 7 REB (career-high) | 3/5 FG | 12 MIN
  • The Kings’ 143 points scored on Monday is the 28th-highest scoring game in franchise history (sixth-highest in the Sacramento era).

Injury Report

Alex Len (right high ankle sprain) continues to work his way back to action and has been seen getting work in on the sides of practices with the Kings training staff. An update on Len’s status is expected during Sacramento’s six-game home stand.

When is the next Sacramento Kings game?

Sacramento will continue its six-game home stand on Wednesday night against a Boston Celtics team that has looked like an NBA Finals favorite so far this season.

Boston will be on the second night of a back-to-back after facing the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco on Tuesday night.

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Celtics coverage, beginning at 5:30 PM PST on Game Night before a 7:00 PM PST tip-off from Golden 1 Center.

Upcoming Schedule

  • Wednesday, December 20th – Sacramento Kings vs. Boston Celtics – 7:00 PM PST
  • Friday, December 22nd – Sacramento Kings vs. Phoenix Suns – 7:00 PM PST
  • Saturday, December 23rd – Sacramento Kings vs. Minnesota Timberwolves – 7:00 PM PST
  • Tuesday, December 26th – Sacramento Kings @ Portland Trail Blazers – @ 7:00 PM PST
  • Friday, December 29th – Sacramento Kings @ Atlanta Hawks – 4:30 PM PST

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