SACRAMENTO KINGS

De’Aaron Fox makes history as Kings torch Suns

Dec 22, 2023, 9:44 PM | Updated: 10:27 pm

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 22: De'Aaron Fox #5 of the Sacramento Kings goes up for a shot on...

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Since the beginning of last season, the Sacramento Kings have handled adversity with grace time and time again.

When things have gone south, like Wednesday’s 25-point blowout loss to the Boston Celtics, the Kings have excelled at answering back with a win to stop the bleeding.

On Friday night, Sacramento dropped the hammer by running the Phoenix Suns out of the gym during a 120-105 win at Golden 1 Center.

The Kings, who are now 4-1 during this six-game homestand, led by as many as 29 points in a game in which they held the lead for 46 out of 48 minutes of game time.

Sacramento (17-10) has won six of their past eight games and is now 11-4 on its home floor this season. The Kings last lost consecutive games a month ago, as they continue to prove that they are a team to be wary of in the Western Conference.

Fox & Sabonis lead an early charge

During his 26th birthday on Wednesday night, De’Aaron Fox quickly asserted himself as a hub for Sacramento’s offense by scoring 26 first-half points.

On Friday, the star guard continued his early-game success by scoring 12 points over just nine minutes of action during the first quarter while extending his made three-point field goal streak to 24 games–the longest of his career.

Fox was a force for the Kings early, scoring 19 points on seven-of-11 shooting from the field during the first half while finding his way to the basket, getting to the foul line, and knocking down two of his five attempts from deep over 17 minutes.

With Fox and Domantas Sabonis (12 points, eight boards, seven assists during the first half) locked in, Sacramento was in a good spot entering the second half as they opened the third with a 65-54 lead.

In a first half that included a 36-minute first quarter, 24 fouls called, 38 combined free-throw attempts, and four technical fouls (three for Phoenix and one for the Kings), Sacramento remained in the driver’s seat thanks to a rough start for the Suns offense.

Putting The Game Away Before The 4th

Sacramento “turned the jets on” to start the third quarter as the Kings posted a 9-0 run during the opening 90 seconds of the second half to take its largest lead of the night at 74-54, causing Phoenix to call a timeout.

The Kings poured it on during the third quarter, as Sacramento converted 12 of its first 13 attempts from the field to start the quarter while stretching their lead to as many as 29 points.

Keegan Murray, who scored a franchise-record 26 points during the third quarter of the Kings’ win over Utah last weekend, continued his dominance in the quarter by scoring 13 points in the period on three-of-four shooting from beyond the arc.

Murray and Harrison Barnes combined for 19 of Sacramento’s 38 points in the third as the Suns entered the fourth facing a 19-point deficit.

Thanks to considerable second-half efforts from Murray, who scored 17 of his 21 points during the second half, and Barnes, who finished with 19 points–his fourth-straight game scoring in double-figures–the Kings were able to hold off a late run by Phoenix and win this one comfortably.

“We just stayed aggressive. We were up 11 at the half and wanted to keep our foot on the gas,” Murray said of Sacramento’s quick start to the second half.

Murray has been a force on offense since returning from a lower back injury on December 2nd as the fourth-overall pick from last year’s NBA Draft has scored in double-figures in nine-straight games–the longest such streak of his career.

Over 33 minutes of action, Murray scored 21 points on eight-of-13 shooting (three-of-seven from deep) while grabbing five boards.

De’Aaron Fox Stands Alone

Entering play on Friday night, De’Aaron Fox needed five assists to break Kings legend Mike Bibby’s Sacramento era (1985-present) assists record of 2,580.

With 7:47 remaining in the third quarter, Fox found Harrison Barnes for the forward’s fourth triple of the game as a sold-out crowd came to its feet heading into a Suns timeout.

At just 26 years old, Fox passed Bibby for the most assists in the team’s nearly 40-year history in Sacramento while jumping into the fifth spot on the franchise’s all-time leaderboard, only trailing Oscar Robertson (7,731), Sam Lacey (3,563), Tiny Archibald (3,499), and Reggie Theus (2,809).

“He’s just getting started,” Kings head coach Mike Brown said of his point guard postgame. “He’s 26, and he’s already broken that record. There’s going to be a lot of records broken.”

Fox continued to play like a star on Friday, as the guard scored 23 points, grabbed six rebounds, passed out seven assists, swiped three steals, and blocked two shots over 32 minutes.

The speedy guard is making history on a nightly basis these days, and it looks like that trend will continue for years to come as he continues his ascension toward superstardom.

Dominant Domas

Another day, another double (and triple) double for Domantas Sabonis.

In another dominant performance, the All-NBA center racked up his tenth-straight double-double and fourth triple-double of the young season.

Sabonis finished the win with 28 points (12-of-15 shooting) to go along with 11 rebounds and 11 assists over 35 minutes.

Phoenix had no answer for the All-Star big man, as Sabonis made all 12 of his attempts inside the paint against a Suns defense that allowed Sacramento to shoot 28-of-36 (77%) in the paint as a team.

Notes

  • Sacramento has passed out 30+ assists in 12 games this season. They hold a 12-0 record in those games.
  • Phoenix went five-for-25 (20%) from three-point range on Friday, marking the 14th time this season that an NBA team has made five or less triples during a game.
  • Since the start of last season, the Kings are now 18-1 when Keegan Murray scores 20+ points.

Injury Report

Alex Len (right high ankle sprain) is closing in on a return to action. The center was ruled out for an 18th-straight game on Friday but has fully participated in two straight practices.

When is the next Sacramento Kings game?

Sacramento will conclude its six-game homestand on Saturday night against a Minnesota Timberwolves team that looks poised for a big year.

Entering play on Saturday, Minnesota holds the best record in the Western Conference at 21-6, while the Kings hold an 0-3 record on the second night of back-to-backs this season.

YouTube video

Back on November 24th, the Kings handed the Timberwolves their first–and only–home loss in the form of a 124-111 triumph at the Target Center. Minnesota is 12-1 at home and 9-5 on the road this season.

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

Upcoming Schedule

  • 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
  • Sunday, December 31st – Sacramento Kings @ Memphis Grizzlies – 5:00 PM PST
  • Tuesday, January 2nd – Sacramento Kings vs. Charlotte Hornets – 7:00 PM PST

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