SACRAMENTO KINGS

De’Aaron Fox returns as Kings pour it on Cavaliers in blowout win

Nov 13, 2023, 9:38 PM | Updated: 10:16 pm

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 13: De'Aaron Fox #5 of the Sacramento Kings dribbles the ball aga...

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The Sacramento Kings had not looked like themselves without De’Aaron Fox.

Last year’s record-setting offense had struggled to find consistency during Fox’s five-game absence due to a right ankle sprain, but the All-Star guard brought plenty of fireworks with him during his return to the hardwood on Monday night.

Fox picked up where he left off before the injury by scoring a game-high 28 points, Domantas Sabonis posted a double-double, and the Kings’ high-powered offense returned to elite form during a 132-120 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden 1 Center.

Sacramento led by as many as 21 points and held a double-digit advantage for the majority of Monday’s action in what was the Kings’ strongest showing of the young season.

Sacramento (5-4) pulled itself over the .500 mark with its third-straight win, and they did so on a night that saw the Kings score 110 points through just three quarters, the most since February 24th’s 176-175 marathon win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Those who had been waiting for Sacramento to revert to last year’s form on the offensive end were treated to a fun game on Monday, as the Kings set a season-high in points scored (132), made field goals (49), three-point field goals (20), assists (32) field goal percentage (59%), three-point field goal percentage (47%).

“I feel like tonight was a night that we were waiting on, where we could put it all together on the same night,” Keegan Murray said of Sacramento’s refreshing display on the offensive end of the floor.

Not a bad night for the ‘Beam Team.’

Return of the King

Following a five-game absence that spanned two weeks, De’Aaron Fox returned from a right ankle sprain on Monday night.

Fox, who injured his ankle during the closing minutes of October 29th’s win over the Los Angeles Lakers, jumped back into the swing of things on Monday night and picked up right where he left off.

It didn’t take long for Fox to get going on offense, as the speedy guard quickly got on the board with a basket right off the opening tip to jumpstart the Kings offense.

Fox’s presence was notable from the tip, as ‘Swipa’ scored 15 points on six-of-12 shooting during the first half.

The reigning Clutch Player of the Year looked unaffected and unhesitant in all facets during his return from the sprained ankle, scoring 28 points on 11-of-20 shooting from the field to go along with six assists over 36 minutes.

“It felt good just to be able to go out there and contribute,” Fox said of his return to the floor. “You want to be out there to help your team.”

During the third quarter, Fox was a driving force behind a 31-16 run that put the Kings in the driver’s seat heading into the final period, as Cleveland’s defense had no answer for a red-hot Sacramento offense.

Fox’s presence loomed large in this one, and having number five back on the floor was a welcome sight for the Kings following two weeks of struggles.

The Triples (Finally) Fall

Sacramento’s offense had been sluggish during the five-game stretch without Fox, scoring 102.6 points per game on 42 percent shooting from the field and 30 percent from three-point range.

With Fox back in the swing of things, the Kings looked like their 2022-23 selves as they created offense in various ways, most notably from the perimeter.

Sacramento’s offense has been a shell of itself during the early stages of this regular season as returning regulars have struggled to find consistency from beyond the arc. Kevin Huerter and Keegan Murray unlocked their outside game during Friday’s win over Oklahoma City, and it might as well have been a sign of what was to come against Cleveland.

As we learned during last season’s record-setting campaign, the Kings are dangerous when locked in from three-point land.

Huerter, who shot 20 percent from deep during the first five games of the season, posted his fourth-straight game with three or more made triples, while Murray contributed with a season-high 25 points on nine-of-13 shooting from the field, five-of-nine from three-point range, and eight rebounds during the win.

‘Red Velvet’ led the way for the Kings from beyond the arc as Huerter converted a season-high six of his nine attempts from deep en route to a 20-point night.

Following a tough start to the season that was a continuation of his struggles during Sacramento’s seven-game playoff series in April, Huerter has reverted back to his sharpshooting self–and that’s a very welcome sign for this Kings offense.

After opening up the year shooting 20 percent from deep over the first five games of the season, Huerter has hit 50 percent of his attempts from three-point range over the past four games.

With Huerter and Murray locked in on offense and Fox in the backcourt, Sacramento’s offense has woken from its cold stretch and looks as dangerous as ever.

Notes

  • It was a historic night for Mike Brown, who became the 54th head coach in NBA history to pick up his 400th regular season win. Brown was given the team crown following the win, although the coach joked that Murray should have gotten the honor for his defense on Cavs’ star Donovan Mitchell.
  • Sacramento got strong play from its bench as Malik Monk (13 points) and Sasha Vezenkov (11 points) combined to shoot 6/10 from three-point range.
  • Domantas Sabonis continues to have an All-Star-esque start to the season, as the big man followed up Friday’s triple-double performance with 23 points (8/10 FG), nine rebounds, and ten assists for his eighth double-double over nine games played.
  • Davion Mitchell did not play for the Kings, as Keon Ellis slid into the backup point guard role. Brown told the media postgame that Ellis earned an opportunity to log minutes in the second unit after what he did in a starting role with Fox sidelined.

Injury Report

De’Aaron Fox (right ankle sprain) returned to action following a five-game absence.

Trey Lyles (left calf strain) missed his ninth straight game and has not appeared in a regular season game. Lyles is without a clear timetable but has been seen doing on-court work with the Kings’ training staff.

When is the next Sacramento Kings Game?

With a three-game home stand in the books, Sacramento will embark on a ten-day, six-game road trip that will take them away from Northern California until after Thanksgiving.

The trip will begin on Wednesday night as the Kings will face the Los Angeles Lakers in front of a national audience on ESPN.

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

Upcoming Schedule

  • Wednesday, November 15th – Sacramento Kings @ Los Angeles Lakers – 7:00 PM PST
  • Friday, November 17th – Sacramento Kings @ San Antonio Spurs – 4:30 PM PST
  • Sunday, November 19th – Sacramento Kings @ Dallas Mavericks – 4:30 PM PST
  • Monday, November 20th – Sacramento Kings @ New Orleans Pelicans – 5:00 PM PST
  • Wednesday, November 22nd – Sacramento Kings @ New Orleans Pelicans – 5:00 PM PST

** NBA In-Season Tournament Group Play

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