SACRAMENTO KINGS

De’Aaron Fox scores 43 as Kings top Spurs for fifth-straight W

Nov 17, 2023, 7:20 PM | Updated: 8:07 pm

(Rocky Widner/Getty Images)...

(Rocky Widner/Getty Images)

(Rocky Widner/Getty Images)

With the game on the line, who else did you expect to come through?

De’Aaron Fox continued to prove why he won last season’s first-ever Clutch Player of the Year award as the All-Star guard poured in a season-high 43 points during the Sacramento Kings’ 129-120 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night.

Fox’s big night was meaningful for several reasons, the first being that Sacramento (7-4) claimed its fifth-straight victory while also improving to 2-0 in the NBA In-Season Tournament.

The Kings eliminated San Antonio from advancing to the knockout round as the Spurs could not capitalize on a big night from rookie phenom Victor Wembanyama (27 points, nine rebounds) and a red-hot performance from three-point land (42%).

It wasn’t a perfect performance for Sacramento, but a win is a win–and the Kings needed this one if they were to remain in the mix for the knock-out round of the In-Season Tournament.

Kings vs. Spurs Takeaways

An Early Response

In recent years, the Kings would often lose games in the opening period after allowing opponents to jump out to insurmountable early leads.

Things looked bleak for Sacramento early as San Antonio jumped out to a 23-5 lead during the opening minutes of Friday’s game. Instead of letting the game spiral out of control, Mike Brown called an early timeout and called his team over to regroup.

Following that timeout, the Kings went on a 30-8 run and took the lead thanks to solid contributions from Malik Monk and the rest of the second unit. The Spurs shot a blistering nine-of-19 (47%) from three-point land, but the ‘Beam Team’ countered by knocking down 12 of their first 25 attempts from beyond the arc (48%).

Monk’s seven first-half assists and 16 points from De’Aaron Fox helped erase the early 18-point deficit as Sacramento entered the halftime break deadlocked with San Antonio at 62-62.

The Roller Coaster Continues

While the Kings might have sleepwalked their way through the opening minutes of the first quarter, Sacramento brought a different energy to the table in the second half.

The Kings jumped out to a 22-6 run during the opening minutes of the third quarter while pressuring San Antonio into several turnovers.

Unfortunately for Sacramento, the script was flipped this time around. The Spurs would be the team that erased a large deficit, as San Antonio trimmed the deficit to 95-94 heading into the fourth.

Closing Time

The fourth quarter belonged to the Kings’ All-NBA duo.

Fox scored 12 of his 43 points during the final period, while Domantas Sabonis came through with some big baskets–both in the paint and at the free-throw line–as Sacramento created enough space to take home the win.

Sabonis’ most impressive bucket of the night came late in the fourth quarter as the big man blew past Wembanyama on a pump-fake and delivered a rim-rattling jam as the rookie’s attempt to block the shot fell short.

The talented center has been on a roll this season, and Friday’s effort was the latest impressive performance as Sabonis finished with 27 points (9/13 FG), 14 rebounds, seven assists, and one block over 35 minutes.

On the heels of an impressive season in 2022-23, Sabonis has been even better thus far in 2023-24, posting ten double-doubles over 11 appearances thus far in the regular season.

Sabonis also ranks second in the NBA with five 20-10-5 games, only trailing two-time MVP Nikola Jokic (11).

Of course, the win wouldn’t be possible without both Sabonis and Fox locked in, with the latter finishing just one point shy of tying his career-high.

Fox finished the night with 43 points (27 in the second half), on 14-of-24 shooting from the field and five-of-11 from beyond the arc to go along with eight rebounds, seven assists, one steal, and one block over 41 minutes.

According to the Kings’ PR team, Fox is now fifth in Sacramento franchise history in games with 40+ points (7), passing Mitch Richmond (6) and Kevin Martin (6).

Just another day at the office for Fox, who has scored 30+ points in three of his six appearances this season and is now the NBA’s leading scorer at 32.2 points per game (minimum six games played).

It’s early in the season, but if this kind of play continues for Fox, he deserves to be in the MVP discussion come springtime.

NBA In-Season Tournament Update 

With the nine-point win over San Antonio in the books, Sacramento took over the top spot in their NBA In-Season Tournament Group.

Next Friday’s matchup between the Kings and Minnesota Timberwolves could give the winner a strong chance of advancing to the knockout stage in Las Vegas.

Notes

Malik Monk helped the Kings keep things from getting out of hand when they fell down by double-digits in the early stages of Friday’s game, and the 25-year-old caused damage in various ways during the win.

Monk finished the game with 20 points (seven-of-11 shooting), four rebounds, and eight assists over 26 minutes.

Oh yeah, Monk also delivered another candidate for Dunk of the Year:

Sacramento finished the night 15-of-36 (41%) from three-point range. In the three games since Fox has returned, the Kings have converted 42 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc.

Injury Report

Trey Lyles (calf strain) has not appeared in a regular season game but is progressing toward a return to action. The forward was seen going through a workout following Tuesday’s practice and could be in line for a return during this two-week road trip.

The Kings announced on Friday that center Alex Len (right ankle sprain) will be sidelined for six to eight weeks with a high ankle sprain. Expect JaVale McGee and Lyles, once he returns, to slide in and take over the backup center duties.

When is the next Sacramento Kings Game?

The two-week, six-game road trip will continue for Sacramento as they open up a back-to-back that will begin on Sunday night in Dallas.

Last season, the Kings dropped two out of three matchups against the Mavericks, including the most-recent matchup at American Airlines Center on April 5th as Kyrie Irving scored 19 points during the fourth quarter en route to a 123-119 win.

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Lakers coverage, beginning at 3:00 PM PST on Game Night before a 4:30 PM PST tip-off from San Antonio, Texas.

Upcoming Schedule

  • 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
  • Friday, November 24th – Sacramento Kings @ Minnesota Timberwolves** – 5:00 PM PST
  • Tuesday, November 28th – Sacramento Kings vs. Golden State Warriors** – 7:00 PM PST

** NBA In-Season Tournament Group Play

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