Sabonis racks up triple-double as Sacramento Kings sweep Lakers

Mar 13, 2024, 9:40 PM | Updated: Mar 14, 2024, 8:44 am

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 13: Domantas Sabonis #10 of the Sacramento Kings shoots over Anthony...

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

With less than 20 games remaining in the NBA’s 2023-24 regular season, the stakes are high for every team currently in the playoff hunt.

The Sacramento Kings have experienced peaks and valleys this season, but the ‘Beam Team’ is heating up at an ideal time against teams fighting for postseason positioning.

One day removed from an impressive 35-point win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday, the Kings followed up the win by completing the back-to-back with another victory, this time over the Los Angeles Lakers by a final of 120-107 at Golden 1 Center.

While Sacramento has struggled this season on the second night of back-to-backs, they played with energy from the opening tip-off and applied pressure throughout the game en route to securing a big win over the Lakers, a team that entered the night looking to chip away at the Kings’ two-game lead in the Western Conference standings.

Instead of trimming Sacramento’s lead in the standings to one game, the Kings completed a four-game season-series sweep of Los Angeles for the first time since the 2015-16 season while taking a three-game advantage over the Lakers in the race for the playoffs.

With the win, Sacramento (38-27) improved to a season-high eleven games over the .500 mark while jumping back into a top-six spot in the standings.

Kings vs. Lakers Recap & Takeaways

One of the critical reasons why Sacramento was able to blow out the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night was a balanced scoring attack. Five players finished the game with ten or more points during the win, with three players crossing the 20-point mark.

Twenty-four hours later, the Kings used a similar approach during the first half against Los Angeles.

In his return from a one-game absence due to an ankle sprain, Keegan Murray led Sacramento with 14 first-half points on four-of-six shooting from three-point range. Keon Ellis, who was filling in for the injured Kevin Huerter (leg contusion), scored 10 points before the end of the half while swiping a steal and blocking one shot.

Domantas Sabonis posted his 48th consecutive double-double before the end of the second quarter, but his playmaking came up big in the first half (six assists) to help the Kings take a slim 60-56 lead into the break.

Neither team led by more than six points during a fast-paced first 24 minutes of play that saw nine lead changes, setting the stage for an entertaining second half in front of a national audience.

Sacramento burst out of the gates to begin the third quarter, with Murray, Ellis, Sabonis, and De’Aaron Fox leading a 10-2 run out of the break to push the Kings’ lead into double-digits.

On Tuesday, head coach Mike Brown applauded his team’s defensive effort as they held the Bucks to just 94 points on season-low performances from the field (36%) and three-point range (17%). During the third period of Wednesday’s action, Sacramento took a page out of their game plan from the day prior by taking the Lakers’ offense out of the game.

The Kings held Los Angeles to 17 points on four-of-14 (28%) shooting from the field during the third quarter, including two-of-eight from deep to take an 88-73 lead into the fourth.

LeBron James’ late charge made things interesting late, but Sacramento refused to let up on the offensive end thanks to a big final push from Harrison Barnes.

Barnes knocked down four triples during the fourth quarter, scoring 12 of the Kings’ 32 points in the period to put the game away and cause Golden 1 Center to break out into “Beat LA” chants.

‘The Black Falcon’ finished his night with 23 points on seven-of-11 shooting from three-point during the win.

It was another complete effort for Sacramento, as Barnes’ big night, paired with Keegan Murray’s double-double, complimented another triple-double performance from Domantas Sabonis.

Murray was locked in from the perimeter during his return to action, converting five of his ten attempts from deep en route to a 19-point, 11-rebound performance–his fifth double-double of the year (most in a season during his NBA career).

The Kings’ shooters were dialed in on Wednesday (19-of-41, 46%), meaning that Sabonis’ workload wouldn’t need to be as heavy in the paint as the big man continued to find his teammates on the perimeter during the win.

Sabonis handed out ten assists during the win to go along with 19 rebounds and 17 points as the three-time All-Star improved to 10-0 in head-to-head matchups against star big Anthony Davis, including 4-0 this season alone.

Like last season, Sacramento’s offense is good enough to overcome strong offensive performances from opponents. The Lakers shot 48 percent from the field and 43 percent from three-point land, but the Kings hit two notable marks that typically result in a win: Scoring 120+ points and passing out 30+ assists.

Entering play on Wednesday, Sacramento held a record of 32-4 when scoring 120+ points and 22-5 when finishing a game with 30+ assists. During the win over Los Angeles, the Kings finished with exactly 120 points and 30 assists. I guess you could say the numbers never lie.

Even on a night that Sacramento played without two key players (Kevin Huerter and Trey Lyles), they took care of business against a team fighting beneath them in the standings.

Standings Watch

Thanks to their win over the Lakers, the Kings are just one game behind the New Orleans Pelicans for the fifth seed in the Western Conference standings.

Notes & Stats

  • With his field goal at the 8:31 mark of the third quarter, De’Aaron Fox reached 9,500 career points with the Kings, passing Peja Stojakovic (9,498) for the fourth-most points in the Sacramento era. Fox finished the night with 21 points (9/20 FG), four rebounds, seven assists, and one steal over 35 minutes.
  • Keon Ellis continues to impress in a starting role, as the undrafted guard brought energy on both ends of the floor during Wednesday’s win. Ellis scored 14 points (3/5 from 3PT) while swiping three steals over 28 minutes of action.
  • Sacramento’s bench outscored the Lakers 26-13 during the win.

Injury Updates

Kevin Huerter (right leg contusion) is considered day-to-day after injuring his leg during Tuesday’s game vs. Milwaukee.

Trey Lyles (left knee sprain) was ruled out of Wednesday’s game after suffering an injury during the second half of Tuesday’s win over Milwaukee. Lyles is considered day-to-day.

When is the next Sacramento Kings game?

Sacramento will continue its six-game homestand on Saturday night when they face All-Star guard Jalen Brunson and the New York Knicks at Golden 1 Center.

Last season, the Kings secured a 122-117 win over the Knicks at home in front of a national audience on TNT. Domantas Sabonis posted a triple-double (24 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists), while De’Aaron Fox’s 24 points helped Sacramento close things out in crunch time.

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

YouTube video

Upcoming Schedule

  • Saturday, March 16th – Sacramento Kings vs. New York Knicks – 7:00 PM PST
  • Monday, March 18th – Sacramento Kings vs. Memphis Grizzlies – 7:00 PM PST
  • Wednesday, March 20th – Sacramento Kings @ Toronto Raptors – 4:30 PM PST
  • Thursday, March 21st – Sacramento Kings @ Washington Wizards – 4:00 PM PST
  • Saturday, March 23rd – Sacramento Kings @ Orlando Magic – 4:00 PM PST

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