SACRAMENTO KINGS

Fox, Kings best Luka, Mavericks for third-straight win

Jan 27, 2024, 9:05 PM | Updated: 9:13 pm

DALLAS, TX - JANUARY 27: De'Aaron Fox #5 of the Sacramento Kings drives inside past Dereck Lively I...

(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

A seven-game road trip can be daunting for NBA teams, but the Sacramento Kings are off and running to begin this two-week excursion.

On the heels of losing four straight games, the Kings secured a third consecutive win on Saturday night as De’Aaron Fox was the leading charge behind a 120-115 win over the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center.

While it took another late-game closing effort, Sacramento (26-18) had enough in the tank to hold off a late Dallas run and start their longest road trip of the season with a 2-0 record.

The Kings have bounced back from the four-game skid and jumped back into the fifth spot in the Western Conference standings.

Kings vs. Mavericks Takeaways

An Ideal Start

One of Sacramento’s biggest problems against shorthanded teams this season has been the first half.

The Kings have found themselves in a double-digit hole before the halftime break in games against teams that have been missing multiple starters, but Saturday night, we got to see the complete opposite scenario.

De’Aaron Fox looked like a man on a mission during the first half as the All-Star scored 21 points (10-of-15 shooting) to lead all scorers at the break.

Less than 24 hours before the Mavericks took the floor against Sacramento, Luka Doncic became just the tenth player in NBA history to top the 70-point mark after dropping 73 points against the Atlanta Hawks.

Keegan Murray has been assigned to the best player on the opposing team for most of this season, and Saturday wouldn’t be any different as the second-year guard took on the task of defending a red-hot Doncic. Unfortunately for Doncic, the early results weren’t as glowing as his performance in Atlanta.

Doncic scored 14 points on five-of-14 (35%) shooting from the field as the Mavericks struggled to cut through an engaged Kings defense. Sacramento held Dallas to 35 percent shooting from the field and seven-of-25 (28%) shooting from three-point range en route to building a double-digit lead before the break.

The Kings, who entered play ranked 27th in blocks per game (4.0), tied their season-high for blocks in a single game before the break with nine swats during the first half.

With Fox dialed in and Sacramento bringing it on the defensive end, the Kings opened up the third quarter with a 63-49 lead as they eyed a third-straight win.

More Late-Game Drama

It felt like a matter of when–not if–the Mavericks would make their move, and Dallas hit back to open up the second half.

The Mavs trimmed Sacramento’s 22-point lead to nine thanks to a 14-1 run over the opening minutes of the third period. Dallas’ run came without Doncic, who continued to convert from the field, but the Kings couldn’t rely on those struggles continuing throughout the remainder of the game.

Although Sacramento held a 23-point lead with nine minutes to go, the Mavericks made one last push to cut the deficit to single digits with less than three minutes to go.

The Kings’ offense went quiet down the stretch, as Dallas held Sacramento to just seven points over the final 3:53 of action. While things got tense late, Sacramento overcame more late-game free-throw blunders to get out of Texas with a win.

Outside of a sluggish finish, it was another complete effort on offense for the Kings, who followed up Thursday’s win over Golden State with another strong showing on the offensive end.

Sacramento has shot over 50 percent from the field in consecutive games as the Kings converted 53 percent of their attempts from the floor on Saturday night, including 37 percent from three-point land.

Defense played just as big of a role in Dallas, especially the job that Murray did on Doncic.

Throughout this season, it’s become more apparent on a nightly basis that Murray is Sacramento’s best on-ball defender, and he continued to prove that against Doncic as the All-Star followed up his 73-point outing with a 28-point performance on nine-of-26 (34%) shooting from the field.

Murray finished the night with a career-high-tying three blocked shots, with two coming on attempts around the basket by Doncic.

It wasn’t a perfect win by any means, but the Kings maintained control for nearly the entirety of this one en route to another victory.

Fox Leads The Way

After looking a step slower for a two-week stretch, De’Aaron Fox has reverted back to his early-season self.

One game removed from a 29-point outing in San Francisco, Fox racked up a game-high 34 points on 13-of-24 (54%) shooting from the field to go along with five assists, two steals, and two blocks over 37 minutes.

Fox looks like he has his bounce back, which is a very good sign for Sacramento as they climb back into the NBA Playoff picture following a couple of days in the Play-In range.

Mr. Double-Double

Is it even news at this point?

Domantas Sabonis continues to impress as the All-NBA center posted his 27th consecutive double-double during the winning effort. Sabonis is just the 17th player in NBA history to post 27-straight double-doubles.

Over 36 minutes of action on Saturday, Sabonis put up 17 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists on seven-of-10 shooting from the floor.

In Sacramento Kings franchise history, there are only two streaks longer than Sabonis’ current 27-game run:

  • Oscar Robertson: 31 games, 2/12-11/21/61
  • Oscar Robertson: 29 games, 12/6/61-1/30/62

Not bad company for Sabonis.

Notes

  • Harrison Barnes has scored 20+ points in three-straight games for the first time this season: 20 PTS | 6 REB | 4/7 3PT
  • All five of Sacramento’s starters finished in double-figures during the win.
  • The Kings improved to 21-6 when shooting 35% or better from deep this season.

When is the next Sacramento Kings game?

Sacramento’s seven-game road trip will continue on Monday when the Kings face a Memphis Grizzlies team that has been playing some solid basketball over the past week.

Entering play on Saturday, the Grizzlies had won three straight games–an impressive feat as they deal with injuries to key players like Ja Morant, Steven Adams, Desmond Bane, Brandon Clarke, and Derrick Rose.

On New Year’s Eve, Sacramento had one of its strongest showings of the season as Domantas Sabonis (13 points, 21 rebounds, 12 assists) and Malik Monk (27 points) led the Kings to a 123-92 win at FedEx Forum.

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Grizzlies coverage, beginning at 3:30 PM PST on Game Night before a 5:00 PM PST tip-off from Memphis.

YouTube video

Upcoming Schedule

  • Monday, January 29th – Sacramento Kings @ Memphis Grizzlies – 5:00 PM PST
  • Wednesday, January 31st – Sacramento Kings @ Miami Heat – 4:30 PM PST
  • Friday, February 2nd – Sacramento Kings @ Indiana Pacers – 4:30 PM PST
  • Saturday, February 3rd – Sacramento Kings @ Chicago Bulls – 5:00 PM PST
  • Monday, February 5th – Sacramento Kings @ Cleveland Cavaliers – 4:00 PM PST

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