SACRAMENTO KINGS

Fox & Sabonis combine for 62 points as Kings top Mavericks

Nov 19, 2023, 7:00 PM | Updated: 8:37 pm

DALLAS, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 19: De'Aaron Fox #5 of the Sacramento Kings drives with the ball as Josh G...

(Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images)

(Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images)

Since the day that he was drafted by the Sacramento Kings in 2017, the main critique of De’Aaron Fox’s game was his three-point shot.

Following an offseason that saw the All-NBA guard put in extensive work on his outside game, Fox has flashed his new-and-improved three-point shot during the early stages of the regular season.

During Sunday night’s action in Dallas, Fox tied his career-high with six made triples during another 30-point effort as the Kings knocked off the Mavericks by a final of 129-113-triumph at American Airlines Arena.

Sacramento (8-4) has won six straight games since dropping three in a row during Fox’s absence, but the Kings look like a juggernaut with their franchise guard in the lineup.

With Fox in the lineup, Sacramento holds a 6-1 record over seven games this season.

It was a tough, physical, three-point-heavy matchup between two teams that currently sit near the top of the Western Conference standings, and the Kings had to dig deep during the second half to out-gun Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving (combined to score 48 points).

Even on a night where Sacramento was without Kevin Huerter (finger sprain), Sacramento got another impressive showing from its All-Star duo while the supporting cast chipped in, especially from three-point range.

After starting the season with a 2-4 record highlighted by two ugly losses in Houston, the Kings have turned the page in a big way by winning six straight games.

It’s early, but there is a lot to like about Sacramento following 12 games.

Kings vs. Mavericks Takeaways

Fox & The Ox Do It Again

The Sacramento Kings’ All-Star duo is quite a run right now.

Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox picked up right where they left off from Friday’s win against the San Antonio Spurs, as the All-NBA talents each tallied double-figures during the first quarter.

Fox’s 13-point first quarter marked the guard’s fifth-straight period scoring 10+ points, while Sabonis finished the first half with 18 points, six rebounds, and five assists.

It was a battle between two star duos on Sunday, as the Kings’ franchise centerpieces went head-to-head with the Mavericks’ high-scoring backcourt of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving.

While Doncic and Irving applied pressure to Sacramento early, it was Fox and Sabonis who took over in the second half to lead the Kings to a double-digit victory.

Fox scored 17 of his 30 points during the second half while finishing the game 10-of-20 from the field and six-of-ten from three-point range while handing out seven assists and swiping three steals.

‘Swipa’ has been a force from beyond the arc this season, as the guard has made five or more triples in a game on three occasions thus far–one game shy of tying his career-high for most games with 5+ three-point makes in a single season (four, 2022-23).

The speedy guard has been a nightmare for opposing defenses with his ability to get into the paint, but his newfound ability to consistently knock down triples has put him in the NBA lead for points per game (32.2) while shooting 41 percent from deep on a career-high 8.6 attempts per game.

Three-point shooting hasn’t been a strength for Fox during the first six seasons of his career, but the guard is shooing nearly 10 percent above his career rate from beyond the arc (.323) to start the season. The progress is showing with each passing game, and that’s an exciting development for the Kings’ franchise guard.

“Nobody can freakin’ mess with that man,” head coach Mike Brown said of Fox’s incredible start to the season. “He’s that talented. Believe that.”

When you factor in Sabonis’ recent run, Sacramento’s offense has been a nightmare for opposing defenses.

Sabonis scored a season-high 32 points on an incredible 13-of-15 shooting from the field en route to posting his 11th double of the season (13 rebounds, six assists, and no turnovers).

The talented center has scored 27+ points in three straight games, marking the first such streak of his NBA career while also making opponents’ nights difficult on the glass.

When Fox and Sabonis are both on, it creates a recipe for success, as the Kings have turned a rough start completely around following six straight winning efforts.

Again, it’s early–but it’s hard to second guess why these two represented Sacramento during February’s NBA All-Star game in Salt Lake City, and why they should do so again come this season’s showcase in Indianapolis.

The Supporting Cast Steps Up

With Kevin Huerter sidelined on Sunday night, Sacramento would need the supporting cast to step up against Dallas.

Huerter, who had shaken off a rough start to the season and averaged 19.2 points per game on 47 percent shooting from deep over his past six appearances, left a hole in the Kings’ lineup–especially from beyond the arc.

Recently acquired wing Chris Duarte was inserted into the starting lineup alongside De’Aaron Fox in the backcourt, and the 26-year-old did his best to replicate the production that Huerter left in his absence.

Duarte got off to a hot start from three-point land, scoring a season-high 11 points on four-of-five shooting from the field and a perfect three-of-three beyond the arc during the first half alone.

When you factor in Harrison Barnes’ active start (seven first-half points, matching his scoring output from Friday’s win in San Antonio), Sacramento’s offense was firing on all cylinders en route to taking a 70-65 lead into the break.

Malik Monk took the baton from Duarte as play entered the second half, as the Sixth Man of the Year candidate knocked down four of his six attempts from three-point range to add 12 points over just 18 minutes off the bench.

When you factor in Duarte’s 13 points (three of four from deep), Barnes’ 12 points, and Monk’s efforts from beyond the arc, the Kings got ample support from its supporting cast that complimented monstrous efforts from Fox and Sabonis.

Notes

  • Sacramento converted 17/40 (45%) of their attempts from three-point range while shooting 53% from the field.
  • The Kings outscored Dallas 59-48 during the second half
  • Keegan Murray had a strong night from the field (7/13) while adding 17 points over 33 minutes

Injury Report

Kevin Huerter (sprained finger) was listed as questionable heading into Sunday’s game before being ruled out shortly before tip-off. The sharpshooting guard is considered day-to-day.

Trey Lyles (calf strain) has not appeared in a regular season game but is progressing toward a return to action. The forward recently shared that he expects to return during Sacramento’s current 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 on Monday night for Sacramento as they play the second night of a back-to-back against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Sacramento took two of three regular-season matchups against New Orleans last season, including the most recent matchup that took place on April 4th at Smoothie King Center.

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

Upcoming Schedule

  • 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
  • Wednesday, November 29th – Sacramento Kings vs. Los Angeles Clippers – 7:00 PM PST

** NBA In-Season Tournament Group Play

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