Four Kings score 20 points during blowout win in Portland
Mar 31, 2023, 11:49 PM
(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
If your attention gets removed from a Sacramento Kings game, you might leave a close game and return to a blowout.
For two-straight games, the Kings have “turned the jets on” during the second half against a severely short-handed Portland Trail Blazers team, with Friday’s 138-114 win being the team’s second-straight comfortable victory.
On the heels of clinching its first NBA Playoff appearance since 2006, Sacramento (47-30) improved to a season-high 17 games over the .500 mark while pulling itself within one win of securing a Pacific Division title for the first time since 2002-03.
The Kings keep rolling, with Friday’s win being the team’s 15th since returning from the All-Star break (15-5, best in the NBA).
Keegan putting an exclamation point on this one 😤 pic.twitter.com/gyCBHprDOu
— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) April 1, 2023
While the start of Wednesday’s game featured an uncharacteristically low-scoring first quarter from the Kings (19 points), the offense was flowing early in this one as Sacramento ended the opening period with a 36-27 lead.
Keegan Murray’s 10 first-quarter points helped set the tone during the first, but the rookie ran into foul trouble during the second quarter when he picked up his fourth personal foul with 4:09 remaining in the half.
With Murray sidelined, the Kings were able to get solid contributions from De’Aaron Fox, Domantas Sabonis, Kevin Huerter, and Malik Monk (all scored 10+ points during the first half) to push Sacramento’s lead to 71-59 at the break.
Although Portland’s skeleton crew of a supporting cast was eight-of-18 (44%) from three-point range during the first half, the Kings got things under control entering the third quarter as they eyed its 47th win of the season.
The Blazers’ three-point shooting kept them alive as play entered the fourth, but a 20-2 Kings run turned a single-digit game into a complete blowout seemingly within seconds as Sacramento’s lethal offense put the game away late.
Murray, who locked in on the defensive end and corralled a career-high three blocked shots during the win, scored seven of his 20 points during the fourth quarter as the Kings went 14-of-19 (73%) from the field during the final 12 minutes of play.
The rookie forward wasn’t the only player to reach the 20-point mark on Friday, as De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, and Domantas Sabonis all finished the night with 20 points on a combined 25-of-37 (68%) performance from the floor.
Malik has been worth the price of admission tonight 😲 pic.twitter.com/y8QFvsHeuZ
— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) April 1, 2023
Sacramento finished the night shooting a season-high 61 percent from the field and 19-of-39 (48%) from beyond the three-point arc. Good looks were a product of solid ball movement, as the Kings handed out 38 assists (second-most this season) while turning the ball over 13 times.
The league’s number-one offense was on its game in this one, and near-triple-doubles from its star duo in Sabonis (20 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists) and Fox (20 points, eight rebounds, and 11 assists) added to Sacramento’s fifth-highest scoring game of the season.
“To shoot 61 percent from the floor, 38 assists, 49 percent from the three-point line, offensively, we did a fantastic job. Our pace was great, 20 fast-break points, that was fantastic,” Head coach Mike Brown said postgame of his team’s offensive effort.”
Brown highlighted the strong play from Sixth Man of the Year candidate Malik Monk, who finished the night with 20 points on eight-of-12 shooting (four-of-seven from three-point land) and five assists over 25 minutes of playing time.
Monk gave the Kings a spark during the win, which Brown highlighted during his postgame press conference.
“Malik was fantastic,” Brown said. “Malik was really good for us. I thought he was really good for us offensively the entire game. When you’re talking about players coming off the bench, he’s top three in assists, top three or higher in scoring, he’s had a lot of double-digit games for us. A guy that comes off the bench and impacts the way he does, he’s the true definition of what I believe the Sixth Man of the Year should be.”
That boy cold 🥶
@keeganmurray_ earns his second DPOG chain of the year 👑 pic.twitter.com/EEN1CQnreK
— X – Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) April 1, 2023
Offense aside, the highlight of the game on the defensive end was Murray’s career-high in blocked shots, an impressive feat as the rookie tip-toed around four first-half fouls.
Murray settled down during the second half to block two of his three blocked shots and pick up a steal during the final two quarters of play, as his defensive impact complemented another strong showing on the offensive end (20 points on four-of-seven shooting from three-point range).
The Iowa product was named Defensive Player of the Game for the second time this season, which Murray joked about postgame.
“I won it in December, so it was a long time coming, for sure,” Murray said with a rare grin during his postgame press conference.
The vibes are high for this Kings team that is one win away from clinching a Pacific Division title for the first time in 20 years. Sacramento can clinch the Pacific with a win over the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday–a game that will feature plenty of fanfare as the team returns home for the first time since ending the 16-season playoff drought.
With only five games to go, Sacramento is ending the season on a high note as they close in on a 50-win season, something that several players–including Harrison Barnes, who talked about the goal with Carmichael Dave and Jason Ross on Friday–have cited as a target for this team.
The end of the regular season is just eight days away, and the NBA Playoffs are quickly approaching. Based on what we have seen from the Kings since returning from the All-Star break, they’re ready for the challenge.
Sacramento entered the NBA All-Star break with a record of 32-25.
The Kings are 15-5 since returning from the break, which is tied for the best post-All-Star-break record in the NBA, along with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Ending the year strong. pic.twitter.com/ZmdWOJSabX
— Frankie Cartoscelli (@FCartoscelli3) April 1, 2023
Notable Kings Stats
With two assists in the first half of tonight’s game at POR, Malik Monk has dished out 285 assists off the bench this season. Monk now has the most assists in a single season by a reserve in franchise history, surpassing Larry Drew (284) in 1981-82.
Domantas Sabonis has posted his 63rd double-double of the season tonight at POR. Sabonis has now passed Oscar Robertson (1962-63: 62) for the eighth-most double-doubles in a single season in franchise history.
The Kings scored 138 points tonight at POR, the 20th time this season that Sacramento has scored 130+ points. That is the most games with 130+ points in a season since the Denver Nuggets (26) during the 1983-84 season. The Kings are 18-2 this season when scoring 130+ points.
Stats courtesy of Sacramento Kings PR
Sacramento will return home for the first time after ending the 16-season postseason drought when they face the San Antonio Spurs in a matinee showing on Sunday.
Be sure to get all of your Kings vs. Spurs coverage right here on Sactown Sports 1140 beginning at 1:30 PM PST on Game Night with Scott Marsh and Henry ‘The High Flyer’ Turner before a 3:00 PM PST tip-off from downtown Sacramento.
Upcoming Sacramento Kings Schedule
Sunday, April 2nd – Sacramento Kings vs. San Antonio Spurs – 3:00 PM PST
Tuesday, April 4th – Sacramento Kings @ New Orleans Pelicans – 5:00 PM PST
Wednesday, April 5th – Sacramento Kings @ Dallas Mavericks – 5:30 PM PST
Friday, April 7th – Sacramento Kings vs. Golden State Warriors – 7:00 PM PST
Sunday, April 9th – Sacramento Kings @ Denver Nuggets – 12:30 PM PST
*End of the regular season*
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