Murray’s career-high helps pace Kings to blowout win over Clippers

Dec 3, 2022, 4:11 PM | Updated: 4:29 pm
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 07: Keegan Murray #13 of the Sacramento Kings stands on the co...
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

During the hours leading up to Saturday’s matchup between the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Clippers, news broke that All-Star forwards Kawhi Leonard and Paul George would not suit up due to injury.

Once the word got out, it sent a flurry of mixed emotions toward Sacramento as it became clear that they would enter the game with a clear advantage. The issue, of course, is that the Kings have a history of losing to short-handed teams, meaning that a matchup with a depleted Clippers team could spell disaster.

Well, so much for that.

The Kings (12-9) continue to prove that they are not the same team fans have been used to watching over the years as they thoroughly dismantled Los Angeles at Arena by coasting to a 123-96 win to begin a road-home back-to-back on a high note.

Domantas Sabonis quickly helped Sacramento set the tone early as the big man scored 15 points–the most that he has scored in a single quarter as a King–to lead his team to a 38-24 lead after one-quarter of play.

Things wouldn’t get any easier for the Clippers as a strong Kings defense held Los Angeles to just 38 points (the least amount of points that the Kings have allowed in a single half this season) on 28 percent shooting from the field and 14 percent shooting from beyond the arc during the first half.

Sacramento’s high-powered offense did what it usually does as the Kings finished the afternoon with 123 points on 51 percent shooting from the field, but the defense made this win noteworthy.

Los Angeles finished the game with 96 points while shooting 35 percent from the field (the lowest field goal % by a Kings’ opponent this season) and 27 percent from the three-point line, as the Clippers couldn’t find any consistency on that end of the floor.

The 96-point outing was the least amount of points that Sacramento has allowed in a game this season, and the effort came on a night where the Kings hoped to coast its way to victory before heading home to play again on Sunday–and that’s precisely what happened.

After trailing 4-3 just 90 seconds into the game, Sacramento dominated this game in every way en route to securing its second-straight win. Even fans in Los Angeles were calling for the beam to be lit as the Kings ran away with things late in the fourth, much to the confusion of Clippers players.

De’Aaron Fox, who is still recovering from general soreness and illness, had another quiet game on Saturday (14 points over 28 minutes). Domantas Sabonis was battling foul trouble for most of the game. Both of Sacramento’s stars played less than 30 minutes, yet the Kings still came out on top by nearly 30 points.

That wasn’t the case a year ago. This team continues to show growth, and Saturday’s win was the latest triumph for a group that is on a trajectory for postseason play.

Keegan’s Career Night

Keegan Murray had a much-needed breakout performance against the Clippers as the rookie scored a career-high 23 points on eight-of-15 shooting from the field to go along with seven rebounds and two steals over 28 minutes of action.

The 22-year-old has seemed much more relaxed over the past three games on both ends of the floor as it appears that the fourth-overall pick is weathering his first run-in with the ‘rookie wall.’ Murray has scored in double-figures in each of his past three games while pulling down five rebounds per game following two weeks of struggles.

When you’re playing within a Sacramento offense that is currently firing on all cylinders, the game will come to you a little easier, and Murray has been finding success by refraining from forcing shots and by playing within his own game. That’s a spell for success, and Saturday’s game was a perfect example of what the rookie is capable of on a nightly basis when he is in a groove.

Sabonis Dominates, But Battles Foul Trouble

The NBA Referees Association and Domantas Sabonis need to have a therapy session or two. Or five.

The two-time All-Star center led all Kings scorers with 24 points on 10-of-11 shooting from the field while grabbing five boards, handing out six assists, and swatting two shots over 26 minutes of action. Why did Sabonis only log 26 minutes, you ask? The same reason why the center continues to spend chunks of minutes on the bench during the later parts of games:

Foul trouble.

Sabonis, who entered play on Saturday averaging 3.8 personal fouls per game (third-most in the NBA), picked up three fouls during the first half and was forced to go to the bench amid a dominant stretch of play that helped put Sacramento up by nearly 30 points during the second quarter.

The big man finished the game with five fouls, but luckily, the Kings didn’t need to worry about having its star center on the floor late in the fourth quarter. Some whistles came down to Sabonis’ over-aggressiveness, but some calls were indeed questionable–something that hasn’t been out of the ordinary for Sabonis this season.

Still, even battling foul trouble, Sabonis has played his way into All-Star discussions as the 26-year-old finds ways to make an impact each time the basketball is in his hands.

Postgame Show

Check out our Sactown Sports Kings Recap Show on the Sactown Sports 1140 YouTube channel!

Sactown Sports Kings Recap Shows will be happening all season long, immediately following each Kings game!

Next Game

It will be a quick turnaround for the Kings as they will return home for a Sunday matinee against the Chicago Bulls to complete the back-to-back,

Be sure to get all of your Kings vs Bulls coverage on Sactown Sports 1140 starting at 1:30 pm PST on Game Night before action tips off at 3:00 pm PST from downtown Sacramento.

Upcoming Sacramento Kings Schedule

Sunday, December 4th – Sacramento Kings vs Chicago Bulls – 3:00 PM PST

Wednesday, December 7th – Sacramento Kings @ Milwaukee Bucks – 5:00 PM PST

Friday, December 9th – Sacramento Kings @ Cleveland Cavaliers – 4:30 PM PST

Sunday, December 11th – Sacramento Kings @ New York Knicks – 3:00 PM PST

Tuesday December 13th – Sacramento Kings @ Philadelphia 76ers – 4:30 PM PST


Sacramento Kings

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 27: Keegan Murray #13 of the Sacramento Kings looks on in the thir...
Frankie Cartoscelli

Kings rookie Keegan Murray selected to NBA Rising Stars Game roster

Sacramento Kings rookie forward Keegan Murray has been selected to the NBA Rising Stars game at All-Star Weekend.
16 hours ago
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 04: Matisse Thybulle #22 of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on against the Cl...
Frankie Cartoscelli

Report: Kings ‘monitoring availability’ of 76ers defensive specialist Matisse Thybulle

As the trade deadline approaches, the Sacramento Kings are reportedly interested in acquiring Philadelphia 76ers guard Matisse Thybulle.
16 hours ago
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 28: Domantas Sabonis #10 holds back De'Aaron Fox #5 of the Sacramento Kin...
Frankie Cartoscelli

Fox, Lyles come up big in Kings’ OT win over Timberwolves

With Domantas Sabonis sidelined, De'Aaron Fox & Trey Lyles came up clutch for the Sacramento Kings on Monday night in Minnesota.
2 days ago
SACRAMENTO,CA. - OCTOBER 24: Deonte Burton #4 of the Stockton Kings poses for a portrait during G L...
Frankie Cartoscelli

Sacramento Kings sign Deonte Burton to 10-day contract

The Sacramento Kings have signed forward Deonte Burton to a 10-day contract. To make room for Burton, the team released PJ Dozier.
2 days ago
Sacramento Kings guard De'Aaron Fox guard D'Angelo Russell of the Minnesota Timberwolves....
Frankie Cartoscelli

Preview: Kings look to snap two-game skid in rematch with T-Wolves

Can the Sacramento Kings bounce back against the Minnesota Timberwolves after dropping three of their past four games?
2 days ago
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 28: Luka Garza #55 of the Minnesota Timberwolves draws a foul against Dom...
Frankie Cartoscelli

Kings fall flat in road-trip opener as Edwards, T-Wolves secure W

The Sacramento Kings started a seven-game road trip off with a dud on Saturday night at Target Center in Minnesota.
4 days ago
Murray’s career-high helps pace Kings to blowout win over Clippers