Kings erase 19-point deficit, beat Lakers behind Fox & Monk

Mar 6, 2024, 10:08 PM | Updated: 11:10 pm

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 06: De'Aaron Fox #5 of the Sacramento Kings takes a shot against Ta...

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

On the heels of a brutal loss to the Chicago Bulls on Monday night, the Sacramento Kings desperately needed to respond to keep pace in the Western Conference playoff race.

Over two matchups this season, the Kings had posed a problem for the Los Angeles Lakers. During Wednesday’s action at Arena, Sacramento reminded their old rival of why they could be a dangerous postseason matchup come April.

De’Aaron Fox tied his career-high with 44 points, Domantas Sabonis posted a 20-rebound-triple-double, and the Kings’ bench helped erase an early 19-point deficit as Sacramento defeated the Lakers by a final of 130-120.

It was an important win for the Kings (35-26), who increased their lead over Los Angeles in the standings to 2.5 games while securing the regular season series (3-0), giving them all tie-breaker scenarios over the Lakers.

There would be no blown leads in this one, as Fox and company delivered a much-needed win in style.

Kings vs. Lakers Recap & Takeaways

A Second Quarter To Remember

Throughout the course of this season, Sacramento has jumped out to big leads early, then let them slip away as the game unfolded.

On Wednesday night, the Kings would be the team looking to chip away at an early deficit.

Los Angeles looked like a team playing for its postseason lives in the first quarter, as the Lakers quickly put Sacramento in a 30-13 hole over the first eight minutes of action. As the Kings struggled to pick up stops on defense and find a rhythm on offense, head coach Mike Brown opted to call on second-year guard Keon Ellis at the end of the first quarter.

From the moment Ellis and the rest of the bench checked in, Sacramento made their move to get back in the game. The Kings’ struggles on the defensive end disappeared thanks to energy from Ellis and fellow bench guards Malik Monk and Davion Mitchell, who both had red-hot starts to Wednesday’s game.

After falling behind by 19 points near the end of the first, the Kings ended the period on a 10-0 run to trim the gap to nine. Ellis, who head coach Mike Brown called on following a tough start from Kevin Huerter, brought energy on the defensive end, while Davion Mitchell continued to showcase his improved three-point shooting (4/4 from 3PT range during the first half).

Monk, who went scoreless during Monday’s stunning loss to Chicago, scored 14 of his 19 first-half points during the second quarter–a quarter for the books.

Sacramento outscored Los Angeles 44-20 during the second quarter while shooting 78 percent from the field and an incredible eight-of-ten from three-point range. A defense that allowed the Lakers to shoot 55 percent during the first period held Los Angeles to five-of-18 (28%) shooting one quarter later.

Over the final 14 minutes of the first half, the Kings outscored Los Angeles 54-20. That isn’t a typo–fifty-four to twenty.

In every sense, Sacramento flipped the game on its head behind a re-ignited offense led by De’Aaron Fox’s 20 first-half points. With Fox and the bench locked in, Sacramento took a 72-57 lead into the third quarter as they eyed a much-needed bounce-back win.

No Messing Around

During Monday’s loss to the Bulls, the Kings watched a 22-point lead disappear down the stretch as Chicago came away with a 113-109 victory.

Unfortunately for Sacramento, that wasn’t their first late-game meltdown of the season, and just 48 hours later, they had a chance at redemption in Los Angeles. This time, Fox–who scored one point during the fourth quarter against the Bulls–wouldn’t stand by quietly and watch another game slip away.

The reigning Clutch Player of the Year carried his hot start into the second half as Fox quickly scored 10 points over the first five minutes of the third quarter to push the lead to 22 points.

While the Lakers made their move near the end of the period, the Kings displayed poise down the closing stretch while maintaining a double-digit lead for the remainder of the night.

Once the Kentucky duo smelled blood in the water, it was curtains for Los Angeles.

Fox and Monk led the way for Sacramento in the latest impressive effort from the former college duo.

It seems like Fox often has big nights while playing at Arena, and this game was no different, as the guard finished the night with a career-high-tying 44 points (19-of-32 shooting) over 39 minutes. The speedy guard took over in the second half by attacking a lacking Lakers defense, finishing multiple and-ones to keep the pressure on Los Angeles down the stretch.

Monk also delivered in a big way on Wednesday, as the Sixth Man of the Year favorite racked up 26 points (10-of-16 from the field) while also grabbing five boards and handing out eight assists.

Behind a massive performance from the Fox-Monk duo and a complete turnaround by the offense (58% FG after the first quarter), the Kings will return to Golden 1 Center for a six-game homestand on a winning note.

Stats & Notes

Domantas Sabonis continued his incredible season on Wednesday as the big man extended his double-double streak to 44 games while also posting his 22nd triple-double of the year (most in the NBA).

Sabonis finished the night with 16 points, 20 rebounds, and 12 assists in what was his league-leading sixth 20+ rebound game of the season.

De’Aaron Fox‘s 44-point game was his seventh 40+ point performance of the season–the fourth-most in the NBA:

Quick Hits

  • Sacramento’s bench outscored the Lakers 50-18 on Wednesday night
  • The Kings dominated the paint during the win: 76-50
  • Domantas Sabonis is now 9-0 vs. Anthony Davis during his NBA career

When is the next Sacramento Kings game?

Sacramento will return home on Thursday to play the second game of a back-to-back against rookie phenom Victor Wembanyama and the San Antonio Spurs (13-49), the owner of the worst record in the Western Conference.

On February 22nd, the Kings outlasted a late push from San Antonio to claim a 127-122 win at Golden 1 Center behind Domantas Sabonis’ triple-double (22 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists) and a 28-point effort from De’Aaron Fox.

Sacramento’s game against the Spurs will mark the start of a six-game homestand, as the Kings will play 14 of their final 22 contests on their own floor.

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Spurs 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

  • Thursday, March 7th – Sacramento Kings vs. San Antonio Spurs – 7:00 PM PST
  • Sunday, March 10th – Sacramento Kings vs. Houston Rockets – 3:00 PM PST
  • Tuesday, March 12th – Sacramento Kings vs. Milwaukee Bucks – 7:00 PM PST
  • Wednesday, March 13th – Sacramento Kings vs. Los Angeles Lakers – 7:00 PM PST
  • Saturday, March 16th – Sacramento Kings vs. New York Knicks – 7:00 PM PST

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