SACRAMENTO KINGS

Kings go wire-to-wire during impressive win over Bucks

Mar 12, 2024, 9:35 PM | Updated: 9:56 pm

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 12: De'Aaron Fox #5 of the Sacramento Kings is guarded by Malik Beas...

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Following the Sacramento Kings’ loss to the Houston Rockets on Sunday night–their latest defeat to a sub-.500 team–fans on social media began firing off similar predictions for what would happen next for the ‘Beam Team’:

“They’ll definitely turn around and beat the Bucks on Tuesday.”

The 2023-24 Kings have been unpredictable, and Tuesday night’s dominant 129-94 win over the Milwaukee Bucks—their most significant margin of victory thus far in the regular season—was the latest impressive win for a Sacramento team that has performed well against the NBA’s top teams.

It was an impressive win for the Kings for a few reasons, the most important of which was ending an elongated head-to-head losing streak.

Sacramento snapped a 15-game losing streak against the Bucks and handed Milwaukee its first-ever loss at Golden 1 Center. For the first time since February 1, 2016, the Kings put a ‘W’ on the board against a franchise that has been one of the best teams in the league for the past half-decade.

With the win, Sacramento (37-27) inched closer to a top-six spot in the Western Conference standings as they sit just a half-game behind the Phoenix Suns while pulling two games ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers–the team that they will face on Wednesday night to complete a back-to-back.

Kings vs. Bucks Recap & Takeaways

Coming Out Swinging (And Shooting)

With Keegan Murray (left ankle sprain) out of action, Sacramento needed more out of its starting unit on Tuesday night.

De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis have continued to perform at a high level for the Kings, while the rest of Sacramento’s starting unit–Murray, Harrison Barnes, and Kevin Huerter–have been inconsistent for most of this season.

During Sunday’s loss to the Houston Rockets, Barnes (5 points) and Huerter (6 points) struggled to find a rhythm on a night when the Kings shot 18 percent from three-point range—the franchise’s worst three-point performance in a single game since 2015.

Thankfully, the two veterans surpassed their scoring totals from Sunday during the first quarter against Milwaukee.

Barnes (9 points on 3/3 3PT) and Huerter (8 points on 2/3 3PT)  jumpstarted a red-hot Kings offense during the first quarter as Sacramento went eight-for-11 (72%) from beyond the arc en route to taking a 38-30 lead through 12 minutes of play.

A balanced attack helped the Kings extend their lead to 20 points during the first half, with Sixth Man of the Year favorite Malik Monk (17 points) leading a Sacramento offense that scored 75 points on 66 percent shooting from the field and 10-of-18 (55%) from beyond the arc.

Monk was one of five Kings to finish the first half in double-figures, while the Bucks only had one player over the 10-point mark (Giannis Antetokounmpo) as Milwaukee struggled to knock down looks from deep (3/16, 18%).

Sacramento’s 22 first-half assists tied the team’s most during a single half this season as the Kings took a 75-56 lead into the break.

Coasting to a W

Even when the Sacramento Kings have won games this season, the process has been challenging–except for Tuesday, that is.

The Kings’ offense cooled off during the third quarter (30% FG), but it didn’t matter as they kept Milwaukee in check on the other end of the floor. Thanks to solid closeouts and defensive rebounding, Sacramento held the Bucks to 19 points (35% FG) to maintain a 17-point lead heading into the fourth period.

From that point on, it was all Kings as Sacramento shot 50 percent during the fourth while holding the Bucks to five-of-21 (24%) shooting during the final 12 minutes of play.

A balanced attack from the Kings’ offense paired with a no-show performance from most of Milwaukee’s roster acted as the difference in this one, with Sacramento adding another impressive win to its resume of triumphs over the league’s top teams.

The Kings got it done on both ends of the floor, but the defense was notable during a night that saw one of the league’s top offenses go ice-cold. Aside from a 29-point night from Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks didn’t have much working during the loss:

  • 94 points (second-lowest mark of the season
  • 36% FG (season-low)
  • 17% 3PT (season-low)

For Sacramento, it was a different story.

The Kings shook off an 18 percent performance from three-point land during Sunday’s loss with an 18-for-40 (45%) showing during Tuesday’s win. De’Aaron Fox (4/5 from 3PT) and Harrison Barnes (4/7 from 3PT) led the way for Sacramento as eight players knocked down at least one long-ball against Milwaukee–even JaVale McGee, who hit his first triple of the season late in the fourth.

Fox finished the night with 29 points (11/17 FG) to go along with six rebounds, seven assists, and two steals over 32 minutes. Fellow Kentucky guard Malik Monk racked up 25 points (9/19 FG) and passed out five assists over 28 minutes during the win.

It was a complete effort for the Kings, who handed out 34 assists during the win as five players finished in double-figures.

This team might not always make sense, but Tuesday’s blowout was a reminder that this group can be a dangerous matchup on any given night.

History at G1C

Malik Monk has now totaled 630 assists as a reserve with Sacramento, passing 2002-03 Sixth Man of the Year winner Bobby Jackson (629) for the most assists by a reserve in franchise history.

“Ever since he’s been here, he’s expanded his game,” Fox said of his former college teammate Monk. “I don’t think people realize how great of a playmaker that he is.”

Domantas Sabonis extended his double-double streak to 47 games, passing Jerry Lucas (46, 1/2-3/20/68) for the longest single-season double-double streak in franchise history. Sabonis finished with 22 points (10/14 FG), 11 rebounds, and eight assists while collecting his NBA-leading 60th double-double of the season.

When is the next Sacramento Kings game?

Sacramento will continue its six-game homestand on Wednesday night when they complete a back-to-back against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Los Angeles (36-30) is currently hot on the Kings’ tails in the Western Conference playoff race, although Sacramento holds a 3-0 record in the head-to-head season series against their old rival.

De’Aaron Fox’s career-high-tying 44-point performance on March 6th led the Kings to a 130-120 win over the Lakers at crypto.com Arena in a game that started with Sacramento falling behind by 19 points during the first quarter.

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Lakers coverage, beginning at 5:30 PM PST on Game Night before a 7:00 PM PST tip-off from downtown Sacramento.

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Upcoming Schedule

  • 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
  • Monday, March 18th – Sacramento Kings vs. Memphis Grizzlies – 7:00 PM PST
  • Wednesday, March 20th – Sacramento Kings @ Toronto Raptors – 4:30 PM PST
  • Thursday, March 21st – Sacramento Kings @ Washington Wizards – 4:00 PM PST

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