SACRAMENTO KINGS

Kings rout Pacers behind group effort from offense

Feb 2, 2024, 7:24 PM

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - FEBRUARY 02: Domantas Sabonis #10 of the Sacramento Kings dribbles the ball...

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

No All-Star nods, no problem.

De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis might not travel to Indianapolis in a few weeks for the NBA All-Star game, but the duo shook off the snubs by leading a complete effort during the Sacramento Kings’ 133-122 win over the Indiana Pacers on Friday night.

The Kings (28-19) bounced back from Wednesday’s loss to the Miami Heat by defeating old friends Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield to improve to 4-1 on this seven-game road trip.

It was a complete effort for Sacramento, as four players scored 20 points or more during a win over an Indiana team that has turned heads this season.

There was no shortage of scoring in this one, and the Kings even ramped up their defensive efforts during the second half to light the beam for the fifth time over their past six contests.

Kings vs. Pacers Takeaways

Offense vs. Offense

If you enjoy watching high-scoring action, this was the game for you.

Twenty-four hours after being snubbed from making the NBA All-Star roster, Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox set the tone early for an active Kings offense.

Sabonis was a force in the middle as the big man scored 14 first-half points against his former team, while Fox added 13 points and four steals (career-high for a single half) during his first 16 minutes of action.

The Pacers looked a bit different on Friday as All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton came off the bench as he rehabs a hamstring injury, and Sacramento head coach Mike Brown sent defensive-minded wing Kessler Edwards into the game once the former King checked in to start the second quarter.

Haliburton, one of the NBA leaders in assist-to-turnover ratio, was responsible for three of Indiana’s 11 first-half turnovers as Sacramento made defensive adjustments before the break.

While the Pacers continued to prove why they lead the league in paint scoring (38 points in the paint during the first half), the Kings got enough from its offense to take a 71-64 lead into the break.

Turnovers continued to plague Indiana’s usually efficient offense as the Pacers coughed up the ball seven times during the third quarter.

When you combine the carelessness of Indiana and the fact that Sacramento held the Pacers scoreless over the first four minutes of the third quarter, the Kings had the opportunity to add to their lead.

Sacramento built a 19-10 run to open the second half and take its largest lead of the night (18 points), but an Indiana run felt inevitable. Sure enough, the Pacers surged back with a run of their own to trim the deficit to 11 following three quarters of play.

For a Kings team that has had trouble holding double-digit leads, this was another test for the Beam Team as they opened the fourth with a 99-88 lead.

Closing It Out

The endings of Sacramento Kings games this season have tested the hearts of fans, but Friday’s game would give everyone a chance to catch their breaths.

Indiana made their run late and trimmed the Kings’ lead to single digits, but Sacramento displayed poise and answered the run with timely baskets to put things away.

Sabonis, Fox, Monk, and Harrison Barnes led the way on Friday as all four players finished with 20 points or more, and the quartet had separate moments in the fourth that helped the Kings run away for good.

Barnes continues to showcase his offensive skillset after spending most of the season in the background, as the veteran forward finished the night with 22 points on nine-of-14 shooting (four-of-seven from deep) to go along with three steals.

Speaking of steals, Fox tied his career-high with six swipes during the win. Fox also shook off a tough showing in Miami with 25 points on 11-of-21 shooting during the win.

The offense was dialed in, as Sacramento finished the night having shot 56 percent from the field and 38 percent from deep (we’ll ignore the 64% showing from the line for now).

Defense was also a big part of the closeout effort, especially in the paint–an area where Indiana has reigned supreme this season.

After allowing the Pacers to score 38 points in the paint on 79 percent shooting during the first half, the Kings held their opponent to 20 points on 45 percent shooting in the key during the final two quarters.

Thanks to efforts from Fox, Sabonis, and Kessler Edwards, Sacramento applied pressure on Indiana’s league-leading offense and did what they needed to secure the victory.

Sabonis Catches ‘The Big O’

Domantas Sabonis continues to make history.

Sabonis broke Oscar Robertson’s franchise record for consecutive double-doubles during a single season (30) as the big man finished the night with 26 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, and two steals on nine-of-14 shooting.

The three-time All-Star became just the 15th player in NBA history to post 30+ straight double-doubles and is the first player to do so since Russell Westbrook did so in 36-straight games in 2021.

It doesn’t make sense how Sabonis isn’t an All-Star. Not much else to say about it. Mike Brown said it best pregame when asked about his two star talents being snubbed from the All-Star game:

“We’re the only team in the top six in either league without any All-Stars. I’m not that good of a freaking coach. I got players.”

Monk Bounces Back

Entering play on Friday, Malik Monk was looking for a slump-busting performance after scoring just 22 points over his past four games.

You could tell early that Monk was on the verge of breaking through, and that’s precisely what happened as the Sixth Man of the Year candidate scored 23 points on nine-of-14 shooting from the field while grabbing five boards and handing out six assists over 27 minutes.

Monk was back to his distributing ways in Indiana, as the guard posted his 30th game with 5+ assists of the season–tying Larry Drew for the second-most games by a bench player with 5+ assists in franchise history.

Sacramento’s offense is lethal when both Monk and Fox have their offense working, and the Kings surely hope that Friday’s effort was the start of a hot streak from their two high-scoring guards.

Notes

  • Trey Lyles was big off the bench during the win: 13 PTS | 4/5 FG | 3/4 3PT | 16 MIN
  • Tyrese Haliburton turned the ball over five times vs. passing out three assists over 22 minutes.
  • Kevin Huerter has scored 12+ points in five-straight games (longest such streak this season): 15 PTS | 5 REB | 6 AST

When is the next Sacramento Kings game?

Sacramento’s seven-game road trip will continue on Saturday night as the Kings will complete the second night of a back-to-back at the United Center when they face the Chicago Bulls.

Back-to-backs haven’t been kind to Sacramento this season, as the Kings hold a 2-4 record while being outscored by an average of nine points per contest when playing in their second game in as many nights.

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

Upcoming Schedule

  • Saturday, February 3rd – Sacramento Kings @ Chicago Bulls – 5:00 PM PST
  • Monday, February 5th – Sacramento Kings @ Cleveland Cavaliers – 4:00 PM PST
  • Wednesday, February 7th – Sacramento Kings vs. Detroit Pistons – 7:00 PM PST
  • Friday, February 9th – Sacramento Kings vs. Denver Nuggets – 7:00 PM PST
  • Sunday, February 11th – Sacramento Kings @ Oklahoma City Thunder – 12:00 PM PST

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