SACRAMENTO KINGS

Kings suffer late-game errors as Suns prevail, drop SAC to 9th

Apr 12, 2024, 10:43 PM | Updated: Apr 13, 2024, 12:28 am

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 12: Grayson Allen #8 of the Phoenix Suns drives against De'Aaron Fox...

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

It appeared as if the Sacramento Kings were on their way to securing a win in their most-important game to date this season as they held a four-point lead–and the ball–with just over a minute to go.

Instead of holding onto the ball, using the clock, and closing in on a much-needed victory, the Kings turned the ball over before committing multiple loose-ball fouls during the closing seconds as the Phoenix Suns escaped with a 108-107 win at Golden 1 Center on Friday night.

The loss was beyond deflating for Sacramento (45-36), who fell to ninth in the Western Conference standings with one game remaining as they let a golden opportunity slip through their fingers during the final moments of regulation.

Following the loss, the Kings will now hope to beat the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday and scoreboard watch as they await the result of the Los Angeles Lakers game against the New Orleans Pelicans.

A Lakers loss paired with a Sacramento win would put the Kings back in the 8th seed and hand them a double-elimination berth in the NBA Play-In Tournament that is set to tip off on Tuesday.

Kings vs. Suns Recap & Takeaways

During Thursday’s loss to New Orleans, fans were still locating their seats as Sacramento fell behind by 23 points near the mid-way point of the first quarter. Thankfully, Friday’s game had a different tone during the opening period.

Domantas Sabonis, who went scoreless during the first quarter against the Pelicans, was aggressive early. The big man scored 11 points and grabbed four boards over his first 12 minutes of play to help the Kings take an early lead, and his strong play continued throughout the first half.

Sabonis scored 16 points (five-of-ten shooting), grabbed six rebounds, and passed out four assists during the first half–his highest-scoring half since March 16th, while Keegan Murray shook off a score-less opening quarter to rack up 12 points (five-of-seven from the field) to lead the Sacramento offense.

The Kings did a great job of keeping the Suns’ offense in check, forcing 13 turnovers (scoring 11 points off of those turnovers) while holding Phoenix to four-of-13 (30%) from three-point range.

With Sabonis and Murray locked in on offense and the defense in a much better place than 24 hours before, Sacramento opened up the second half with a 54-45 lead as they looked to bring home the most significant win of the season.

The Kings have struggled to hold leads following the halftime break as of late, and the Suns immediately applied pressure to Sacramento by trimming a 16-point deficit to seven heading into the fourth quarter.

Phoenix went 13-of-21 (62%) from the field during the third, while the Kings continued to ride Sabonis’ coattails to maintain a lead with 12 minutes to play. While Sacramento did a solid job of controlling the damage for the entirety of the third, the Suns jumped out to a 13-6 run during the opening minutes of the fourth to tie things up at 91-91.

The Kings and Suns traded big baskets down the stretch, but it appeared as if Sacramento was on their way to closing things out once they took a 107-103 lead with just over one minute remaining and possession of the basketball.

That’s when things unraveled for Sacramento.

Sabonis attempted to pass the ball to Fox with 1:02 on the clock, but Bradley Beal knocked the ball away and scored to trim the deficit to two–a play that Fox said postgame that he was clearly fouled.

Moments later, Sabonis was whistled for a loose-ball foul that sent Kevin Durant to the line for two free-throws at the 51-second mark. Tie game. Then, following a missed attempt from Fox, Sabonis was whistled–again–for a loose ball foul that send Jusuf Nurkic to the stripe, where he hit one of two freebies and gave the Suns a one-point lead with 8.1 to go.

Sacramento turned the ball away late, and Phoenix celebrated the win as a stunned crowd at Golden 1 Center sat in silence after watching another gut-punch of a loss.

The Kings shot 35 percent from the floor in the fourth quarter, while the Suns went 53 percent from the field to help themselves squeak out a win.

The Kings made several errors down the final stretch, but both Fox and head coach Mike Brown pointed to late-game officiating that has caused Sacramento to fall short in several games over the past week–namely, a close loss in Oklahoma City and one-point loss in Boston that both were impacted by incorrect calls that were clarified on NBA Two-Minute Reports.

“I got fouled,” Fox said of the final play. “[Beal] wasn’t even close to the ball.”

Brown expanded further during his postgame press conference:

“I’m baffled,” Brown said. “I’m not sure why we can’t get a call from an NBA official down the stretch… I hope I’m wrong, but from my seat, it looked like Fox got hit across the arm.”

Even if the NBA comes out on Saturday and admits a mistake, the result is the result. Sacramento will need to win on Sunday and hope for some help around the league if they want to avoid the single-elimination nine vs. ten game.

Western Conference Standings Update

The race for the 7th vs. 8th seed game is nearing its conclusion.

Following the Los Angeles Lakers’ win over Memphis, Golden State’s loss to New Orleans, and Sacramento’s loss to the Suns, the Kings are in the ninth seed spot with one game remaining.

Here are the scenarios the Kings face heading into the Sunday’s season finale:

Kings get the 8th seed if…

  • Kings beat Blazers
  • Lakers lose to Pelicans

Kings get the 9th seed if…

  • Lakers win, Kins lose
  • Lakers and Kings both win or both lose

Kings fall to the 10th seed if…

  • Warriors beat Utah and Kings lose to Blazers

C-Webb In The House

It was a special night at Golden 1 Center as franchise legend and Basketball Hall of Fame forward Chris Webber was in attendance to take in the action.

Webber, a four-time NBA All-Star during his seven seasons in Sacramento (1998-2005), received a lengthy ovation during Friday’s game as a sold-out crowd sounded off in celebration of a player who provided the city with countless memorable moments during his time in a number-four Kings jersey.

The fan-favorite was also joined by former teammates Vlade Divac and Brad Miller, who was celebrating his 48th birthday.

The former first-overall pick sat down with Sactown Sports 1140 on Friday to promote his new book, By God’s Grace, reflect on his time in Sacramento, and much more.

You can watch the interview with Chris Webber by clicking here.

Notes

  • During Friday’s action, De’Aaron Fox passed DeMarcus Cousins (9,894) for the sixth-most points in franchise history and second-most points in the Sacramento era. One quarter later, Fox’s 9,897th career point pushed him past Sam Lacey (9,895) for the fifth-most points in franchise history.
  • Domantas Sabonis had his 76th double-double of the season tonight, passing Jerry Lucas (1965-66: 75) for the second-most double-doubles in a single season in franchise history.

Injury Updates

Malik Monk (right knee) will be re-evaluated in three weeks after suffering a right knee MCL sprain.

Kevin Huerter (left dislocated shoulder and labral tear) will miss the remainder of the season after having surgery and is slated to be ready for the start of the 2024-25 season.

When is the next Sacramento Kings game?

Sacramento will conclude the regular season portion of its schedule on Sunday afternoon against the lowly Portland Trail Blazers.

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Blazers coverage, beginning at 11:00 AM PST on Game Night before a 12:30 PM PST tip-off from Golden 1 Center.

Upcoming Schedule

  • Sunday, April 14th – Sacramento Kings vs. Portland Trail Blazers – 12:30 PM PST (End of regular season)

Postseason Schedule

  • Tuesday, April 16th-Friday, April 19th – NBA Play-In Tournament (Teams & matchups TBD)
  • Saturday, April 20th – NBA Playoffs begin

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