Sabonis’ triple-double leads Sacramento to best 22-game start since 2004-05
After two-straight 20-plus-point victories, the Sacramento Kings had its hands full on Sunday afternoon as the Chicago Bulls trimmed a 15-point deficit down to two points with less than 10 minutes to go.
It would take a closing effort from the Kings if they wanted to secure a third-straight victory, and that’s precisely what happened as Domantas Sabonis and Malik Monk came up huge down the final stretch during a 110-101 win at Golden 1 Center.
Not only did Sacramento’s offense do its job during the fourth quarter, but an ever-improving defense was locked in as the Kings held the Bulls to just 23 points on seven-of-22 (32%) shooting during the final period.
Throughout this successful run of play, when this team has needed offense, they have answered the bell. The Kings have held it down on the defensive end when stops have been needed. Three games, three wins for the Sacramento Kings as the beam continues to shine bright in the downtown area.
Sacramento (13-9) is off to its best 22-game start since the 2004-05 season as they jumped into fifth place in the Western Conference standings following Sunday’s win. The win also gave the franchise its best 22-game start since the 2004-05 season as the historical narratives surrounding the opening to this season continue to mount.
Kings fans are ready to LIGHT THE BEAM pic.twitter.com/Gs5IDZ3wes
— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) December 5, 2022
After the Kings saw its 18-point lead reduced to two points during the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, it was clear that this wouldn’t be another massive blowout victory. If Sacramento was going to secure another win, they would have to bear down on the defensive end and slow down a red-hot Zach LaVine. The Bulls star guard was up to 32 points entering the fourth, and the Kings were having a tough time slowing down the two-time All-Star.
Thanks to solid contributions from Davion Mitchell and the rest of Sacramento’s defense, LaVine went three-of-eight from the field during the fourth quarter while the rest of Chicago’s offense could only muster up 13 points as the Kings regained control of the game by the six-minute mark.
Mitchell’s lay-in with 5:45 remaining put Sacramento in front 99-90, which gave the Kings a cushion that would be enough to secure the win in front of a sold-out crowd at Golden 1 Center.
Sunday’s win marked the team’s second-straight game having allowed 101 points or less, as head coach Mike Brown’s defensive mindset is rubbing off onto this team. The Kings, who have been near the bottom of the NBA’s defensive rating rankings for most of this season, jumped into the 16th spot following another valiant effort on that end of the floor.
Sacramento’s offense is already regarded as one of the more-elite offenses in the league (fourth in offensive rating), but the defensive impact is what was truly holding this team back from becoming a terrifying matchup for opponents.
It’s beginning to look like these Kings are figuring things out on the defensive end, which could spell trouble for the rest of the NBA–especially if the offense is working. Even on a night like Sunday, where the Kings struggled to knock down three-point field goals (13-of-43), the defensive intensity was enough to bridge the gap.
Davion got fans on their feet after this play 🙌 pic.twitter.com/kLDtkuwsiu
— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) December 5, 2022
One thing is becoming clear as Sacramento crosses the one-quarter mark of the season:
This team is very much for real.
It isn’t a small sample size anymore. The Kings have played 22 games thus far this season, and they have been competitive in all of those games. It’s a strange feeling when you arrive at Golden 1 Center and expect this team to win, but that’s precisely what is happening right now. That is a remarkable thing, especially for a fanbase that has been waiting for competitive basketball since the end of the 2005-06 season.
As stated earlier, Sacramento is off to its best start in over 18 years–and that isn’t by mistake.
“It’s a testament to those guys in that locker room,” Kings head coach Mike Brown said of his team’s historic start to the season following Sunday’s win.”They have worked hard. They’re playing for each other.”
Does it feel like it’s been a while since you’ve seen a Sacramento Kings player post a triple-double? That’s because it has been–about four years, to be exact.
Domantas Sabonis continued his All-Star campaign as the center scored 11 points, pulled down 17 rebounds, and handed out 10 assists during the winning effort. Sabonis became the first King to finish a game with a triple-double since De’Aaron Fox did so on November 1, 2018 in Atlanta.
Although Sabonis had a quiet game scoring-wise (two-of-four shooting from the field), he was a force on the boards as he had a large hand in Sacramento out-rebounding the Bulls 46-39. The 26-year-old’s 10-assist outing marked the second time this season that he has handed out double-digit assists.
Monk’s Hot-Streak Continues
There isn’t anyone on the Kings that have been more locked in on the offensive end over the past two weeks.
Monk acted as a spark plug off the bench once again as Monk led Sacramento with 20 points (eight-of-16 shooting) to go along with five assists and two steals over 24 minutes. The first-year King was a massive part of a significant run in the second quarter that put Sacramento in control at the break as Monk used his scoring and playmaking abilities to change the game’s pace.
Malik was gettin' busy today against the Bulls 😤
👑 20 PTS (Team-high)
👑 5 AST
👑 2 STL
👑 50% FG pic.twitter.com/IlOY5kNll5
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) December 5, 2022
The Kings have one of the more explosive benches in the NBA, and with Monk leading the way on Sunday, 43 bench points acted as a huge boost during the win at Chicago’s bench only contributed 18 points during the loss.
Monk is undoubtedly a Sixth Man of the Year award candidate, and his case for the honor improves with each passing performance–especially when each outing ends with a victory.
- De’Aaron Fox had another quiet outing as the star guard scored 16 points (5/14 FG) to go along with seven rebounds, four assists and two steals over 32 minutes of playing time. While the shots might not be falling like they were during the early weeks of the season, Fox has upped his rebounding game as the guard is averaging a career-high 5.0 boards per game.
- Harrison Barnes finished the night with 17 points (6/10 FG), as Sacramento improved to 8-1 this season when Barnes scores 15+ points.
- Sacramento had seven players finish the game in double-figures: Monk, Barnes, Fox, Murray, Huerter, Sabonis, Metu
- The Kings, who finished Sunday’s game with 30 assists, have had seven games this season with 30+ assists. Last season, they handed out 30+ assists just eight times over 82 games.
Terence Davis (back soreness) was ruled out of Sunday’s game shortly before tip-off. Davis is considered day-to-day.
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Hopefully, you had a chance to catch the Kings at Golden 1 Center over the past week because Sacramento will embark on a six-game, two-week road trip that will begin on Wednesday night in Milwaukee.
Be sure to get all of your Kings vs Bucks coverage on Sactown Sports 1140 starting at 3:30 pm PST on Game Night before action tips off at 5:00 pm PST from downtown Milwaukee.
Upcoming Sacramento Kings Schedule
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
Wednesday, December 14th – Sacramento Kings @ Toronto Raptors – 4:30 PM PST