On The Board: Kings Cool Off Heat To Claim First Victory
Oct 29, 2022, 6:40 PM| Updated: 6:50 pm
(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Sacramento Kings fans can rest easy tonight.
After a tough 0-4 start to the season–against one of the most-difficult opening schedules in the NBA, mind you–the Kings finally jumped into the win column after defeating the Miami Heat by a final of 119-113 on Saturday afternoon.
Thanks to 55 percent shooting from the field and 45 percent shooting from beyond the three-point line, the Kings enjoyed a wire-to-wire win over a Heat team that won 53 games last season.
Oh, and here’s a cherry on top–following Sacramento’s win on Saturday, the only winless team remaining in the NBA is the Los Angeles Lakers.
Domas with the HAMMER pic.twitter.com/wOCvdekoks
— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) October 29, 2022
It was a tale of two halves in this one as Sacramento brought the hammer down during the first half behind an 18-point outburst from Domantas Sabonis. Behind Sabonis’ eight-of-nine shooting from the field, the entire Kings offense had it working as they took a 71-49 lead into the break.
It didn’t take a crystal ball to predict that Miami would mount a run of their own, and that’s exactly what happened during the third quarter.
With Sabonis sidelined due to foul trouble, the Heat jumped out to a 15-5 run during the opening minutes of the second half as Sacramento’s 22-point lead was reduced to single-digits. Even once Sabonis entered the game in the fourth, a game that was looking as if it would turn into a laugher got intense late as Miami refused to go away.
Trouble struck late in the fourth as Sabonis was whistled for his sixth and final foul on one of the more questionable plays of the night.
Unlike Kings teams of past seasons, those that were still laced up on the floor put together six minutes of complete basketball to hold off a talented Heat team as players like De’Aaron Fox, Kevin Huerter, and Keegan Murray led the way late.
“It feels good to get a first win, finally,” Murray said of his first NBA victory. “I think that we played well. It’s what we expect. We expect to win games.”
Murray and Huerter took care of business on the perimeter as the duo combined to shoot 10-of-15 from beyond the arc. De’Aaron Fox registered his second double-double of the season and a new career-high of 13 rebounds while also displaying his improved defense during crunch time. Trey Lyles acted as Sacramento’s leader off of the bench, scoring 10 points on four-of-seven shooting over 18 minutes.
Even though things got tight late, the Kings displayed poises down the final stretch and were able to go wire-to-wire as they never trailed during their first winning effort of the season.
Fox said NOPE 😤 pic.twitter.com/8P5BNrXZqz
— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) October 29, 2022
“Nobody knows how hard those guys work,” Kings head coach Mike Brown said following the win. “Watching these guys work every day and seeing their togetherness, you feel that we’re going to have a real shot at this thing.”
Recovering From The Third Quarter Blues
A tale as old as time: The Sacramento Kings falling apart in the third quarter.
Last season, it wasn’t uncommon for the Kings to watch games either slip away or fall apart completely during the third period, something that happened during Saturday’s game against Miami.
After opening up the second half with a 22-point lead, Sacramento lost all of its momentum once Domantas Sabonis was sent to the bench with five fouls. Over the final 10 minutes of the quarter, the Heat got everything that they wanted on both ends of the floor while the Kings offense appeared flustered against Miami’s intense defense.
Sacramento was outscored 33-19 in the period as their large lead was reduced to just eight points entering the fourth quarter. In recent years, this would spell the end for the Kings. On Saturday, though, it would mean the opposite.
Thanks to Fox and Huerter’s contributions in the fourth, the Kings battled the Heat and put out fires–no pun intended–to secure the win.
The third-quarter blues (or third-quarter meltdown, either or) have normally cost Sacramento games, but the fact that they were able to lock in and finish strong is a big step forward for this group. Now the question will be if the Kings can take another step forward, or if they will take a step backward in their next game on Monday.
Sabonis’ Strong–But Brief–Performance
Miami’s interior defense had its hands full during the first half as Domantas Sabonis racked up 18 points on eight-of-nine shooting from the field before the halftime buzzer sounded.
With Sabonis doing damage against a Heat defense that was without All-Defensive big Bam Adebayo due to foul trouble, Sacramento was able to outscore Miami in the paint 36-14 over the first 24 minutes of play.
Unfortunately, the third quarter would be a different story for Sabonis.
The two-time All-Star picked up his fourth and fifth personal fouls on back-to-back possessions early in the third period as the Kings’ big would have to watch Sacramento’s 22-point lead shrink to single-digits before play entered the fourth quarter.
Sabonis finally re-entered the game with ten minutes to go in regulation, but the 26-year-old’s stay wouldn’t last much longer as he would get whistled for two quick fouls mid-way through the fourth quarter, the second whistle being his sixth and final foul.
Sabonis fouled out of the game on this play.
Thoughts Kings fans? pic.twitter.com/SMgxULFgvJ
— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) October 30, 2022
Sabonis was unstoppable when he was on the floor on Saturday, as the center was only slowed down by his foul trouble during the winning effort.
Over just 22 minutes of run, Sabonis finished the night with 18 points on eight-of-nine shooting and seven rebounds. Although the outing was cut short, it was encouraging to see Sabonis look like his normal self. With a win on the board, one can only hope that the first half of tonight’s game will get the Lithuanian big man going for the upcoming road trip.
Red Velvet Stays Hot From Three-Point Land
Kevin Huerter has played in five games as a member of the Sacramento Kings. In those five games, he has hit at least five three-pointers in three of those games.
‘Red Velvet’ tied his career-high for made three-point field goals during Saturday’s win as Huerter scored 27 points–just two points short of his career-high–on seven-of-eight shooting from beyond the arc to go along with six assists over 38 minutes.
The Kings went out and acquired Huerter during the offseason in hopes to add elite three-point shooting to the roster, and that’s exactly what the 24-year-old has provided thus far in his time in the purple and black.
Over five games, Huerter is shooting 20-of-37 (54%) from three-point range.
Huerter knocks down his SEVENTH triple 🔥 pic.twitter.com/y6AIN1B64w
— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) October 30, 2022
Notes & Stats
De’Aaron Fox didn’t have his offense going during the win, but the guard hit the glass unlike we have ever seen during his six-year career.
Fox finished the night with a career-high 13 rebounds to go along with 17 points, five assists, 17 points and two blocks over 36 minutes of playing time. The 24-year-old came up with some huge rebounds late in the game and did a great job of setting up teammates like Huerter and Murray to seal the game late.
Speaking of career highs–Keegan Murray established a new career high with 22 points on eight-of-13 shooting from the field over 35 minutes. The rookie continues to show that he has the makings of a future All-Star.
Mike Brown said pregame that he was going to narrow down his rotation after sending out 12 players before the halftime break during Thursday’s loss. On Saturday, Brown played nine players in his core rotation.
Kevin Huerter (shoulder soreness) was active during Saturday’s game after tweaking his shoulder during Thursday night’s loss to Memphis.
Sacramento will begin a four-game road trip on Monday afternoon when they face the Charlotte Hornets at the Spectrum Center.
Last season, the two teams split a two-game set as both the Kings and Hornets secured wins on their home floors:
- Sacramento 140, Charlotte 110 – November 5, 2021
- Charlotte 124, Sacramento 123 – December 10, 2021
The Kings are looking to switch things up in this matchup as they will aim to defeat the Hornets for just the second time since January 2019. Charlotte holds a 6-1 record over their past seven matchups against Sacramento.
Be sure to get all of your Kings vs Hornets coverage on Sactown Sports 1140 starting at 2:30 pm PST on Game Night before action tips off at 4:00 pm PST from Charlotte, North Carolina.
Also: check out our Sactown Sports Kings Recap Show on the Sactown Sports 1140 YouTube channel!
Sactown Sports Kings Recap Shows will be happening all season long, immediately following each Kings game!
Upcoming Sacramento Kings Schedule
Monday, October 31st – Sacramento Kings @ Charlotte Hornets – 4:00 PM PST
Wednesday, November 2nd – Sacramento Kings @ Miami Heat – 4:30 PM PST
Saturday, November 5th – Sacramento Kings @ Orlando Magic – 2:00 PM PST
Monday, November 7th – Sacramento Kings @ Golden State Warriors – 7:00 PM PST
Wednesday, November 9th – Sacramento Kings vs Cleveland Cavaliers – 7:00 PM PST