SACRAMENTO KINGS

Fox Does It Again: Kings Defeat Lakers Thanks To More Late-Game Heroics

Nov 11, 2022, 10:49 PM | Updated: 11:26 pm
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 11: De'Aaron Fox #5 of the Sacramento Kings celebrates after scoring a t...
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

In a game where the Sacramento Kings looked sluggish from the tip, it was going to take a strong closing effort to hold off a pesky, shorthanded Los Angeles Lakers team that was playing without LeBron James.

If you look up the word ‘closer’ in the dictionary, there’s a good chance that you’ll find a picture of De’Aaron Fox right next to the definition.

Fox acted as the closer once again as the guard scored 10 of his 32 points during the fourth quarter, with two of his baskets coming with less than 90 seconds remaining to put the game away for Sacramento. The Kings needed somebody to step up late, and Fox answered the call in a big way to help his team brush off a rough start at Crypto.com Arena on Friday night to the tune of a 120-114 win.

Closing out games isn’t new to Fox as the 24-year-old has continued to be a force during late-game situations during the opening month of regular season play.

Just one week removed from a jaw-dropping mid-court buzzer-beater in Orlando, the sixth-year guard closed out the Lakers with a variety of tough step-back jumpers and floaters to secure the victory.

“He did what he was supposed to do,” Kings head coach Mike Brown said of Fox’s performance. “He did what a star is supposed to do. Not only did he do his job, but he did his job while getting us a win. I’m seeing him lead and take responsibility at the right times. To see him grow as quickly as he has, that’s the part that I’m excited about.”

With the win, Sacramento (5-6) has won five of their past seven games after starting the season with four-straight losses.

It wasn’t fun in the early going for Fox or the Kings as Los Angeles made it clear in the first quarter that they would not roll over easily.

The Lakers, who entered the first half as the worst three-point shooting team in the NBA (29%), shot six-of-13 (46%) from beyond the arc as they took a 60-56 lead into the break. After turning the ball over just nine times during Wednesday’s impressive win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, Sacramento turned the ball over 10 times during the first half alone.

Adjustments were needed, and as we have seen the Kings do over the first couple of weeks of the season, they came out of the break looking like a different team

Fox, who went scoreless during the first quarter, scored 11 points during the third quarter as Sacramento reestablished themselves in this game by shooting 52 percent from the field and 40 percent from three in the period. When play entered the fourth quarter, Fox and Domantas Sabonis put on their best ‘Fox and the Ox’ act to bring this one home.

Sacramento took much better care of the basketball during the second half as they only turned the ball over five times while handing out 13 assists.

Sabonis was a force in the paint for the Kings as the two-time All-Star posted his seventh double-double of the season during the win. Over 32 minutes of action, Sabonis scored 21 points (nine-of-15 shooting from the field) to go along with 10 rebounds and six assists.

Sabonis was very effective during quarters one through three, but the fourth quarter belonged to Fox.

Fox scored Sacramento’s final four baskets of the game to put an emphatic exclamation point on a night that he scored 32 points (13-of-19 shooting), pulled down seven boards, and dished out a season-high 12 assists over 36 minutes. This version of Fox is one that very well could be up for consideration for the Western Conference All-Star team come February, something that also could be said of Sabonis’ strong start to the season.

With Fox and Sabonis leading the way, Sacramento was able to brush off an unideal start and defeat the Lakers on the road, something that surely would not have been the case for Kings teams over the past, well, 16 years.

The fact that things started so horribly and the team looked flat on both sides of the ball and it didn’t cost them the game, that itself is a noteworthy accomplishment as it’s becoming clear this isn’t a Sacramento Kings team that fans are accustomed to viewing.

Second-half adjustments? Yeah, those were made. Consecutive stops down the closing stretch? Check. Big shots late and some clutch factor? Done.

What we are currently seeing from this team is growth, a word that surely sounds foreign to this fanbase after nearly two decades of ‘whoopsies’ and moral victories following games like Friday night. The game, much like Wednesday’s win over Cleveland, was there for the taking, and the Kings displayed poise as Fox put the team on his back late.

Growth is a word that has not been used much around these parts since 2006, but it’s becoming clear that growth is exactly what we are seeing from Mike Brown’s group.

Things are looking up in Sacramento, and with plenty of season left to be played, it’s an exciting time to be a Kings fan.

Notes

After starting the game off 0-of-5 from the field, Kevin Huerter finished with 16 points on four-of-nine shooting from beyond the arc.

Domantas Sabonis is shooting 21-of-23 (91%) from the foul line over his past four games.

De’Aaron Fox‘s 3-point field goal to end the first half vs. LAL helped him surpass Bobby Jackson (381) for 10th on the franchise’s all-time 3-point leaders list. Fox now has 382 career triples and trails Ben McLemore (384) for ninth on that list.

Fox has posted 30+ pts in 4 of his 10 appearances this season. He becomes the 7th player in franchise history with 30+ pts in 4+ games in the first 10 games of the season. Joins Jack Twyman, Oscar Robertson, Tom Van Arsdale, Tiny Archibald, Mitch Richmond, and DeMarcus Cousins.

Coming Up

The Kings will get their shot at revenge on Sunday afternoon when the Golden State Warriors come to town.

Sacramento dropped a 116-113 thriller to the Warriors on Monday night in a game that has since been shrouded in controversy as the NBA’s Two Minute report proved that officials missed a crucial call on the final play of the game, one that cost the Kings a chance to tie the game and send things into overtime.

The Kings will hope to snap a seven-game head-to-head losing streak against Golden State that dates back to March of 2021.

Be sure to get all of your Kings vs Warriors coverage on Sactown Sports 1140 starting at 4:30 pm PST on Game Night before action tips off at 6:00 pm PST from downtown Sacramento.

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

Sunday, November 13th – Sacramento Kings vs Golden State Warriors – 6:00 PM PST

Tuesday, November 15th – Sacramento Kings vs Brooklyn Nets – 7:00 PM PST PST

Thursday, November 17th – Sacramento Kings vs San Antonio Spurs – 7:00 PM PM PST

Sunday, November 20th – Sacramento Kings vs Detroit Pistons – 3:00 PM PST

Tuesday, November 22nd – Sacramento Kings @ Memphis Grizzlies – 5:00 PM PST

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