Sabonis’ triple-double leads Kings to bounce-back win over Pelicans, Pacific Division title

Apr 4, 2023, 8:19 PM | Updated: Apr 5, 2023, 7:39 am

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - APRIL 04: Domantas Sabonis #10 of the Sacramento Kings passes as Brandon I...

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Sacramento Kings–Pacific Division champions.

That has a nice ring to it.

The Kings have secured the Pacific Division title for the first time since the 2002-03 season thanks to a comfortable 121-103 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night.

One week, the end of a 16-season playoff drought. The next, a division title–the franchise’s first in 20 years. This Sacramento Kings team continues to make history.

While the division title is another impressive aspect of this successful season for Sacramento, the fact that this team was able to shake off Sunday’s rough loss to the lowly San Antonio Spurs and bring the hammer down in New Orleans is an encouraging sign as we inch closer to the NBA Playoffs.

Here are some takeaways from the Kings’ franchise-record-tying 25th road win of the season (2001-02).

Read & Respond

Brandon Ingram quickly put the Kings in a double-digit deficit hole early as the high-scoring forward poured in 14 points during the opening period.

Head coach Mike Brown opted to shake things up on the defensive end by sending lengthy wing Kessler Edwards in to try and slow down Ingram, a move that paid off as the Pelicans’ star was held to just eight points during the final three quarters.

Sacramento cracked the code and brought New Orleans’ early offensive onslaught to a half while also working through its own offensive woes.

After shooting two-of-14 from three-point land during the first quarter, the Kings mixed up its plan of attack by working inside of the key while the Pelicans’ defense eventually began to sag off of Sacramento’s perimeter threats.

With Malik Monk, Keegan Murray, and the rest of the Kings’ offense finally beginning to knock down open looks from three-point land, the Kings’ offense stretched its lead into double-digits during the second quarter and didn’t look back.

Ingram’s early success wouldn’t carry over to the second half, while the Kings’ impressive second quarter (68% from the field) acted as a tone-setter.

Outside of the Pelicans’ early 10-point lead during the first quarter, Sacramento was in the driver’s seat for the entirety of Tuesday’s game.

The Return of Malik

After missing Sunday’s game due to lower leg soreness, it didn’t take long for Malik Monk to make his presence known on Tuesday night.

The Sixth Man of the Year candidate helped change the game’s trajectory as soon as he checked in, as Monk’s buzzer-beating triple at the end of the first quarter put Sacramento ahead for the first–and last–time of the night.

Once Monk’s triple fell through, the Kings put its foot down on the gas and opened things up thanks to red-hot shooting during the second quarter. In his return to the floor, Monk led all Sacramento scorers with 14 first-half points while also handing out three assists.

Monk finished the night with 17 points on six-of-nine shooting from the field and two steals over just 23 minutes of playing time.

When Monk is feeling it, he’s really feeling it–and his first-half contributions came up big for Sacramento in this one.

Mr. Triple-Double

Domantas Sabonis’ 2022-23 season continues to act of one of the most incredible single-season performances in Sacramento Kings franchise history.

On a night that the All-Star big man wasn’t in his dominant peak form, it was almost jarring to check Sabonis’s stat line upon the start of the fourth quarter: 16 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists over 26 minutes of playing time.

So effortless. So quiet. Yet, so effective.

Once the game clock his zeros, Sabonis had racked up his league-leading 64th double-double and 13th triple-double (second-most in the NBA) of the season thanks to a performance that included 16 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists.

Sabonis is now tied with Norm Van Lier (13) for third on the franchise’s all-time triple-doubles leaders list and Oscar Robertson (1965-66 – 13) for the sixth-most triple-doubles in a single season.

Murray Eclipses the 200 Mark

Once Keegan Murray knocked down his first triple of the night, it seemed as if the rookie was on the verge of falling into a rhythm.

The rookie forward caught fire during the third quarter, scoring 15 of his 21 points on five-of-six shooting from beyond the arc during the period. Murray finished the night with 21 points on seven-of-10 shooting from deep–his 11th game of the season with five or more made three-point field goals.

Murray’s successful night from beyond the arc pushed him over the 200-made three-point field goal mark, extending his NBA Rookie three-point record while also becoming just the fifth player in Kings’ franchise history to eclipse the mark.

The Iowa product joins Buddy Hield (three times), Mitch Richmond (two times), Peja Stojakovic, and Kevin Huerter as the only Kings players to make 200 or more three-pointers during a single season.


Quick Hits

De’Aaron Fox led all scorers with 23 points while grabbing five boards and handing out nine assists during the win.

All five of Sacramento’s starters finished the night in double-figures.

While the King shot 2/14 (14%) from 3PT during the first quarter, they finished the night 15/38 (39%) from deep during the final three quarters of play.

With the win, Sacramento has locked itself into a top-three spot in the Western Conference with three games left to play.

Next Game

Sacramento will play the second leg of a back-to-back on Wednesday night when they face the reeling Dallas Mavericks. A Kings win over Dallas could push the Mavs further out of the Play-In picture.

Be sure to get all of your Kings vs. Mavs coverage right here on Sactown Sports 1140 beginning at 4:00 PM PST on Game Night with Scott Marsh and Henry ‘The High Flyer’ Turner before a 5:30 PM PST tip-off from downtown Dallas.

Upcoming Sacramento Kings Schedule

Wednesday, April 5th – Sacramento Kings @ Dallas Mavericks – 5:30 PM PST

Friday, April 7th – Sacramento Kings vs. Golden State Warriors – 7:00 PM PST

Sunday, April 9th – Sacramento Kings @ Denver Nuggets – 12:30 PM PST

*End of the regular season*

NBA Playoffs Begin on April 15th

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