Fox, Monk lead Kings to fifth-straight win
During their days at Kentucky, De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk were one of the most feared backcourts in college basketball as they made a habit of taking games over en route to a Final Four appearance.
Six years later, not much has changed for the duo, other than the fact that they’re closing out games at the NBA level for a streaking Sacramento Kings team that has now won five straight.
Thanks to massive efforts from Fox and Monk, the Kings snapped out of a mid-game funk to end Thursday’s contest on a high note during a 130-112 win over the San Antonio Spurs at Golden 1 Center.
With the win, Sacramento improved to 8-6 on the season as they have won eight of their last 10 games after starting the season in an 0-4 hole.
Monk sinks the trey 💦 pic.twitter.com/XVa5QQr0UL
— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) November 18, 2022
After jumping out to a double-digit lead during the first quarter, Sacramento fell asleep on both ends of the floor as the Spurs battled back and kept the game close for the majority of the night. With the game tied at 82-82 late in the third quarter, Fox and Monk used a 7-0 run to give the Kings an 89-82 lead entering the fourth quarter.
With the wind back behind Sacramento’s sails, the Kings would coast to a win from that point on.
Fox and Monk acted as the team’s heartbeat down the stretch as the duo attacked in the mid-range and perimeter while San Antonio’s defense struggled to create stops. Sacramento dropped 41 points on 15-of-19 (79%) from the field during the fourth quarter as their lead stretched to 18 while fans in attendance started “light the beam” chants.
The Kentucky duo combined to score 54 points during the win, as Fox scored 28 points on 11-of-15 shooting from the field while handing out eight assists (zero turnovers) over 32 minutes. Fox was +36 for the Kings during the win on a night that head coach Mike Brown said that he challenged his star guard to have a big game.
Monk established a new Kings career-high of 26 points on 11-of-19 shooting (four-of-nine from three-point range) over 28 minutes. For the first time as professionals, the former Wildcats took a game over at the largest stage.
“We were doing it six years ago, so we were waiting for it to happen here,” Monk said of closing out the game alongside Fox. “We’re happy to have some energy in here. The fans are energizing us. We’re going to keep it up.”
De'Aaron gets the friendly bounce pic.twitter.com/9VBJ2v2gHi
— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) November 18, 2022
The backcourt duo was a huge part of a Kings offense that refuses to slow down for any opponent as Sacramento shot 57 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point land as a team. During the five-game winning streak, the Kings are averaging a shocking 130.4 points per game.
Of course, you can’t score the basketball without some ball movement, and the Kings are distributing the basketball at a staggering rate.
Last year, Sacramento finished a game with 27+ assists on 22 occasions. Just 14 games into this season, the Kings have handed out 27+ assists in 10 of their games after dishing out 28 assists on Thursday night. The Kings currently are the fourth-ranked team in the NBA in assists per game (28.2), their highest per game average since Rajon Rondo was slinging passes in a Kings jersey during the 2015-16 season.
The ball movement is there, the three-point shooting has been lethal, and it seems as if a different member of the lineup is stepping up each night. Although the defense still has a ways to go, these Kings just keep winning games, much to the delight of a beam-crazed fanbase.
“I’m still trying to see it from El Dorado Hills,” Brown said of the beam following the win. “We need a stronger beam so that I can see it from by back porch before I go to bed.”
A stronger beam?
If these Sacramento Kings keep winning games, you just might be able to see the Golden 1 Center beam from your residence, no matter how far away you reside.
De’Aaron Fox got out of his car to look at the beam following Sacramento’s win over Golden State.
Fox is a fan of the beam, but he’s still warming up to Malik Monk’s band aid.
“We won five in a row with the band aid, so it’s here to stay for the time being.” pic.twitter.com/pYMCagTyJD
— Frankie Cartoscelli (@FCartoscelli3) November 18, 2022
- After scoring 83 points during Tuesday’s win against Brooklyn, the Kings bench finished Thursday’s game having scored 58 points against the Spurs. Sacramento entered play in fourth place on the NBA’s bench scoring leaderboard (41.6 points per game).
- Trey Lyles turned in another strong showing off of the bench as the forward scored 14 points (5/8 FG) over 20 minutes.
- Harrison Barnes has looked much more like himself after having a rough start to the season. The veteran forward scored 16 points (4/7 FG) and grabbed eight boards during the win while knocking down seven of his eight free-throw attempts.
- This is the first time that Sacramento has scored 120+ points in five straight since the 1969-70 season.
Keegan Murray (back soreness) participated in Thursday’s pregame shoot-around but did not suit up against San Antonio.
According to a team source, Murray is progressing toward a return to action, and his injury is not considered serious. With the Kings having back-to-back off days following Thursday’s game, the rookie will benefit from four straight days off before Sacramento’s next game on Sunday against the Detroit Pistons.
Richaun Holmes missed Thursday’s game due to a non-COVID illness. He is considered day-to-day.
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Coming up for the Sacramento Kings
Sacramento will have two consecutive days off before Marvin Bagley III makes his return to Golden 1 Center with the Detroit Pistons on Sunday afternoon.
Be sure to get all of your Kings vs Spurs coverage on Sactown Sports 1140 starting at 1:30 pm PST on Game Night before action tips off at 3:00 pm PST from downtown Sacramento.
Upcoming Sacramento Kings Schedule
Sunday, November 20th – Sacramento Kings vs Detroit Pistons – 3:00 PM PST
Tuesday, November 22nd – Sacramento Kings @ Memphis Grizzlies – 5:00 PM PST
Wednesday, November 23rd – Sacramento Kings @ Atlanta Hawks – 4:30 PM PST
Friday, November 25th – Sacramento Kings @ Boston Celtics – 5:00 PM PST
Monday, November 28th – Sacramento Kings vs Phoenix Suns – 7:00 PM PST