Kings claim seventh-straight road win, close in on top spot in West

Mar 18, 2023, 8:15 PM | Updated: 8:27 pm
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 18: Domantas Sabonis #10 of the Sacramento Kings dunks the ball in the secon...
(Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
(Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

If you were to poll a large group of Sacramento Kings fans in October about their hopes for the year, it’s likely that the answer “compete for a Play-In spot” would be a popular one.

Instead of battling it out for a 10th-place finish in the Western Conference, the Kings have their sights on the number-one spot in the conference after picking up another win on Saturday night in Washington, D.C.

Domantas Sabonis scored 30 points, Sacramento knocked down 22 three-pointers, and the Kings’ offense put on another clinic during a 132-118 win over the Wizards in what was the team’s seventh-straight road victory–the second-longest road winning streak in franchise history (nine games, 2002).

After beating Washington, the Kings shortened the gap between themselves and the top-seed Denver Nuggets to just 3.5 games with 12 games remaining in the regular season.

It’s going to be a wild sprint to the finish line, and Sacramento looks like a team that is ready for the challenge.

Like the first two games of the road trip, Sacramento struggled to find a rhythm early on Saturday as the Wizards opened up the night with a 27-17 lead in the first quarter.

Washington caught fire from three-point range early, starting the game five-for-five from three-point range, but the tables would turn quickly as Terence Davis and the Kings responded with a 20-6 run to end the first with a 37-33 lead.

With Kevin Huerter (Popliteus strain) out of action, Sacramento needed its supporting cast to step up and fill the void left behind by ‘Red Velvet.’ With Davis (16 first-half points) on a heater and Keegan Murray (13 first-half points) playing his best basketball in over a week, the Kings caught fire from deep and regained control of the game.

The Kings ended the first half with a 71-60 lead after shooting 12-for-18 (66%) from three-point range, while Domantas Sabonis dominated the paint with 18 points (eight-of-eight shooting in the paint) to lead Sacramento’s scoring attack.

Some history was made during the first half, as a triple from Murray broke gave the franchise a new single-season three-point record (942), and the Kings wouldn’t stop there.

Sacramento continued its red-hot shooting during the second half as they stretched its lead to 23 points en route to a comfortable win over a Wizards team that handed the Kings an ugly loss earlier in the season.

Sabonis was a force to be reckoned with in the post, as the All-Star was a perfect 10-for-10 in the paint while scoring 30 points, pulling down nine rebounds, and handing 10 of the Kings’ 34 assists. Of course, those numbers came at a cost as the big man took a beating from Washington, suffering hits to the face and left hand during his 33 minutes of action.

As Kings fans know, Sabonis is a warrior on the hardwood, and the center remained in the game and continued to dominate before checking out late in the fourth with the game in hand.

After playing most of the season with a right thumb avulsion fracture, it’s clear that it’s going take a lot more than some excessive contact to keep the three-time All-Star off the floor.

With Sabonis hammering the Wizards in the paint, Terence Davis, Keegan Murray, and Malik Monk all caught fire from deep as all three players finished the night with five made three-point field goals.

Davis, who will get some extended minutes while Huerter is on the mend, finished the night with 21 points on five-of-seven shooting from deep to go along with seven rebounds and two steals over 29 minutes.

Davis got some help from his fellow bench-mate Monk, who scored 17 points (five-of-seven from deep), pulled down four rebounds, and handed out six assists over just 23 minutes of action.

On a night that De’Aaron Fox (12 points over 26 minutes) enjoyed a reduced workload, Davis, Monk, and Murray were the ones to aid a dominant performance from Sabonis, with Murray setting the tone early.

The fourth-overall pick from last summer’s NBA Draft scored 13 of his 19 points during the first half, as Murray went on to finish the night five-of-10 from beyond the arc and seven-of-15 from the field while grabbing five boards.

Murray has been one of the best three-point shooters in the league this season, and the 22-year-old has completely pulled away from the 2022 draft class on the three-point leaderboard. The Iowa product has hit four or more three-pointers in a single game on 17 occasions this season.

The next closest rookies on that list? Bennedict Mathurin and Andrew Nembhard (four games).

Over his past two appearances, Murray is shooting eight-for-16 from deep as he closes in on breaking Donovan Mitchell’s rookie three-point record. After hitting five triples on Saturday, Murray now sits 22 three-pointers short of breaking Mitchell’s total of 187 from the 2017-18 season.

Sacramento’s red-hot offense continued to set opposing defenses ablaze, as the Kings finished the night with 130+ points for the 18th time this season while shooting 56 percent from the field and 59 percent from three-point range, falling just one three-point field goal short of tying a franchise-record of 22 made long-balls (established earlier this season).

The Kings, who are increasing their chances of hosting a first-round playoff series by the day, are now closer to the first seed (3.5 games back) than they are to falling out of the top four (6.5-game lead).

Clinch day is quickly approaching for Sacramento, as they could bring an end to the dreaded 16-year playoff drought.

Not only can the Kings clinch a playoff appearance in the coming days, but they are also closing in on capturing its first Pacific Division title since the 2002-03 season. With 12 games remaining, they hold a five-game lead over the Phoenix Suns.

It’s been that kind of year for the Sacramento Kings, and they are showing no signs of slowing down as we speed toward April.


  • Kessler Edwards started at the two-guard spot in place of the injured Huerter, and the 22-year-old finished the game with 9 points on three-of-three shooting from the field (two-for-two from deep), two rebounds, and one assist over 19 mintues.
  • Chimezie Metu swatted three shots and grabbed six boards over 11 minutes of play.

Injury Update

Kevin Huerter (right Popliteus strain) did not play against Washington and is considered day-to-day.

The belief around the Kings is that the 24-year-old guard will be able to return sooner than later, but Sacramento will likely err on the side of caution as they will need their sharpshooter healthy for the playoff run.

Trey Lyles (shoulder soreness) also sat out of Saturday’s game and is considered day-to-day.

Next Game

Sacramento’s four-game road trip will conclude Monday night when the Kings face the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City.

Be sure to get all of your Kings vs. Jazz coverage right here on Sactown Sports 1140 beginning at 4:30 PM PST on Game Night with Scott Marsh and Henry ‘The High Flyer’ Turner before a 6:00 PM PST tip-off from Vivint Center.

Upcoming Sacramento Kings Schedule

Monday, March 20th – Sacramento Kings @ Utah Jazz – 6:00 PM PST

Tuesday, March 21st – Sacramento Kings vs. Boston Celtics – 7:00 PM PST

Friday, March 24th – Sacramento Kings vs. Phoenix Suns – 7:00 PM PST

Saturday, March 25th – Sacramento Kings vs. Utah Jazz – 7:00 PM PST

Monday, March 27th – Sacramento Kings vs. Minnesota Timberwolves – 7:00 PM PST

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