Malik Monk erupts in OT as Kings hold off Grizzlies

Mar 18, 2024, 10:13 PM | Updated: 10:25 pm

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - FEBRUARY 03: Malik Monk #0 of the Sacramento Kings looks on against the Chicago...

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Dropping games to shorthanded sub-500 teams has been an Achilles heel for the Sacramento Kings, but with the NBA Playoff race in full swing, the time is now to make up for those ugly losses.

Thanks to a clutch bucket in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter from De’Aaron Fox and a dominant overtime performance from Malik Monk, the Kings defeated a depleted but pesky Memphis Grizzlies squad on Monday night, winning by a final of 121-111 to conclude a six-game homestand on a high note.

Sacramento (39-28) ended its season-long homestand with a 4-2 record while taking a slim half-game lead over the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks for the sixth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference standings.

At this point in the season, wins are needed by any means necessary. For the Kings, it doesn’t matter how they do it. With 15 games remaining, adding to that win column is all that matters as the playoff race enters its final stages.

Kings vs. Grizzlies Recap & Takeaways

Although the Memphis Grizzlies played with just eight active players on Monday, they held the upper hand early in this one.

Sacramento entered the day in possession of the NBA’s second-worst three-point defense, and the Grizzlies attacked the perimeter with a purpose during the first quarter. Memphis knocked down seven of their first 13 attempts (53%) to take an early lead over the Kings–one that would be short-lived.

The Grizzlies’ red-hot shooting cooled off in the second quarter, as Memphis scored just 15 points on six-of-25 (24%) shooting during the period. On the other end of the floor, Sacramento found a rhythm behind solid starts from Domantas Sabonis, Keegan Murray, and De’Aaron Fox.

Fox found his teammates early, passing out seven assists before the break as the Kings took a 57-47 lead into the second half while outscoring the Grizzlies 29-15 in the second quarter.

With 24 minutes to go, Sacramento was on its way to pulling away and ending the long homestand on a high note.

In classic 2023-24 Sacramento Kings fashion, the shorthanded Grizzlies continued to make things interesting as the game entered the second half.

Memphis trimmed the Kings’ lead to three points in the third quarter, but Fox caught fire during the final 1:39 of the period by drilling three triples to help Sacramento create some separation heading into the fourth. Thanks to Fox’s late charge, the Kings held an 84-76 lead with 12 minutes to go.

Those hoping for a coast-to-the-finish type of fourth quarter would quickly be brought back to reality as the final period got underway.

The Grizzlies’ defense held Sacramento to 15 points (six-of-18 shooting) during the first nine minutes of the fourth, and Memphis tied the game at 99-99 with less than three minutes to go.

Due to sloppy play on both ends of the floor (seven turnovers in the fourth quarter alone) and missed free throws during crunch time (four-of-seven in the fourth), the Kings handed the lead over with 33.4 seconds to go as it appeared the Beam Team was on its way to adding another disappointing loss to its list of ugly defeats.

Thanks to a clutch bucket from De’Aaron Fox and a stop on a game-winning attempt from GG Jackson, Sacramento and Memphis were headed for five more minutes of basketball at Golden 1 Center.

Once the page turned to OT, it was all Malik Monk.

Monk opened up the extra period with eight-straight points before the guard found Sabonis on a pick-and-roll for a rim-rattling slam. The Sixth Man of the Year front-runner scored 12 of his 28 points in overtime to help the Kings seal the win.

The Kentucky product also added six rebounds and six assists while shooting 10-of-19 from the field over 39 minutes.

On a night when Sacramento shot just 44 percent from the field and 31 percent from deep, the Kings relied on late-game execution in the fourth and overtime to push past 20 turnovers (including 27 points allowed off turnovers) and secure another much-needed win.

The Kings’ win over Memphis is the first of three straight games against sub-500 opponents, which is Sacramento’s final stretch of the regular season with consecutive games vs. teams with losing records.

Sabonis’ streak hits 50

Domantas Sabonis became just the third player since the NBA-ABA merger (1976-77) to post a double-double in 50 or more consecutive games, joining Kevin Love (53, 2010-11) and Moses Malone (51, 1978-79).

The three-time All-Star finished the night with 25 points, 18 rebounds, and five assists over 40 minutes of action.

Notes & Stats

  • Keon Ellis continues to showcase his defensive ability. The second-year guard blocked a career-high five shots, seven rebounds, and five points over 33 minutes.
  • De’Aaron Fox posted his fifth double-double during the win, scoring 23 points while adding seven rebounds and ten assists.
  • The Kings tied a season-high with 59 rebounds vs. Memphis.
  • Sacramento improved to 24-5 (.827) when passing out 30+ assists this season.

Injury Updates

Kevin Huerter injured his left arm during the first two minutes of Monday’s game and did not return. Huerter will undergo testing to determine the severity of the injury.

Last week, the Kings announced that forward Trey Lyles had suffered an MCL sprain in his left knee and will be re-evaluated in two weeks. With Lyles out, Sacramento will likely lean on Chris Duarte, Keon Ellis, and Kessler Edwards until the 28-year-old can return to action.

Sasha Vezenkov has missed the past month of action due to a right ankle sprain, but the forward is closing in on a return. Vezenkov fully participated in Monday’s shoot-around and could suit up during the Kings’ upcoming road trip.

When is the next Sacramento Kings game?

Sacramento will hit the road for a three-game trip that will begin on Wednesday night against the Toronto Raptors.

Back on January 5th, the Kings secured a 135-130 win over Toronto at Golden 1 Center behind a triple-double performance from Domantas Sabonis (24 points, 15 rebounds, and 11 assists) and a double-double outing by Keegan Murray (18 points and 12 rebounds).

Since the start of the 2013-14 season, Sacramento holds a 4-6 record at Scotiabank Arena, including 2-4 over the past six seasons.

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Raptors coverage, beginning at 3:00 PM PST on Game Night before a 4:30 PM PST tip-off from Toronto.

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Upcoming Schedule

  • Wednesday, March 20th – Sacramento Kings @ Toronto Raptors – 4:30 PM PST
  • Thursday, March 21st – Sacramento Kings @ Washington Wizards – 4:00 PM PST
  • Saturday, March 23rd – Sacramento Kings @ Orlando Magic – 4:00 PM PST
  • Monday, March 25th – Sacramento Kings vs. Philadelphia 76ers – 7:00 PM PST
  • Tuesday, March 26th – Sacramento Kings vs. Dallas Mavericks – 7:00 PM PST
  • Friday, March 29th – Sacramento Kings vs. Dallas Mavericks – 7:00 PM PST

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