SACRAMENTO KINGS

Malik Monk leads Kings to win over Magic in 2OT thriller

Jan 3, 2024, 10:34 PM | Updated: 11:01 pm

(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

For a moment, you could feel 17,832 people hold their collective breath on Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center.

Orlando Magic forward Paolo Banchero’s game-tying triple as time expired in double-overtime sent a wave of silence over a capacity crowd in Sacramento, but the former number-one overall pick was unable to send a marathon of a matchup into triple-overtime.

After an eventful game that featured a slugfest between two up-and-coming NBA franchises, the Sacramento Kings held on for a 138-135 win in double overtime to pick up their first win on the second night of a back-to-back this season.

Even on a night when De’Aaron Fox didn’t have his offense working, the Kings (20-13) used a heroic effort from Fox’s college teammate Malik Monk, who scored a season-high 37 points, including 17 points during the fourth and two extra periods.

On the heels of what many believe was the worst loss of the season on Tuesday against the Charlotte Hornets, Sacramento found a way to overcome a franchise-record shooting performance from the Magic (25/44 from three-point land) and light the beam for the first time in 2024.

Kings vs. Magic Takeaways

The Supporting Cast Steps Up

During Sacramento’s tough loss to Charlotte on Tuesday, there was little offensive production outside De’Aaron Fox’s 30-point effort.

Domantas Sabonis scored 23 points and grabbed 19 rebounds, but his career-high 11 turnovers plagued his performance as the All-Star center struggled to take care of the basketball.

The Kings got little to no production from its supporting cast, with Keegan Murray (10 points), Malik Monk (six points), and Harrison Barnes (two points) unable to provide the offense with much of a boost.

Wednesday night was a different story.

Murray scored 10 of his 16 first-half points during the first quarter, with most of his baskets coming off the dribble and around the basket. While Murray’s encouraging start helped Sacramento weather Orlando’s red-hot start from beyond the arc, Monk overshadowed the Magic’s three-point performance with an outburst of his own.

Monk went a perfect five-for-five from three-point range (a career-high for made triples during a single period) during the second quarter, as the Kentucky product scored 15 points while handing out four assists while playing the entirety of the period.

With Monk and Murray leading the way, Harrison Barnes chipping in with 10 points, and Domantas Sabonis flirting with a triple-double (eight points, ten rebounds, eight assists), Sacramento entered the halftime break with a 67-55 lead that was made possible thanks to a 15-for-22 (68%) shooting performance from the field during the second.

The fact that the Kings held a double-digit lead at the half with De’Aaron Fox scoring just eight points on three-of-nine shooting was an excellent sign for a Sacramento squad that entered play holding an 0-4 record on the second night of back-to-backs this season.

Chaos Unfolds

It seemed as if the Kings were on their way to a drama-free win as they led by 16 points early in the second half, but that possibility quickly went out the window as Orlando continued to knock down triples at a, well, almost ridiculous rate.

The Magic entered play in 30th out of 30 teams on the NBA’s three-point shooting leaderboard with just over ten made triples per game. By the end of the third quarter, Orlando had already drilled 16 three-pointers and trimmed Sacramento’s lead to 91-89.

With De’Aaron Fox struggling (three-of-12 from the field through three quarters), all eyes shifted to Monk to try and close out a nail-biting win.

Monk continued to lead the charge on offense as a scorer and table-setter, with Domantas Sabonis’ historic performance (more on that later) also aiding the Kings’ closing efforts while Banchero and Orlando continued to apply pressure.

The overtime periods were a back-and-forth affair, with a good portion of the 24 lead changes that took place on Wednesday unfolding during the ten extra minutes of play.

A game this close couldn’t unfold without controversy, as both Sacramento and the Magic were on the wrong ends of blown calls during the final seconds of the first overtime period.

First, it was Orlando who was called for an offensive foul that Kings forward Trey Lyles drew as Banchero made his way to the basket. Then, there was an incorrect out-of-bounds call that should have gone the Kings’ way.

Ultimately, it turned out to be a one-for-one swap as play entered double overtime with the score gridlocked at 127-127.

As much as De’Aaron Fox struggled on Wednesday, the reigning Clutch Player of the Year scored five of his 15 points in the final period, while Keegan Murray and Malik Monk added triples of their own to apply pressure to Orlando.

Fox made one of two free throws to give Sacramento a three-point lead with 13.1 seconds remaining, meaning it would come down to one stop for the Kings to escape with a win.

Banchero, who finished the night with a career-high 43 points on six-of-nine shooting from three-point range, couldn’t knock down the game-tying triple and an exhausted Golden 1 Center–and Kings team, for that matter–rejoiced.

After starting the season 0-4 on the second night of back-to-backs, Sacramento finally got over the hump and followed up Tuesday’s rough performance with their 20th win of the season in nail-biting fashion.

Even on a night where Fox wasn’t himself (six-of-22 from the field), the Kings got tremendous performances out of Monk, Murray, and Sabonis.

Monk was the star of the night with his 37 points and nine assists on 12-of-20 shooting from the field and seven-of-13 from deep, but Murray had a considerable hand in pulling out this win.

The second-year forward finished the night with 28 points on 13-of-21 shooting from the field (two-of-six from downtown) to go along with a season-high 12 rebounds, with six of those boards coming in the second overtime.

Between Monk, Murray, and Harrison Barnes’ 17 points, the Kings got precisely what they needed from their supporting cast, while Sabonis had a historic night on the side.

Dominant Domas

It was an uncharacteristic performance for Domantas Sabonis on Tuesday night, at least when it came to distributing the basketball.

Sabonis turned the ball over a career-high 11 times while handing out just four assists–his least amount of dimes in a 10-game span. If the Kings wanted to shake off a tough start to the back-to-back, they needed its big man to return to his All-Star form.

That’s precisely what happened.

The talented center racked up his seventh triple-double of the season as fans were getting settled into their seats following the halftime break, as Sabonis hit the 10-10-10 mark with over nine minutes remaining in the third quarter and after just 21 minutes of playing time–and it didn’t stop there.

Sabonis became just the third player in the Sacramento era (1985-present) to post a 20-10-10 triple-double, as the All-Star scored 22 points (eight-of-14 shooting), a season-high 23 rebounds, and 12 assists over 46 minutes.

Only Chris Webber (1999) and DeMarcus Cousins (twice in 2015) have posted similar stat lines since the Kings moved to Sacramento leading into the 1985-86 season.

Over his past three games, Sabonis is averaging 21.0 rebounds after three-straight 19+ rebound performances.

The reigning All-NBA big also has posted a double-double in 16-straight games, giving him 28 on the season, trailing only two-time MVP winner Nikola Jokic (30).

Jokic is also the only other NBA player to post a 20-20-10 line this season.

De’Aaron Fox has said that he feels Sabonis should get more appreciation and might have a point. There aren’t many players doing what Sabonis is doing right now, and he’s making 20-rebound nights look like a breeze as of late.

When is the next Sacramento Kings game?

Sacramento’s four-game homestand will continue on Friday night when the new-look Toronto Raptors come to town.

Toronto recently acquired forward RJ Barrett and guard Immanuel Quickly from the New York Knicks in return for two-way star OG Anunoby in a move that has given the Raptors a new young core to build around.

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Raptors coverage, beginning at 5:30 PM PST on Game Night before a 7:00 PM PST tip-off from Golden 1 Center.

Upcoming Schedule

  • Friday, January 5th – Sacramento Kings vs. Toronto Raptors – 7:00 PM PST
  • Sunday, January 7th – Sacramento Kings vs. New Orleans Pelicans – 3:00 PM PST
  • Tuesday, January 9th – Sacramento Kings @ Detroit Pistons – 4:00 PM PST
  • Wednesday, January 10th – Sacramento Kings @ Charlotte Hornets – 4:00 PM PST
  • Friday, January 12th – Sacramento Kings @ Philadelphia 76ers – 4:30 PM PST

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