SACRAMENTO KINGS

Monk, Kings complete 24-point comeback win over Warriors to clinch Group C

Nov 28, 2023, 10:33 PM | Updated: Nov 29, 2023, 8:14 am

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 28: Malik Monk #0 of the Sacramento Kings makes a go-ahead basket...

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

The NBA might be onto something with the In-Season Tournament.

After falling behind by 24 points on Tuesday night, the Sacramento Kings mounted an incredible comeback to deliver a 124-123 win over the Golden State Warriors in an instant classic at Golden 1 Center.

Malik Monk’s acrobatic go-ahead bucket with seven seconds to go sent a sold-out crowd into a frenzy before Sacramento picked up a stop on the other end as Stephen Curry’s game-winning attempt from deep hit front iron.

The Kings (10-6) clinched Group C of the NBA’s In-Season Tournament Group Play portion, and they will now face the New Orleans Pelicans in a single-game elimination game at Golden 1 Center on Monday at 7:00 PM PST.

Somehow, some way, the Sacramento Kings found a way to stun their Northern California rival and take one step closer to playing for the first-ever NBA Cup in Las Vegas, Nevada next week.

Kings vs. Warriors Takeaways

Warriors Show Early Urgency

During the opening minutes of the first quarter, the out-of-town scoreboard flashed the result of Minnesota’s game against Oklahoma City.

The Timberwolves pulled out a narrow 106-103 win, meaning that the only way Golden State could advance in the NBA In-Season Tournament is if they beat the Kings by 12 points or more.

It didn’t take long to feel the Warriors’ sense of urgency as Golden State quickly jumped out to an early double-digit lead behind red-hot shooting from beyond the arc and a dominant start on the glass.

The Warriors knocked down eight of their first 16 attempts from three-point range while leading by as many as 24 points during the first half as Sacramento searched for direction on both ends of the floor.

Klay Thompson (17 points) and Stephen Curry (16 points) went a combined five-of-12 (41%) from three-point range during the first half, while the Kings could only convert seven of their first 22 attempts (32%) from downtown. Meanwhile, the Warriors also dominated the glass as they pulled down 29 boards against Sacramento’s 18.

Curry’s eight first-half rebounds were more than De’Aaron Fox (four), Domantas Sabonis (two), and Harrison Barnes (two) had combined during the first two periods.

When the halftime buzzer sounded, the Kings were staring a 17-point deficit in the face as they got completely outworked on both ends of the floor during the first 24 minutes of action.

For Golden State, a team that needed to win big to sneak ahead of Sacramento and Minnesota to claim Group C, the urgency was there from the jump. After a rough start to Tuesday’s game, one question remained:

Could the Kings respond?

Flipping The Script

After shooting 31 percent from three-point land during the first half, Sacramento finally found a rhythm during the third quarter.

The Kings outscored the Warriors 40-32 while shooting four-of-ten from downtown as Fox, Kevin Huerter, and Malik Monk led the way on the offensive end as a game that once seemed as if it was en route to a blowout was reduced to single digits heading into the fourth.

Once this game entered the fourth quarter, it became a Kings vs. Warriors classic that we are all too familiar with.

In his first game back from a five-game suspension, Draymond Green was handed a technical foul with 9:39 to go and Golden State ahead 107-98. From that point on, it was all Sacramento.

The Kings overcame struggles from the free throw line as De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk came up with huge plays down the final stretch.

Trailing by four points with less than a minute to go, Monk came up with a huge steal as the Sixth Man of the Year candidate came away with a bad pass from Curry. Monk took the bad pass and set up in the right corner for a triple that brought Sacrament within one.

Seconds later, Green turned the ball over in a move that would cost Golden State the game.

Monk Calls Game–And Bank?

The Kings called a timeout with 22.1 seconds remaining, and once the players returned to the floor for the final possession, there was little doubt that one of Fox or Monk would be taking the last shot.

Monk’s final attempt wasn’t perfect–an off-balance, fadeaway bank shot over Andrew Wiggins–but the shot fell, and for the first time since Game 6 of April’s NBA Playoff showdown between these two teams, Sacramento came away with a win over the Warriors.

“I’ve seen him make crazy shots going back to high school,” Fox said of his college and now NBA teammate in Monk. “That was a crazy shot, for sure. With the game he was having, he probably felt confident in that shot. It went in, and that’s all that matters.”

Monk finished the night with 21 points on eight-of-fifteen shooting from the field and three-of-seven from three-point range during the win in what was another huge performance off the bench.

Notes

Trey Lyles has been huge for Sacramento in his three games since returning from a calf strain. The veteran forward added 11 points and six rebounds during the win, but what won’t show up in the box score is the effort that he brought battling for loose boards.

Sacramento overcame a brutal night from the free throw line (27/42, 64%) on Tuesday night. De’Aaron Fox went nine-of-17 from the charity stripe in what was his worst performance from the line of his career (minimum 17 free throw attempts).

Speaking of De’Aaron Fox, he had another huge game during the win despite his struggles from the line: 29 PTS, 9 REB, 7 AST, 2 STL. “He was all over the place defensively,” Kings head coach Mike Brown said of Fox following the game. “That’s the definition of a two-way player. Put him in Webster’s.”

Kevin Huerter had a solid night from behind the arc and on the glass for the Kings during the win over Golden State. Huerter, who finished with 21 points (four-of-seven from deep), nine rebounds, and five assists, has posted three games with 9+ rebounds this season–the most of any year in the guard’s career.

After being out-rebounded 29-18 during the first half, Sacramento battled back to out-rebound the Warriors 28-23 during the final 24 minutes of play.

Sasha Vezenkov scored all eight of his points during the fourth.

NBA In-Season Tournament Bracket

The stage is set. Sacramento will play a win-or-go-home matchup against the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night at Golden 1 Center.

After suffering two ugly losses in New Orleans during the Kings’ recent six-game road trip, Sacramento will have a chance to eliminate the Pelicans and punch their tickets to Las Vegas for the semifinals.

Injury Report

Keegan Murray (left SI joint irritation) missed his third-straight game, although the forward logged a full practice on Monday. Murray is considered day-to-day.

Alex Len (right ankle sprain) will be sidelined for six to eight weeks with a high ankle sprain. Expect JaVale McGee and Lyles, once he returns, to slide in and take over the backup center duties.

When is the next Sacramento Kings Game?

Sacramento will return to Golden 1 Center in less than 24 hours for the second game of a back-to-back as they will face a struggling Los Angeles Clippers team that has lost eight of its past 12 contests.

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

Upcoming Schedule

  • Wednesday, November 29th – Sacramento Kings vs. Los Angeles Clippers – 7:00 PM PST
  • Saturday, December 2nd – Sacramento Kings vs. Denver Nuggets – 7:00 PM PST
  • December 3rd-10th: NBA In-Season Tournament Week (Schedule TBD)
  • Monday, December 4th – Sacramento Kings vs. New Orleans Pelicans – 7:00 PM PST**
  • Monday, December 11th – Sacramento Kings vs. Brooklyn Nets – 7:00 PM PST
  • Tuesday, December 12th – Sacramento Kings @ Los Angeles Clippers – 7:30 PM PST
  • Thursday, December 14th – Sacramento Kings vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – 7:00 PM PST

** NBA In-Season Tournament Knockout Round

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