Murray, Barnes lead Kings to blowout win over Jazz

Mar 31, 2024, 8:42 PM | Updated: 8:45 pm

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 12: Harrison Barnes #40, Keegan Murray #13, Domantas Sabonis #...

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Following costly back-to-back losses against the Dallas Mavericks, both of which further pushed them out of the Western Conference playoff picture, the Sacramento Kings sorely needed a bounce-back performance.

An Easter Sunday matchup against the shorthanded Utah Jazz was just what the doctor ordered, as the Kings coasted to a 127-106 win in front of 18,332 fans at Golden 1 Center.

As Sacramento begins its final push for the postseason, they showcased a different approach on offense, with Malik Monk and Kevin Huerter unavailable due to injuries.

Keegan Murray and Harrison Barnes scored 20 points each to lead the way on Sunday, while De’Aaron Fox increased his workload as a distributor (11 assists) to help the Kings string together an impressive group effort on the offensive end.

With the win, Sacramento (43-31) jumped back into seventh place in the standings as they approached the conclusion of the regular season, as just eight games remain between now and the April 15th start date of the NBA’s Play-In Tournament.

Kings vs. Jazz Recap & Takeaways

With Malik Monk (MCL sprain) and Kevin Huerter (left labrum tear) out for the rest of the regular season, Sacramento will need the rest of its roster to step up on the offensive end.

Keegan Murray is a player that many eyes will be on over the coming weeks, and the forward started things off with a ten-point first quarter (four-of-six shooting) to get the Kings’ offense rolling.

Domantas Sabonis, who entered play having attempted 9.5 shots per game over his past six contests, also showcased an uptick in aggression during the first half against the Utah defense. Sabonis matched Murray with a 15-point first half while shooting seven-of-12 from the field, but the Jazz resisted Sacramento’s attempts at stretching out its lead.

Both teams entered the break with identical shooting splits (47% FG and 38% 3PT), though the Kings held a slim 56-52 advantage that they would hope to build on in the second half.

Things appeared to be headed towards another back-and-forth affair as Utah tied the game at 58-58 during the opening minutes of the third quarter, but Sacramento would put an end to any worries that this game would slip through its grasp.

The Kings broke the tie by scoring 15 unanswered points during a game-altering 26-5 run that put Sacramento up by 20 points–a lead that they would not surrender throughout the rest of the night.

Harrison Barnes was unstoppable during the third quarter, scoring 16 points (four-of-four from three-point range) over just seven minutes of action to help the Kings take control of the game for good. With Barnes locked in and Keegan Murray also crossing the 20-point mark before the fourth, Sacramento was positioned to coast to the finish for a much-needed win.

Murray and Barnes were the focal points of the Kings’ offense on Sunday, as the forwards both crossed the 20-point mark in the same game for the first time this season–a trend that the team would surely like to see continue as they navigate life without Monk and Huerter.

The fourth overall pick from last summer’s NBA Draft racked up 25 points on five-of-11 shooting from deep to lead all Sacramento scorers, while Barnes matched De’Aaron Fox with 24 points in what was an impressive group effort from the Kings starters.

Fox did a bit of everything during the win, posting his sixth double-double of the season that included 12 assists, six rebounds, three steals, and two blocks as his teammates helped shoulder the scoring load.

If Sacramento is to weather the loss of two key players, they will need a similar output from players like Murray and Barnes, who are capable of making a difference on the offensive end when the volume is there. Murray finished with 18 field goal attempts–just his second game with as many or more attempts since February 1st (26 games).

“I think, collectively, we’ve done a good job picking each other up,” Murray said postgame when asked how he felt the team has handled the recent injury bug. “I feel like we’re all in good spirits, and we’re just going to move forward.”

While the loss of Monk and Huerter will undoubtedly test the depth of this roster, the emergence of Murray and Barnes’ offense could have arrived at an ideal time as the Kings enter a tough final stretch that will include matchups against the Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Oklahoma City Thunder, Phoenix Suns, and New Orleans Pelicans.

Next Man Up

Every time that the injury bug has bitten the Kings, head coach Mike Brown has had a clear message for his team:

Next man up.

With Malik Monk (MCL sprain) and Kevin Huerter (labrum surgery) sidelined for the remainder of the regular season and beyond, Sacramento will not only have to lean on its stars, De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis, but also players who usually wouldn’t be in line for extended opportunities.

Davion Mitchell continued to showcase his improved offense, scoring eight points on three-of-six shooting while also pulling down a season-high six boards and passing out three assists. Trey Lyles, who returned from a nine-game absence due to an MCL sprain, added nine points on three-of-five shooting from deep during his return to action.

Sasha Vezenkov (ankle sprain) also returned to the floor after a 21-game absence, scoring five points on two-of-three shooting over nine minutes.

Notes & Stats

  • Sacramento is 24-6 (.800) this season when Keegan Murray scores 20+ points in a game.
  • De’Aaron Fox has recorded a steal in 20 consecutive games, marking the longest steal streak of his career. Fox surpassed his previous best streak of 19 games, which he set from Dec. 19, 2018 to Jan. 27, 2019. Fox’s streak is the longest by a Kings player since Tyreke Evans had a steal in 23 consecutive contests from Jan. 1 to Feb. 11, 2012.
  • Domantas Sabonis recorded his 57th consecutive double-double vs. Utah. The big man leads the NBA with 70 double-doubles on the season over 74 games played. Sabonis is one of four players in NBA history to post 70+ double-doubles in a single season, joining Kevin Garnett, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Moses Malone–all Hall of Fame bigs.

Injury Updates

Malik Monk (right knee) will be reevaluated in four weeks after suffering a right knee MCL sprain on Friday night.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Kevin Huerter (left dislocated shoulder and labral tear) will miss the remainder of the season. Huerter will undergo surgery and is slated to be ready for the start of the 2024-25 season.

When is the next Sacramento Kings game?

Sacramento will conclude its five-game homestand on Tuesday night when they face the Los Angeles Clippers for the fourth and final time this regular season.

After losing the first two matchups, the Kings defeated Los Angeles by a final of 113-107 at Arena back on February 25th.

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.

YouTube video

Upcoming Schedule

  • Tuesday, April 2nd – Sacramento Kings vs. Los Angeles Clippers – 7:00 PM PST
  • Thursday, April 4th – Sacramento Kings @ New York Knicks – 4:30 PM PST
  • Friday, April 5th – Sacramento Kings @ Boston Celtics – 4:30 PM PST
  • Sunday, April 7th – Sacramento Kings @ Brooklyn Nets – 4:30 PM PST
  • Tuesday, April 9th – Sacramento Kings @ Oklahoma City Thunder – 5:00 PM PST

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