SACRAMENTO KINGS

Murray shines, Jones gets early call as Kings fall to Warriors

Oct 18, 2023, 9:59 PM | Updated: Oct 19, 2023, 7:56 am

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 02: Keegan Murray #13 of the Sacramento Kings poses for a photo at...

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

While we are only one week away from regular season basketball, the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors ran through another dress rehearsal at Chase Center in San Francisco on Wednesday night.

If it feels like these two Northern California foes have played each other a lot in recent memory, it’s because they have–and will continue to do so.

Wednesday’s game marked the 10th time over the past 13 contests that Sacramento has faced Golden State dating back to the final week of last year’s regular season, and the Pacific Division rivals will face off twice during the first four games of the upcoming 2023-24 campaign.

In a game that felt like a continuation of last season’s seven-game NBA Playoff series, Stephen Curry buried a go-ahead triple with five seconds remaining to give the Warriors a narrow 116-115 over the Kings in front of an amped-up crowd at Chase Center.

Aside from an ending that Sacramento would surely like to learn from (or maybe even forget), here are some thoughts on what transpired during the latest matchup in this budding rivalry.

An Early Call For The Rookie

Colby Jones impressed Kings fans during Summer League with his ability to score the basketball and defend at a high level on the other side of the floor. So far in the preseason, Jones is continuing to turn heads.

Head coach Mike Brown told the media that his rotations on Wednesday would be “close” to what they would look like during the regular season, and although Trey Lyles (calf) was ruled out shortly before tip-off, Jones got an early call off the bench in San Francisco.

Jones checked in at the end of the first quarter and immediately impacted both ends of the floor. The Xavier product finished the night with 10 points (four-of-eight shooting), two assists, and one steal over 15 minutes of playing time.

Outside of Malik Monk (20 minutes) and Davion Mitchell (17 minutes), Jones logged the third-most minutes off Sacramento’s bench against Golden State.

While Lyles’ absence could have made Brown switch things up on Wednesday, it will be intriguing to see if the rookie can crack the opening night rotation.

Sacramento could use a player like Jones in its rotation–a player with an active motor that possesses the ability to knock down triples, rebound at an above-average level for a guard, and play hardnose defense.

Jones’ stock appears to be rising, and he could very well be working his way into Brown’s circle of trust.

An Aggressive Keegan Murray

If the Sacramento Kings are going to take a step forward in 2023-24, they will need Keegan Murray to be more aggressive on the offensive end.

During three appearances thus far in preseason play, Murray has shown that he is ready to take that step as the second-year forward displayed his new-found aggression in San Francisco.

Murray had a quick start on Wednesday, scoring seven points over the first three minutes of play that included a driving dunk in the lane and fadeaway jumper off-the-dribble, and that would only be the beginning for last year’s All-Rookie First Team-er.

The Iowa product finished the night with 24 points on 10-of-18 shooting from the field (three-of-nine from deep) to go along with eight rebounds over 36 minutes.

Murray caused more damage in and around the paint by converting mid-range jumpers and other field goal attempts that were well-defended by Golden State. Even while being smothered by the opposing defense, Murray was able to be a force on the offensive end for Sacramento.

If this is the version of Keegan Murray that the Kings are getting this season, it will only add to an already lethal offense that is spearheaded by De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis.

On-Night

Davion Mitchell has shown his ability to play lock-down defense, but the offensive side of his game has been a work in progress over the past two seasons.

After spending the offseason working with Stephen Curry’s shooting coach, Brandon Payne, Mitchell has put his new-and-improved shot on display in preseason, with Wednesday’s game being the guard’s most impressive showing yet.

Mitchell scored all 14 of his points during the first half and went four-of-six from downtown in a showcase that has Kings fans excited to see what the Baylor product can do in Year 3.

Red Velvet The Starter

Following days of uncertainty, Kevin Huerter was placed back into the starting lineup on Wednesday after being moved into a reserve role during Sunday’s game against the Warriors at Golden 1 Center.

Although Brown told the media on Tuesday that his plan was always for Chris Duarte and Huerter to trade off starts during the past two games, the move caused a stir on social media as fans began to wonder if ‘Red Velvet’ could open the season as a member of the second unit.

Huerter put the noise aside and finished Wednesday’s game with 12 points on five-of-11 shooting and pulled down four boards over 26 minutes.

There is still a way to go until the Kings announce their starting lineups for October 25th’s season-opener in Salt Lake City, but the veteran guard could have an inside edge to opening the year in his familiar shooting guard slot–especially with Duarte’s status in question.

Notes

  • De’Aaron Fox looks like he’s ready for the regular season. ‘Swipa’ poured in 11 of his team-high 25 points during the fourth quarter,  grabbed seven rebounds, and swiped two steals over 32 minutes.
  • Domantas Sabonis quietly tallied a double-double (12 points, ten rebounds, eight assists) over 34 minutes
  • For the first time this preseason, Mike Brown exercised the new NBA rule that gives teams a second coach’s challenge if the first challenge is deemed successful. Brown’s second challenge on an out-of-bounds play with 10.9 seconds remaining was unsuccessful.

Quote of the Night

De’Aaron Fox on if he’s tired of facing the Warriors 

“Yeah, that’s what I was telling Steve [Kerr] before the game, I’m like ‘Man, we’ve played ya’ll 11 times last year, we got ya’ll twice in the preseason, play them the second game of the year, and the [fourth] game of the year.’ I’m like, come on man. We’re sick of seeing them (laughs). It’s a battle. We have respect for them, and obviously, we hope they have respect for us. Going in night in and night out, we expect it to be a fight.”

Injury Updates

Chris Duarte (left knee bone bruise) did not suit up on Wednesday and will miss the final game of the preseason before being reevaluated leading into next week’s season opener.

Duarte’s injury isn’t considered serious, but the Kings will hold their new guard out of action to give him a better chance of being available for the start of the regular season.

Shortly before tip-off, Trey Lyles was ruled out of Wednesday’s game due to left calf soreness. Lyles is considered day-to-day.

Next Game

One preseason game remains as the Kings speed toward next week’s season opener.

Sacramento will run through a dress rehearsal on Thursday night at Golden 1 Center when they face the Utah Jazz–the team they will face in next Wednesday’s season opener.

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

Sacramento Kings 2023-24 Preseason Schedule

  • Thursday, October 19th – Sacramento Kings vs. Utah Jazz – 7 PM PST

Sacramento Kings 2023-24 Regular Season Schedule

  • Tuesday, October 24th – NBA regular season begins
  • Wednesday, October 25th – Sacramento Kings @ Utah Jazz – 6 PM PST (Season Opener)
  • Friday, October 27th – Sacramento Kings vs. Golden State Warriors – 7 PM PST (Home Opener)
  • Sunday, October 29th – Sacramento Kings vs. Los Angeles Lakers – 6 PM PST
  • Wednesday, November 1st – Sacramento Kings @ Golden State Warriors – 7 PM PST

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