Sabonis grabs 26 rebounds as Kings hold off Grizzlies

Jan 29, 2024, 7:36 PM | Updated: Jan 30, 2024, 3:39 pm

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE - JANUARY 29: Domantas Sabonis #10 of the Sacramento Kings handles the ball agai...

(Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)

(Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)

Following a loss to the Indiana Pacers on January 18th, concerns surrounding the Sacramento Kings were magnified as the ‘Beam Team’ shouldered a four-game losing streak.

One aspect that made the 2022-23 Kings a good team was their tendency to weather rough patches and respond to adversity. For a roster nearly identical to last year’s, Sacramento is proving once again that they can dig themselves out of holes before they get too deep.

The Kings have followed up a four-game losing streak with four consecutive wins, with the latest being a 103-94 win over the severely shorthanded Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night at FedEx Forum.

It wasn’t a pretty win by any means–actually, it was a frustrating game on many levels as Sacramento struggled in several areas. But as we inch closer to the All-Star break, it doesn’t matter for the Kings as long as another tally is added to the ‘W’ column.

With the win, Sacramento (27-18) improved to a season-high nine games over the .500 mark as they continue to solidify themselves in the mix for a top-six spot in the Western Conference standings.

Kings vs. Grizzlies Takeaways

Rollercoaster Start

Injuries happen in sports. It’s part of the athletic process. For the Grizzlies, though, the injuries they have experienced this season are unlike anything this writer has seen in recent memory.

Memphis took the floor on Monday night missing ten players–TEN. Of those ten players, All-Star guard Ja Morant, high-scoring guard Desmond Bane, center Steven Adams, guard Marcus Smart, and sharpshooter Luke Kennard were among those sidelined due to injury.

While facing a team without four of its five starters and several key bench pieces might be appealing for some, the Kings have yet to prove that they can handily defeat depleted rosters.

On January 2nd, Sacramento lost to the Charlotte Hornets on a night that they were missing three starters. A few nights later on January 7th, the Kings suffered a 33-point loss to a Zion Williamson-less New Orleans Pelicans. Then, on January 12th, the Philadelphia 76ers took care of Sacramento without Joel Embiid.

There have been several shortcomings on the Kings’ end this season, but Monday’s matchup wouldn’t be a new entree to the dreaded list–but that doesn’t mean there would be a clear pathway to victory.

Of course, Sacramento–as they have time and time again this season–fell behind by double digits early as Memphis came out of the gates firing.

The Grizzlies converted seven of their ten attempts from three-point range during the first quarter, while the Kings missed all ten of their tries from beyond the arc. Sacramento ended the first quarter staring at a 33-18 deficit, and that’s where things began to flip.

Memphis’ red-hot shooting cooled while Domantas Sabonis (12 points and 17 rebounds during the first half) led a furious run that closed the 15-point gap to three as the Grizzlies took a 50-47 lead into the break.

Turnovers and three-point shooting hurt the Kings during the first half, as Sacramento turned the ball over 12 times–nearly matching their 13 turnovers from the entirety of Saturday’s game in Dallas–while shooting three-of-19 (15%) from deep.

While a lot went wrong for the Kings early, you could sense a change of the tides was approaching as Memphis’ offense slowed to a halt during the second quarter (20% FG and 0/12 from 3PT).

An Unceremonious Ending

Sacramento carried over its solid play from the second by opening up the third quarter on a 20-12 run to take their first lead of the game.

It seemed as if the Kings were on the verge of blowing things open as they took a six-point lead late in the third, but the Grizzlies refused to go away as this one stayed neck-and-neck until the final minutes.

Trailing 92-90 with 4:28 remaining, Sacramento locked in on the defensive end while getting some timely triples from Kevin Huerter and Trey Lyles down the stretch.

Memphis scored two points over the final 5:12 as the Kings brushed off an overall rough performance by ending the night on a 15-2 run.

Outside of an abysmal first quarter that saw the Grizzlies outscore Sacramento 33-18, the Kings went out to outscore Memphis 85-61 during the final three periods.

The Grizzlies’ seven-of-ten start from beyond the arc did not carry over to the remainder of the game, as Memphis went six-of-26 (23%) from deep following the first quarter. Sacramento’s offense wasn’t working on Monday, meaning the defense would have to step up if they were to head to Miami on a four-game winning streak.

Turnovers (19), poor three-point shooting (28%), and a free-throw discrepancy (Memphis shot 28 vs. the Kings’ 10) had the odds stacked against Sacramento, even on a night that the Grizzlies were playing without 11 players, but the Kings showed poise down the stretch and got away with the win.

Dominant Domas

Domantas Sabonis nearly out-rebounded the Memphis Grizzlies during the first half as the big man racked up a career-high 16 boards before the break (vs. Memphis’ 18 team rebounds).

Sabonis’ 16 rebounds tied his own Sacramento-era (1985-present) record for boards in a single half (16 back in December of 2022).

The All-Star center racked up his 28th straight double-double (and NBA-leading 41st of the season) before the break and didn’t stop there as Sabonis finished the night with 20 points (10-of-11 shooting), 26 rebounds, and five assists over 38 minutes.

Sabonis’ 26 rebounds tied Hall of Fame forward Chris Webber’s franchise record for most in a single game.

It was a historic performance for Sabonis, who established a new career-high for rebounds in a single game while becoming the fifth player in Sacramento Kings franchise history to post 20-25-5 in one night.

The seven-footer leads the NBA in 20+ rebound games (four) and continues to solidify his argument for a spot on the Western Conference All-Star team.

Sabonis now has ten games with 20+ rebounds during his time with Sacramento. He is the sixth player in franchise history with 10+ 20-rebound games, joining Jerry Lucas (216), Maurice Stokes (66), Sam Lacey (39), Wayne Embry (21) and DeMarcus Cousins (12).

Lastly, only two players have posted 20-25-5 statlines over the past five seasons (since the start of the 2019-20 season):

  • Nikola Jokic – 40 PTS | 27 REB | 10 AST (December 2022)
  • Domantas Sabonis – 20 PTS | 26 REB | 5 AST (January 2024)


  • De’Aaron Fox finished the night with 23 points (8/14 FG), five rebounds, and four assists during the win.
  • Kevin Huerter continues to play well as ‘Red Velvet’ scored 17 points to go along with four rebounds and two steals.
  • Trey Lyles added 10 points off the bench during 24 minutes of action.

When is the next Sacramento Kings game?

Sacramento’s seven-game road trip will continue on Wednesday night when the Kings face the Miami Heat.

Last season, Sacramento split the two-game season series with Miami, as the home team claimed each matchup.

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

Upcoming Schedule

  • Wednesday, January 31st – Sacramento Kings @ Miami Heat – 4:30 PM PST
  • Friday, February 2nd – Sacramento Kings @ Indiana Pacers – 4:30 PM PST
  • Saturday, February 3rd – Sacramento Kings @ Chicago Bulls – 5:00 PM PST
  • Monday, February 5th – Sacramento Kings @ Cleveland Cavaliers – 4:00 PM PST
  • Wednesday, February 7th – Sacramento Kings vs. Detroit Pistons – 7:00 PM PST

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