Fox delivers (again) in the 4th to help Kings stun Bulls

Mar 15, 2023, 8:34 PM | Updated: Mar 16, 2023, 9:17 am
Sacramento Kings guard De'Aaron Fox shoots a 3-pointer against Coby White #0 of the Chicago Bulls i...
(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

The NBA might want to go ahead and give De’Aaron Fox the Clutch Player of the Year award now.

With the game on the line in Chicago on Wednesday night, Fox did what he does best: Close.

Fox scored 15 of his 32 points during the fourth quarter of another signature closing performance that ended with a game-sealing, buzzer-beating three-pointer that gave the Sacramento Kings a thrilling 117-114 win over the Bulls at the United Center.

In a game where the Kings looked completely lost during the first half, Fox and his teammates locked in on both ends of the floor to pull out another narrow road win–their West-leading 20th of the season–to improve to 9-2 since the All-Star break.

With the win, Sacramento (41-27) secured its first .500 or better record since the 16-year playoff drought started in 2006.

More history. More late-game heroics from Fox. More wins for a dangerous Kings team that is speeding toward its first NBA Playoffs appearance in nearly two decades.

If you were coming into this game thinking that a game against a 31-36 Bulls team could be a ‘trap game’, those concerns were validated early as the Kings didn’t look like themselves during the first half.

Chicago took advantage of 10 Sacramento turnovers as they built a 16-point lead thanks to 17 first-half points from DeMar DeRozan. The Kings shot just six-of-19 (31%) from three-point land during the first half, a far cry from the team’s recent success from beyond the arc (42% over the previous five games).

Sacramento went into the break trailing 58-48–the team’s second-lowest scoring first half of the season (47 points against the Orlando Magic on November 5th).

If the Kings wanted to leave Chicago with a win, they would need to get its league-leading offense going during the second half. As it would turn out, all that Sacramento needed was to turn the page to the third quarter to find success on the offensive end and the defensive end.

Malik Monk’s 11 points (three-for-three from beyond the arc) jumpstarted Sacramento’s offense, while the Kings’ defense held the Bulls to just 30 percent shooting from the field during the third quarter to take an 85-80 lead into the fourth.

With the game hanging in the balance, Fox took charge–even while battling through some left ankle discomfort–to put Sacramento ahead by four points with less than 20 seconds remaining.

Then, all hell broke loose.

After taking advantage of two missed Kings free throws, the Bulls had possession with 15.1 seconds remaining. Needing a quick triple, DeRozan let an attempt fly from the top of the arc–one that Harrison Barnes stepped out and appeared to very carefully contest.

A whistle was blown as DeRozan’s three-point attempt was in the air, and the ball fell through the net to give Chicago a chance at tying things up at 114-114 with 12.1 seconds to go. Once DeRozan sunk his game-tying free throw, it seemed like we were heading to overtime.

Fox had other plans.

With no timeouts following Sacramento’s failed coach’s challenge on the four-point play, Fox took the inbound pass and went the length of the floor before stepping into a three-point field goal attempt near the top of the key.

The shot rattled home with 0.7 seconds remaining as Fox turned to face his teammates and stated, “I’m f***ing nice.”

A timeout-less Chicago inbounded the ball, and the clock hit zero as the Kings celebrated another nail-biting win, one that put them back into the second spot in the Western Conference following the Memphis Grizzlies’ loss to the Miami Heat.

“It was a much better shot this time,” Fox said with a laugh when asked if his buzzer-beater against Chicago felt like his half-court game-winner than took place in Orlando on November 5th. “For me, I’m confident in taking any shot at the end of a game.”

Fox ended the night with 32 points on 12-of-17 shooting from the field (four-of-six from deep) and two steals over 33 minutes. The first-time All-Star has scored 30+ points in 10 of his past 13 games, while he scored 10+ points in the fourth quarter for the 25th game this season–the most in the NBA.

“I have a whole group of guys and coaching staff who believe in me,” Fox said postgame. “They have confidence in me taking the last shot, so the least I can do is go out there and have confidence in myself.”

Malik Monk had a considerable hand in shifting the momentum of Wednesday’s game as the Sixth Man of the Year candidate scored 17 of his 19 points during the second half, including 11 points during a pivotal third quarter.

Fellow shooting guard Kevin Huerter kept his hot streak going during the win as ‘Red Velvet’ scored 12 of his 15 points during the final 24 minutes of play. Huerter and Monk both caught fire in unison, which has been a rare occurrence this season–one that primarily benefited Domantas Sabonis’ distributing ways.

Sabonis continued his incredible month of March with his fourth triple-double over his past five games, as the All-Star scored 14 points, grabbed 17 rebounds, and handed out 10 assists over 40 minutes of action.

The triple-double was Sabonis’ 11th of the season, breaking a tie with Luka Doncic for the second-most in the league.

Whether it was bruising his way to the bucket, pulling down a much-needed board, or finding a teammate for a triple, Sabonis continued proving why he deserves an All-NBA spot come awards season.


Fox, Sabonis, and the Kings picked up their 20th road win on Wednesday, becoming the only Western Conference team with 20+ wins this season. Sacramento (20-13) owns the only winning road record in the conference, which bodes well for their chances this April when they face opposing playoff teams away from Golden 1 Center.

Yes, I said it–PLAYOFF teams.

Following the Minnesota Timberwolves’ loss to the Boston Celtics, the Kings increased its lead to seven games over the seventh-seed spot. With fourteen games to go, Sacramento could clinch a first-round playoff berth by next week.

The end of the drought is near–very near.


  • Harrison Barnes made an impact from the free-throw line during the win, as ‘Black Flacon’ went 9/10 from the line while scoring 17 points.
  • Keegan Murray brushed off a rough first quarter to finish the night with nine points and 10 rebounds over 30 minutes of action.
  • De’Aaron Fox posted his second-straight game with 4+ made three-point field goals, tying his career-long (did it twice before).
  • Sacramento held the Bulls to 39 percent shooting from the field and 31 percent from three-point land during the win. It marked just the second time this season that the Kings have held an opponent to less than 40 percent shooting (Los Angeles Clippers, 35% on December 3rd).

Next Game

Sacramento’s four-game road trip will continue on Thursday night when the Kings play the second game of a back-to-back against the Brooklyn Nets.

Be sure to get all of your Kings vs. Nets coverage right here on Sactown Sports 1140 beginning at 3:00 PM PST on Game Night with Scott Marsh and Henry ‘The High Flyer’ Turner before a 4:30 PM PST tip-off from Brooklyn.

Upcoming Sacramento Kings Schedule

Thursday, March 16th – Sacramento Kings @ Brooklyn Nets – 4:30 PM PST

Saturday, March 18th – Sacramento Kings @ Washington Wizards – 5:00 PM PST

Monday, March 20th – Sacramento Kings @ Utah Jazz – 6:00 PM PST

Tuesday, March 21st – Sacramento Kings vs. Boston Celtics – 7:00 PM PST

Friday, March 24th – Sacramento Kings vs. Phoenix Suns – 7:00 PM PST

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Fox delivers (again) in the 4th to help Kings stun Bulls