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Kings look to Gain Momentum on this Home Stand
Yesterday, four of the Kings' starters scored 20 points or more. Sabonis finished with his second triple double of the season.
Six-game road trips were considered significant disadvantages for the Sacramento Kings over the years since they nearly always returned home with an inferior record. For instance, the squad from the previous year's East Coast tour finished 0-5.
Let’s recap the road trip before we look at this home stand where the Kings have a great opportunity to make some noise in the standings. The Kings faced off against Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Milwakee Bucks on the first road game and had it competitive for most of the night but Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday were too much on offense.
One thing to also point out was that De’Aaron Fox was not the same and it was obvious he was banged up. Things got a little worrisome with the Kings losing its best player in most people's opinion especially going into Cleveland.
The Kings turned to Domantas Sabonis and he helped the Kings beat the Cavaliers on a 19-0 run to steal the game. Not knowing how long Fox would be out for the team, they traveled to New York to face a hot Knicks team where they came out flat and couldn’t hit shots at all. That led to an absolutely atrocious performance in the next game against Philly.
At that point they were 1-3 going into Toronto and needed to finish the trip out strong. They faced a ton of adversity in that game as their coach was ejected and no calls went their way.
When it mattered their stars came through. Both Fox and Sabonis played over 40 minutes and put up monster stats. Sabonis with a 20 and 20 game and Fox getting back on track with a 27 point, 6 rebound, and 10 assist game. The team would then turn its attention to Detroit which seemed like a must have game. The Kings understood the task and took care of business with seven guys in double figures.
Before we move forward with this home stand, let talk about Sabonis’ All Star Case:
He is already a two-time All-Star, but he is almost certain to be selected for another All-Star game this year.
The big man's stat lines resemble those in video games, and the six-game road trip further strengthened Sabonis' resume as an All-Star:
21.2 PTS | 14.2 REB | 6.0 AST | 1.2 STL | 71 % FG | 142 Offensive RTG
With his ability to pass out of the post, lead the fast break as a big man, and score in the post, Sabonis has been an absolute force for Sacramento. The staggering stats jump off the score sheet, reminding us of the kind of performances that DeMarcus Cousins, a former Kings All-Star, used to put up during his prime with the team.
On Friday night, Sabonis, who now leads the NBA with 20 double-doubles, had his seventh straight double-double, making it his fourth straight game in which he recorded 20+ points, 10+ rebounds, and 5+ assists. He joined Oscar Robertson and Chris Webber as the only players in team history with 20-10-5 in four or more straight games.
Rebounds – 326 (1st)
Rebounds per game – 11.6 (4th)
Win Shares – 4.6 (5th)
True shooting percentage – 68% (6th)
Field goal percentage – 62% (8th)
Assists – 180 (10th)
On Monday night, Sacramento unfortunately took a loss to a bad Charlotte Hornets team. The team looked out of sorts a bit from the long road trip and didn’t take care of business like they should have. A lackluster effort defensively and missing free throws was the difference in that one.
The Kings then turned their attention to what seemed like a get back on track game versus the Los Angeles Lakers.
Yesterday, four of the Kings' starters scored 20 points or more. Sabonis finished with his second triple double of the season — 13 points, 21 rebounds, 12 assists, and two hits to the face — so don't be deceived by his point total because this guy still went crazy.
Kevin Huerter finished with 26 points on 3-of-7 from beyond the arc, and nine total field goals made. The nicest aspect of Huerter's performance was seeing him look elsewhere for his points as he rolled up his sleeves and worked in the paint.
Harrison Barnes scored 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds to chip in as well. He was once again Mr. Steady. Keegan Murray finished with 23 points on 6-of-12 from beyond the arc. Murray is looking more confident and doing the little things to impact a game like taking charges or simply boxing out.
De'Aaron Fox also established himself as a reliable midrange threat before being dismissed, scoring 22 points on seven made field goals and 8-of-9 free throws.
Neemias Queta had maybe the most entertaining performance. Queta concluded the game with 10 points and a perfect 5-of-5 field goal shooting performance, all of which were dunks in just 11 minutes. Malik Monk's selflessness allowed Queta to flourish.
The Wizards, Nuggets twice and Jazz are next on this home stand. They can’t overlook the Wizards the same way they did the Hornets because let’s be honest, it’s still the Sacramento Kings and they must take every opponent seriously. The Nuggets will be a challenge on a home at home. At the very minimum they need a split.
It’s going to be fun to watch the two best centers in the Western Conference match up. Then they finish it up against the Jazz who can beat anyone on any given night. They have a bunch of good players that play hard every night. The Kings need to be sharp and pay attention to the details Mike Brown always talks about.
Since October 29, the Kings defense has looked a lot better and they are beginning to pay attention to all the little details coach Brown is talking about. That has really helped them rise in the rankings. Look at these numbers:
It’s safe to say the Kings need to take care of business and can make up some real ground in the western conference on the rest of this home stand. Will they? That’s always the toughest question to answer.