What a fun and intense game this was! Two games in a row, the Kings were forced into maintaining narrow leads after teams decided to go on big runs with mere minutes remaining. Two games in a row, the Kings have fought like crazy to win both, overcoming adversity (and refs) to a 10-8 record.
A fantastic start for the Sacramento Kings to open up the first quarter. Nemanja Bjelica and Iman Shumpert started hot, with three threes between them right off the start. Willie Cauley-Stein, who had a great performance last time out against the Utah Jazz, started 3-3 from the field with seven points. Two of those shots came on and-1 opportunities. De’Aaron Fox had six points, five rebounds and five assists in 10 minutes. The Kings took advantage of the Jazz struggles and lead 34-23 at the end of 1.
The Jazz fought back in the game in the second quarter. Down 38-23 early, they chipped into the lead little by little, eventually trailing by three. However, they never took the lead as the Kings had an answer at the right time of every Jazz run. Buddy Hield had a quiet first half, but had a big three with seconds remaining. De’Aaron Fox also had a laser bounce pass to Justin Jackson who converted the layup. As for Utah, Donovan Mitchell led the way with some tough shots and finishes, finishing the first half with 14, which led all scorers. Willie led the way for Sacramento with 12 points on 6-8 shooting and three rebounds.
The Jazz outscored Sacramento again in this quarter, but trailed by one thanks to an easy layup at the buzzer for Utah. Fox split every single Jazz defender and threw down a dunk. He finished the quarter with 11 points, nine assists and six rebounds. Willie continued to make nice shots, taking his total up to 21. Hield scored five more points to go up to 10. The Jazz had great production from Joe Ingles and Ricky Rubio started making shots, scoring eight in a matter of minutes.
The fourth quarter was another intense one, just like Monday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Kings went up by 17 thanks to big shots by everyone, including Nemanja Bjelica with two of them. However, the Jazz decided to wake up, led by Mitchell, and nearly came back. They trailed by four, but a Fox spin move to Bjelica for the and-1 sealed the deal for the Kings. It was also fitting for Shumpert to slap the ball out of Mitchell’s hand at the end.
The Kings are 10-8 at Thanksgiving!
There’s a lot of players who played outstanding today, especially because all starters were in double-digit scoring figures, so we’ll only pick a few.
Willie Cauley-Stein played another fantastic game against Rudy Gobert, like he did when the season opened. 23 points on 11-15 shooting, with seven rebounds and two steals were his numbers tonight. A lefty, one-handed alley-oop late in the fourth and a great play to hit the ball back out for the rebound to keep a possession alive were his biggest plays. Solid from WCS. This is his money watch section tonight.
De’Aaron Fox balled out, again. He didn’t get a triple double like many were anticipating, but he finished with 17 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds. He also made some clutch baskets late in the game, even though he was fouled on some of them. Fox’s most memorable play was his dunk that’s all over the internet and deservedly so. It was incredible.
Bogdan Bogdanovic off the bench is just so crucial. I say this almost every game, but it’s so true. Even after a slow start, he still finished with 18 points, including a tough three late in the game to keep the Kings lead intact.
The Nemanja Bjelica effect was on full display here. His 18 points on 7-9 shooting (3-3 from three) and seven rebounds lifted this team to their 10th win of the season. When Bjelica plays well, the Kings tend to win their games.
The Kings shot 53% from the field, and were 44% from three. Those numbers win you games.
They won the rebound battle, 48-46. They had 27 assists as well.
Each team had 11 turnovers.
30 personal fouls were called on the Kings, with a lot of those coming late in the fourth when Utah were on that run.
The Game in One Sentence
Look at the featured image and tell me that isn’t the perfect reaction to the end of this game.
The Kings go to the Oracle Arena to face the Golden State Warriors on Saturday at 5:30 PM. This is going to be a good one.