The game started off the way you would probably expect. A must win game on a back-to-back and no one other than De’Aaron Fox came out with intensity. The Kings trailed after an ugly first quarter, but came back in the second to take the lead going into the half. Fox took over the third quarter on both ends and the Kings had a double-digit lead, but failed to close the quarter properly so it was a closer game going into the final 12 minutes. The final minutes of the fourth was pure madness, but the Kings survived and go 3-1 on the road trip.
Injury notes: De’Aaron Fox is AVAILABLE. Marvin Bagley III and Richaun Holmes are OUT. Jaren Jackson Jr., Brandon Clarke, Justice Winslow and Grayson Allen are all OUT.
Fox, playing through an injury, attacked Kyle Anderson and drew attention that freed up Nemanja Bjelica for a layup to start the game. Fox then hit a three after a pump fake with all net. Memphis hit their threes and attacked the rim with minimal restriction from Sacramento and led 18-7. The Kings offense began settling for jump shot after jump shot and none were dropping, even a wide open corner three for Buddy Hield missed. The paint defense was non-existent but a Hield three very close to the buzzer made it 30-21, Grizzlies. Dillon Brooks led all scorers with 13 points on 6-10 shooting.
Hield opened the second quarter with another three to make it 30-24. An 8-1 run led by Hield and Harry Giles made the game 31-29. The ball movement and patience improved on offense and the defense forced a few turnovers. Brooks continued to score for Memphis, but Kent Bazemore provided some threes to keep afloat. Bogdan Bogdanovic drilled a deep three, his first, and made it 41-40. Harrison Barnes finally made his first point on a free throw that gave the Kings the lead after multiple back-and-forth possessions with no scoring. Hield drew free throws right at the buzzer and converted both so the Kings led 50-47. Hield’s 10 points off the bench led the Kings.
De'Aaron Fox owned the third quarter. He was hitting his threes, finishing at the rim on contested attempts, finding open shooters after breaking down the defense which would lead the Kings to a double-digit lead. Fox also got off in the fast break and put the spin cycle on Ja Morant while also pulling out the euro step. However, the offense sputtered again to close the quarter without Fox's presence and Memphis was able to close the gap. Alex Len additionally made life tougher in the paint and finished some moves down low as the Kings led going into the fourth.
Sacramento jumped to a 85-75 lead with Bazemore making consecutive buckets, but the Grizzlies didn’t take too long to respond. The rest of the quarter was a back and forth affair and later, Jonas Valanciunas and Harry Giles got into an argument and had to be quickly separated. Utter chaos erupted on the court and the Kings lead was cut to 102-101. Hield made two free throws to make it 104-101 with 4.4 seconds left. Tyus Jones (oddly not Dillon Brooks) took the final three and missed. Kings win.
De’Aaron Fox really had the ball on strings all night and nobody on Memphis could stop him. Fox finished the game with 25 points on 10-19 shooting along with hitting 3-6 from deep. He added five assists and two rebounds.
Nemanja Bjelica finished the game with a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds. Bjelica struggled from three but got better as the game went along.
Alex Len just did it all as the big man off the bench. Len finished with six points on 3-3 shooting, seven rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block. He was huge in holding Valanciunas to 4-14 from the field.
Harry Giles played 31 minutes and keeps improving game by game. Tonight, Giles went for 16 points on 8-14 shooting, five rebounds, two assists, one block and a steal.
The Kings shot 11-38 from three (28.9%) but still pulled it off in the end. They shot 17-21 (81%) from the stripe.
Memphis won the rebound battle 52-47 and assisted more at 27-24.
The Kings only turned the ball over nine times.
Memphis had an absurd 27 fast break points to 15 for Sacramento.
The Kings return home on Sunday to take on the Detroit Pistons at 3:00 p.m. This is a perfect time for revenge after what happened in Detroit earlier this season.