De’Aaron Fox has quickly become Mr. Fourth Quarter.
The point guard had 36 points and seven assists, leading the Sacramento Kings to a 113-110 win over the L.A. Clippers.
It was a back-and-forth affair that saw 23 lead changes. The Clippers held a 97-95 lead with 6:17 remaining when Fox took over the game. Fox scored 12 consecutive points for the Kings, capped off by this beautiful lay-in that put the team up for good.
Nicolas Batum had a chance to tie it with 17.9 seconds left, but his corner 3-point attempt clanked off the rim. Buddy Hield hit a pair of free throws to put Sacramento up 113-108 before Lou Williams’ bucket with two seconds left on the clock.
The Kings showed significant resolve in this one. The team beat the Denver Nuggets at home on Saturday before traveling to Southern California to take on the Clippers.
Sacramento looked sluggish to begin the game and trailed 24-22 after one quarter. The Kings found its legs in the second quarter and started to push the pace. L.A. held a seven-point lead with 6:45 left in the half, but the Kings went on a 20-10 run and held a 54-51 lead at the break.
Fox did plenty of damage but got some support from Hield, who finished with 22 points and nine rebounds.
This is the third-straight win over a championship contender for Sacramento. The team has beaten the Celtics, Nuggets and Clippers in succession, showing that this 7-1 stretch isn’t just a fluke.
The Kings are 12-11 and are moving up the Western Conference standings. The defense is one of the primary reasons for the turnaround, with Sacramento giving up 109.3 points per game during the 7-1 run, which is ninth-best since Jan. 22.
It won’t get any easier for the Kings, who kick off a four-game homestand against the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday.