From the jump Domas was everywhere, garnering 9 points and 2 rebounds of 3-3 shooting from the field in the first two minutes. He was a match-up nightmare for Knicks’ big man Mitchell Robinson. The way that Sabonis is so readily available to thread the needle both with the ball and orchestrating the offense is joyous to watch - when he’s on, he’s on and that ability to stretch the floor has been deeply missed in Sacramento for so long.
It was a high quality half on offense as well, striking early that led the Kings to a 33-17 lead after one frame, despite Julius Randle’s 13 points in the first frame. If Randle has struggled in a Knicks’ uniform this season Golden 1 Center wouldn’t know it, handling his business at the cup in strong, seasoned fashion. He accumulated three fouls mid-way through the second quarter, a wise defensive decision by the Kings to keep him at bay. Sacramento shot 48% from the field in the first frame, and that was much needed for this team to gain momentum toward a victory.
Josh Jackson checked in for the Kings to start the second quarter, and immediately impacted the game with a statement hammer followed by an assist. Watching his NBA journey, garnering any kind of minutes is a welcome sight as the former No. 4 overall pick continues to build on his tenure. Jackson was one of many role players who stepped up in the absence of Richaun Holmes and Moe Harkless tonight, who were both out for respective personal and injury reasons.
The Kings garnered a 20-point lead by halftime, led by Sabonis’ double-double - his eighth in ten outings with Sacramento logging 13 points and 10 rebounds in two frames. It was a pretty perfect half of basketball for Sacramento, who went into the locker room 63-45 in confident fashion.
New York came into the third frame with answers - going on a 10-0 run that left Sacramento squirming for a comeback. De’Aaron Fox had his own response with successful shooting beyond the arc and an incredible take to the cup. Sacramento’s three-point shooting kept their head above water as the Knicks’ run left them within striking distance, and an evaporated lead.
It was Randle who led the charge for New York, giving them an 81-80 lead nearing the end of the third shooting efficiently and aggressively. It was truly a back and forth between Fox and Randle - a battle of the wildcats - that went sour when Sacramento’s third quarter woes couldn’t be shaken.
Sabonis was ejected for the first time in his career at the 5-minute mark in the fourth quarter after two quick technicals. His rage pretty much summed up the entire Kingdom’s sentiment.
Blowing another 20-point lead in only a way that the Sacramento Kings can, we’ll log this in the disappointing, but not surprising file and hope for a better outcome on Wednesday.