Facing a team who entered the game as losers of seven games in a row, Sacramento came out lackadaisical through the first three quarters before turning it on in the final period and completely blowing Houston out of the water.
Here are four takeaways from Sacramento’s win:
When the long ball is falling, the Kings are tough to beat
Sacramento set its franchise record for three-pointers in Monday’s win over the Orlando Magic and followed that up Wednesday with an excellent encore. The Kings made 19 of 48 (39.86 percent) from deep, with their best three-point shooter Kevin Huerter sidelined with a non-COVID-19 illness.
Much of the Kings’ identity is derived from how they make their kick-out three-pointers created by De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis’ gravity. On Wednesday, they made enough and were able to win by a large margin because of that.
The opposite is true, as Sacramento has struggled to win games when the outside shooting has gone cold.
Davion Mitchell has to bring something to the table on offense
Mitchell is one of the best defensive guards in the NBA, but at some point in his early NBA career, he’s got to show that he can do something at an above-average rate on offense. Not only is Mitchell very deferential, but he also doesn’t seem to have a ton of confidence in his shot or overall offensive game at the moment.
On Wednesday, he was scoreless in 14 minutes, missing all four of his shot attempts. That just isn’t good enough for an NBA guard, even if he is bringing it consistently on the defensive end.
Trey Lyles impressed in every facet of the game against the Rockets
For most of his appearances this season, Lyles has been solid but not someone who blows your socks off. On Wednesday, the socks were blown off with the way he played. Lyles was potentially the Kings’ MVP on Wednesday, and his play was a big part of why Sacramento won the fourth quarter by 21 points and put away the game.
Lyles played just 21 minutes but scored a season-high 20 points and nailed a couple of game-altering shots. The Kings’ bench has been pretty inconsistent in recent weeks. If Lyles can play close to how he did on Wednesday more consistently, it would be huge for the team.
Malik Monk’s shooting has regressed
Monk is the ultimate boom-or-bust player. When he has things cooking on offense, the entire team seems to get a certain energy, and he has the ability to score from almost any spot on the floor. On nights like Wednesday when the shots aren’t falling, Monk can be a liability on offense.
The Kings give Monk free rein to cook on the second unit that really needs his shot creation, but that recipe didn’t work on Wednesday. Monk shot just 3-for-13 and took some pretty ill-advised shots at times.
Sacramento needs Monk to return to the Sixth Man of the Year candidate he was playing like earlier this season.