In a night where both the Sacramento Kings and Oklahoma City Thunder were without their superstar guards — De’Aaron Fox and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander — the two teams were still able to make it an exciting, competitive matchup. Despite a run by the Thunder at the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth, the Kings held it down and won 123-117, extending their current win streak to four games.
FINAL: Kings top Thunder, 123-117— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) March 1, 2023
@DSabonis11 22 PTS, 13 REB, 9 AST
@Hbarnes 29 PTS, 9 REB, 4 3PT
Keegan Murray 13 PTS, 10 REB
@KevinHuerter 20 PTS, 8 AST
@Hoopculture13 15 PTS
Presented by @RedHawkCasino pic.twitter.com/IIBRpSx3ED
Here are three takeaways from yesterday’s game.
The whole team stepped up in Fox’s absence
Before this game, the Kings were 1-4 on the season when Fox wasn’t suited up. Even though SGA was also out, the Kings are no stranger to losing games they have a clear advantage in. The mark of a good team, however, is its depth and ability to compete when they are shorthanded.
In the absence of their offensive leader, the rest of the starters all stepped up to make magic happen. To no surprise, Domantas Sabonis was an all around monster — 22 points, 13 rebounds, 9 assists and 1 block — and nearly had his eighth triple-double of the season. But the other starting four of Davion Mitchell, Kevin Huerter, Keegan Murray and Harrison Barnes all had great games.
Any of the starters could have been my player of the game. Huerter showed that his offensive ability is not limited to scoring and tallied 9 assists to go with 20 points, Murray once again got aggressive on the boards to finish with 13 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double this season and HB had one of those nights again, scoring 29 points and grabbing 9 rebounds.
Harrison Barnes was extremely efficient tonight, scoring 29 Points on 8-of-13 (61.5%) shooting and 9-of-10 (90%) from the FT line.— Will Z. Stats (@will_zimmerle) March 1, 2023
It's the 15th time in his Kings career he's scored at least 25 Points on 13 or less FGA's, most in Kings history.
Most efficient King ever? pic.twitter.com/T1UDCHxr8x
Before this game, I still had a lot of concerns about how the offense would work without Fox, but this game gave me hope that they could still make things happen if that misfortunate situation were to occur.
Davion showed everyone why we wrote him off too early
I left Mitchell out of the previous section for a reason. I mentioned how anyone could have been my player of the game, but the player who really deserves it is him. Stepping into the role of starting point guard for the night, Mitchell finished with 15 points, 1 rebound, 4 assists, 1 block and a steal. No, the numbers weren’t crazy. But the impact was.
Mitchell has been getting criticized by Kings twitter for a while now about his lack of production on offense after we all saw his potential last season. Against the Thunder, he once again looked confident and decisive shooting the ball finishing 6-for-10 from the field and 3-for-7 from deep.
His ability on defense has been a constant all season, which is why Mike Brown and the rest of the team trust him so much on the floor. But since his offense was lacking, many people wanted him to be traded. Me included at time. But I would like to publicly apologize for being dramatic. Mitchell is still very young and wasn’t drafted for his offense in the first place. I think he still deserves time to work on his complete game before coming to any conclusions.
Davion Mitchell icing the game with Fox out was a fun moment. I love these self-created pull-ups from him - wish he showed this kind of aggression more often. Great game from him tonight. pic.twitter.com/wcMQddqqKh— Kings Film Room (@SacFilmRoom) March 1, 2023
DPOG MITCHELL pic.twitter.com/gpkzaW0etA— KingsMuse (@kings_muse) March 1, 2023
Jalen Williams continued to take advantage of the Kings weak interior
Jalen Williams stacking excellent performances. Almost single handedly beat the Kings with no SGA last night. Highly mature tape for a rookie. Advanced nuances like change of pace and contact initiation while oppressing opponents with his freakish 7’2 wingspan— NBA University (@NBA_University) March 1, 2023
OKC strikes gold… pic.twitter.com/kKy6DFIyia
Jalen Williams has been one of the most impressive rookies this year, and he continued to prove why against the Kings. He shot 8-for-13 from inside the three point last night with many of those shots coming in the paint. We’ve harped on the lack of interior defense all season and I’m not going to go into detail about it again. I will, however, continue to point it out until something is done about it.
The playoffs are practically here, and as of right now the Kings will play the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round. Ty Lue is a smart coach and would surely abuse the interior every night of the series. And once the Kings overcommit to stop the paint attack, the Clippers would stretch the floor and kill them with threes. If Williams can do this, imagine what a superstar would do in the span of seven games.