The Sacramento Kings looked to bounce back against the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night after falling to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday. Unfortunately, this evening the Kings will be without their first time All-Star De'Aaron Fox as he had to sit due to a hamstring injury. In his place Davion Mitchell slide into the starting lineup.
Here are my takeaways:
Team Defense, tone set by Mitchell
Davion Mitchell, who finished the night with 15 points and 6 assists, brought the defensive intensity on Monday and set the tone for the rest of the guys on the floor. The Kings have struggled mightily on the defensive all season giving up an average of 113.4 points per game, but tonight they showed a different side of themselves.
As the defensive catalyst, Mitchell had the hard task of defending C.J. McCollum whose been a focal point of the offense for the Pelicans all season, averaging 21.1 points and 5.9 assists. Mitchell put the work in early getting the former Blazer uncomfortable right from the tip.
From full-court pressure to pestering half-court defense, Mitchell would make his presence known. McCollum would finish the night scoring only 14 points on 42.9 percent shooting to go along with 3 assists and 5 turnovers.
The rest of Mitchell's teammates on the floor took to their guards strong defensive play as they held the Pelicans under 30 points in every quarter but the first. This was the first game since February 3rd that the Kings were able to hold an opposing team under 110 points.
Domantas Sabonis triple-double
Sabonis continues to show why he's not just an All-Star this season, but an All-NBA player as well. An argument could be made that he's the third best center in the league this season.
Sabonis triple-double was very impressive tonight. 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists. pic.twitter.com/LptriqTqNs— Vince Miracle (@VMCENTER) March 7, 2023
The triple-double by Sabonis (19 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists) tonight was very impressive, especially with De'Aaron Fox (hamstring) out of the lineup. The Sabonis DHO is proving to be effective with almost anyone who he is on the floor with. His ability to set up his teammates is going to be pivotal for their offensive efficiency in the playoffs.
The Kings get a few days off before they tip-off against the red-hot New York Knicks on Thursday. With this win, Sacramento moves just a half-game back of the Memphis Grizzlies who look to be without their star guard Ja Morant for the foreseeable future. The beam continues to shine brighter and brighter in Sacramento as this team continues to grow their game.