The Kings started their noon game in a somewhat sleepy back and forth with the Clippers, with no team really having the motivation to break out early. The second quarter saw LA draw a little separation and the ensuing constant blaring of the refs whistles on the Kings helped them keep that lead. The waning moments of the half saw the Kings pull ahead to finish with a 54-51 lead. The second half saw the Kings open up their own small cushion only to see the Clippers pull ahead in the waning seconds of the quarter. The entire fourth was back and forth with the Kings always managing to hold a point or two over the Clippers' heads. Fox was his clutch superstar self and Sacramento managed to hang on against the Clippers, winning 113-110.
De'Aaron Fox started off scoring eight quick points in the first quarter to get the Kings out and running early. He was an embarrassment of riches in the first half, getting anywhere he wanted in the paint. He scored 14 points in the first half, but wasn't done there. The leading man for the Kings was the best player on the floor today for either team and ended up with a scorching 36 points to go with 7 assists and 4 rebounds. The fourth quarter saw Fox hitting threes, defending his man at a high level and generally being a menace. With 40 seconds or so left and a one point lead, Fox maneuvered around Kawhi like he was a fence post and found Richaun Holmes for an open dunk. This proved to be the nail in the coffin for the Clippers who had to play the foul game from there.
De'Aaron Fox vs. Kawhi Leonard in crunch time. pic.twitter.com/MDliWrz0O1
— Tony Xypteras (@TonyXypteras) February 7, 2021
Rookie Tyrese Haliburton is a savant. I know there's always hype around young guys outperforming their draft positions but Haliburton is making a lot of league execs look silly right now. Multiple times this afternoon he caught Kawhi Leonard looking the wrong way on his passes. While he had a fairly quiet first three quarters, Captain Clutch came into the fourth and immediately hit back to back threes to the give the Kings a 5 point lead, then a couple minutes later hit a beautiful runner to boot. The fourth quarter started with Kyle Guy, Hali running the guard spots and they actually ended up pushing the lead with Fox on the bench. Hali is unreal. going for 13 points, with 2 rebounds and 6 assists to add to it. Final note on him, He also casually hit a banker from well beyond half court and it was only a few tenths of a second too late to count. I'm starting to think a quarter can't legally end until Haliburton hits a shot.
Buddy Hield is finding ways to do things even when his shooting isn't there and that is a change that is pretty damn welcome. While he shot 1-6 from deep in the first half, he was mixing it up on the defensive end, grabbing offensive rebounds deep in the paint against the Clippers bigs. He grabbed 7 rebounds in the first half and tossed out 2 assists. This isn't to say the man didn't end up getting it done: Buddy ended up with 22 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists and hitting three shots from deep.
Marvin Bagley just missed out on a double double, adding 9 points and 10 rebounds but generally had another whisper quiet game in 21 minutes of action. Seven of those rebounds came in the first quarter and he did toss in another corner three that he likes so much, but his streak of meh play continues.
Random Notes on the Night
The Kings first 22 points of the game all came in the paint. I know some of that has to do with Ibaka being old and the Clippers being in the bottom 8 in blocks, but the Kings were just simply making contested shots. They didn't hit a shot from outside the key in the entire first quarter and wouldn't until 10:40 into the second quarter.
March 9th, 2019 was the last time the Kings were above .500 with this many games played. If you heard that snapping sound outside, that was my jaw shattering from the reflexive clenching that just occured.
Kyle Guy got 1st quarter minutes and hit a three early into the second quarter. He was also a part of a really decent stretch in the fourth that allowed Fox to rest on the bench for just awhile longer. Who says Walton isn't flexible? (Everyone.)
The Kings could not buy a bucket from deep, starting the game 2-12 from beyond the arc. To that point, Buddy had missed 17 straight threes dating back to yesterday's game until the closing minute of the second quarter.
Tyrese is second in the NBA in 4th quarter 3 point %, behind only Joe Harris. The kid is shooting 62.9% (!!) from deep in the fourth. Hot damn.
This win marked the first time the Kings have won the second game of a back to back this season.