Articles | Game Recap

Kings 116, Celtics 111: The NBA has a De’Aaron Fox problem

De'Aaron Fox outduels Jayson Tatum in crunch time and the Kings win a big game at home.

De'Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, and Harrison Barnes led the Kings to yet another thrilling fourth quarter comeback, beating the Boston Celtics 116-111.

The Boston Celtics came into tonight's matchup in Sacramento with a pretty lengthy injury report and some tired legs on the second night of a back-to-back. No Kemba Walker. No Marcus Smart. No Payton Pritchard.

The Kings, on the other hand, have played a nice week+ of basketball beating up on the Eastern Conference. Sacramento had won 4 of their last 5 games heading into a fortunate opportunity to steal a win vs. a much better, but currently injured and potentially tired Celtics team. It's a scenario the Kings couldn't take advantage of versus the Heat on Saturday, but if Sacramento is going to close the playoff gap in the west, they need to win more of these games.

It was a close throughout, it was fun down the stretch, but De'Aaron Fox was just too much for the Celtics to handle tonight. Let's get into it.

1st Quarter

Marvin Bagley carried the Kings through the early stages of the 1st quarter, scoring a quick 7 points in 8 minutes. Outside of Bagley, though, the Kings didn't have a lot going for them here offensively. Hield shot 2-7, Barnes shot 1-5, Holmes shot 1-3, and Fox ended the quarter 0-1. It was an ugly open.

The good news is that the Kings were able to hold the Celtics to just 26 points despite getting bullied by Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Tristan Thompson in the paint. The Celtics had a massive points in the paint, free throw, and rebounding advantage early, but the Kings kept the game tight enough despite their poor shooting. 26-22 Celtics after one.

2nd Quarter

The Celtics jumped out to a quick 10-point lead to start the 2nd quarter thanks to a 14-point first half from Jayson Tatum, but the Kings were able to close the gap completely and take the lead for themselves once Sacramento's starters checked back in. Bench production remains a problem for this team. Outside of Tyrese Haliburton, there just isn't a lot of offensive talent there.

Fox and Barnes struggled mightily in the first quarter, but they returned to form quickly in the 2nd. Fox was dealing, registering 7 assists in the first half alone (his season average is 6.4 APG) and brought out that aggressiveness we love to see. Barnes put in his work attacking the rim, and a decent 5-point, 2-assist first half bench contribution from Tyrese Haliburton was enough to give the Kings the lead heading into halftime. Kings 52, Celtics 51.

3rd Quarter

The Kings' seemingly decades long 3rd quarter issues popped up again tonight. Sacramento got off to a very sluggish start with the Celtics running up a 23-11 3rd quarter scoring advantage by the 5:30 mark.

Sacramento really struggled to contain Tristan Thompson here. No disrespect to Thompson, he's a solid, valuable player, but you'd like to think one of Richaun Holmes or Hassan Whiteside could slow him down better than they did tonight. Thompson is a tough matchup for Bagley due to his size and strength, but the Kings have bigger options defensively and none of them really got the job done until the 4th quarter.

Fortunately for the Kings, 11 other NBA teams passed on Tyrese Haliburton. Fox found Hali on back-to-back threes that kickstarted the comeback, and Tyrese was a menace from that point on, culminating in a buzzer-beating putback to close out the quarter. Haliburton scored 10 points in the third alone, was disruptive as hell on defense, and was the clear-cut primary reason the Kings were only down 1 heading into the 4th. Celtics 82, Kings 81.

4th Quarter

The Kings opened up the 4th quarter featuring a lot of Hassan Whiteside. It was ugly, but not completely ineffective until it was. Luke Walton probably relied on the second unit for too many minutes here as the Celtics extended their lead to 5 with 6:39 left in the 4th, and De'Aaron Fox on the bench.

Fox returned after the timeout, and wouldn't you know it, the Kings started playing much better. It began with a pull-up three in transition for Fox, and ended with numerous tough drives to the rim and one final clutch mid-range bucket to close this one out. Fox was incredible down the stretch, and it was great to see him duel with another young star in Jayson Tatum and come out on top. Fox finished with 26 points and 11 assists on 9-17 shooting, but it was his 4th quarter showing where he performed like the best player on the court for either team that made him Sacramento's MVP tonight.

Kings win 116-111.

Final Thoughts

De'Aaron Fox has been on an absolute tear recently, and the 4th quarter of tonight's game vs. the Celtics was more of the same. If we are witnessing the beginning of another big Fox leap, he might just carry the Kings beyond our most optimistic expectations for this season. Sacramento is currently just 1 loss behind the Houston Rockets for the 10th seed play-in game at 10-11.

Tyrese's Lucky Hoodie

A funny thing happened on the way to the G1C...

As has become customary before Kings games this season, Tyrese Haliburton showed up to the game repping some merch he'd picked up from a local Sacramento business. Only this time, that local merchant was... Kings Herald Dot Com!!

https://twitter.com/thekingsherald/status/1357175228204425216

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Klam
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February 3, 2021 10:01 pm

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Jman1949
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February 3, 2021 10:09 pm
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rc50cal
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February 4, 2021 8:53 am
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The Critic Leprechaun GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Klam
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Nostradumbass 18
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February 3, 2021 10:02 pm

FOX IS INSANE!!!!!
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Kosta
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February 3, 2021 10:05 pm
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Fox has leveled up!
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Klam
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February 3, 2021 10:14 pm
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Took out the Green tonight!
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Jman1949
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February 3, 2021 10:51 pm
Reply to  Klam

Tatum did look a bit green at the end of the game!

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TheBufferZone
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February 3, 2021 10:02 pm

The Steal.

RORDOG
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February 3, 2021 10:03 pm

the kings are 1 of 7 teams that are 5-1 in the last 6 games.

Kosta
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February 3, 2021 10:04 pm

TYRESE, IF YOU’RE HERE ON THE KINGS HERALD READING THESE COMMENTS, PRESS THE THUMBS UP BUTTON ON MY COMMENT.

ThisHotFireKevin
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February 3, 2021 10:04 pm
Reply to  Kosta

Shhh it’s a secret

wilbur10
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February 3, 2021 10:18 pm
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Tyrese we love you

Kosta
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February 4, 2021 9:36 am
Reply to  wilbur10

…downvote?

If you don’t love Tyrese, you don’t love Kings basketball!

RikSmits
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February 3, 2021 10:20 pm
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OMG, he has multiple accounts!

RORDOG
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February 3, 2021 10:20 pm
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also give me 300 dollars

Kosta
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February 3, 2021 10:35 pm
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Aren’t you getting that much based on your R.O.Y. bet?

RORDOG
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February 3, 2021 10:45 pm
Reply to  Kosta

$160 if he wins, but I also got Steph for MVP, Monty Williams for COY, and Christian Wood for MIP. I feel like I might win 2 out of 4 with the ol luck of the Portuguese as they say.

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February 3, 2021 10:52 pm
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9sac8
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February 4, 2021 5:38 am
Reply to  TerzoM

🤔 …I have a thought, so stay with me. My entire existence believes he should legally change his name to “Rese’s Passes”. Might end up being a top 10 nickname of all time.

Kosta
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February 4, 2021 9:37 am
Reply to  9sac8

or

META WORLD RESE

Last edited 1 year ago by Kosta
9sac8
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February 4, 2021 9:43 am
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Nice…STAMP IT

Kosta
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February 3, 2021 10:07 pm

Last edited 1 year ago by Kosta
Tunel_21
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February 3, 2021 10:12 pm
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Best NBA parents

RikSmits
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February 4, 2021 8:08 am
Reply to  Tunel_21

Much better than Luka’s dad!

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February 3, 2021 10:17 pm
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I love her so much.

ImJoeKing
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February 3, 2021 11:40 pm
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I think she’s worth it to re-sign Holmes.

dhackett
February 4, 2021 7:58 am
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but what did Bagleys dad say? ….Wait, I don’t want to know

King4life
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February 3, 2021 10:08 pm

Fox and Haliburton are so fun to watch. Cojo and Whiteside are not. That’s my analysis of this game.

MidtownMike
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February 3, 2021 10:41 pm
Reply to  King4life

Check that record when Whiteside plays significant minutes and hit me back

GFunkClassic
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February 3, 2021 10:46 pm
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Correlation doesn’t equal causation

RORDOG
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February 3, 2021 10:47 pm
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the fun to watch record?

wilbur10
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February 3, 2021 10:52 pm
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Whiteside is an absolute bum out there on the court. Repeatedly fumbling passes, turning it over on simple outlet passes, and overall very minimal effort. His size is worth something but he hurts us more than he helps us when he’s playing. But oddly enough, based off his post game quotes he actually seems to know what it takes to win games in this league (which makes sense, he’s been on winning teams) and that’s worth something. I like Whiteside as a dude, not so much when he’s playing basketball.

RORDOG
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February 3, 2021 10:55 pm
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he’s fun! It’s like a roller coaster ride when he’s out there.

Kosta
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February 3, 2021 11:29 pm
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“WHY DID I BUY A TICKET……TO DIE?!”comment image

Last edited 1 year ago by Kosta
ImJoeKing
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February 3, 2021 11:37 pm
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I’ve been calling it the Whiteside Experience. It’s a sluggish hilarious and entertaining form of basketball. Very unique.

Kingsguru21
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February 4, 2021 7:28 am
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Perfect synopsis of Whiteside.

Sir_tajj
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February 4, 2021 10:38 am
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sounds wrong to say it but he seems like a great locker room guy. All the videos, pranks on rooks, he’s like the class clown that keeps everyone laughing even through the rough stretches. But I get it. Watching the ball is in his hands or buddy’s, when it’s not a wide open shot, is like watching your dog grab your wallet and run. Drop it!

OLDBHOY
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February 4, 2021 9:37 am
Reply to  wilbur10

Its not pretty on offense for sure. He has obvious limitations and cannot play versus certain lineups……HOWEVER, his defense, shot blocking/altering and rebounding are exactly what this team needs.

When Whiteside plays more than 12 minutes the Kings are 7-2.

When he DNPs or plays less than 12 minutes the Kings are 3-9.

I prefer wins to beauty.

wilbur10
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February 4, 2021 1:52 pm
Reply to  OLDBHOY

You can throw out all the numbers you want. This team plays 4 on 5 when he’s out there bc his effort takes himself out of half the plays.

MidtownMike
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February 4, 2021 12:02 pm
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7-2 when he plays decent minutes.

Argue all you want about how bad he is :/

wilbur10
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February 4, 2021 1:51 pm
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They’re winning games in spite of him not because of him.

Ralph_Furleys_Tailor
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February 4, 2021 2:00 am
Reply to  King4life

Ya you right 9 points 9 rebounds in 17 minutes of action.

Got the C’s into the penalty in the fourth almost single handed.

Forced into big minutes by bigs who like to foul. Holmes leads the league.

By all accounts solid vet for this locker room.

By VORP, By PER, By win share is statistically 5th or 6th on the squad for less than 3 million.

I don’t get the hate?

But hey it’s your opinion you can devalue it any way you please.

Want2win
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February 4, 2021 6:16 am

I don’t get the hate either, I think he does a good job as a back up big, he provides valuable minutes sets great screens and knows how to set them. I actually watched a play last night where he was the first one back on defense that saved a basket. He’s a heck of a good deal in my humble opinion

satdawg
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February 4, 2021 8:25 am

Forget the analytics it’s what you see with the eye

furious.d
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February 4, 2021 11:39 am

And crucially having Whiteside eat the backup C minutes prevents Bagley from having to play that role. Bagley gets absolutely roasted when he’s the only big on the floor (since moving him to C also moves Barnes to PF and Barnes doesn’t provide weakside rim protection or plus rebounding).

Hassan’s game isn’t pretty in a vacuum, but the rotation issue caused when he sits makes us the worst team in the league. We average -2.36 when he plays (ie. not great, but close enough to be competitive) vs -11.14 (worst in the league) when he is inactive.

That’s the difference between giving 15mpg as defensive anchor to a guy who was 1st in blocks and 3rd in rebounds in the entire NBA last season, instead of playing Bagley out of position.

RikSmits
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February 3, 2021 10:09 pm

Fox was great in the 4th quarter. Apart from a TO where Tatum poked it away from behind, he was nearly flawless.
it is been impressive to see.

And Haliburton sporting the TKH Rese hoodie!

ajon_es
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February 3, 2021 10:52 pm
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Incredible

Kosta
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February 4, 2021 12:04 am
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NEXT CITY EDITION KINGS UNIFORMS SHOULD BE ORANGE.

Kosta
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February 4, 2021 12:21 am
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Timmy_13
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February 4, 2021 2:04 pm
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Christ, these are hideous but take my upvote.

furious.d
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February 4, 2021 2:31 pm
Reply to  Timmy_13

Really makes you glad to not be a suns fan.

Malrock
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February 4, 2021 3:06 pm
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Might actually be better than the current city jersey.

Kosta
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February 3, 2021 10:12 pm

I think it’s time for the Sacramento Kings organization to do the right thing.

The non-existent secondary advertiser logo that is missing from the top left of our jersey needs to be Reese’s Pieces Passes.
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Last edited 1 year ago by Kosta
Jman1949
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February 3, 2021 10:17 pm

Time for a (chicken) dance thread!

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February 3, 2021 10:19 pm
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February 3, 2021 10:26 pm
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February 3, 2021 10:33 pm
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February 4, 2021 6:45 am
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Jman1949
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February 3, 2021 10:35 pm
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Wait! If that’s Lonzo, it should be a duck dance instead!

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February 3, 2021 10:42 pm
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Who are the pigeons then?

Kosta
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February 3, 2021 10:46 pm
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haliBERTon doing the PIGEONcomment image

Last edited 1 year ago by Kosta
Jman1949
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February 3, 2021 10:46 pm
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The L*k*rs for drafting him and the Pelicans for trading for him?

JoeNoSay
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February 4, 2021 1:04 am
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Duck duck Fox

ZillersCat
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February 4, 2021 8:11 am
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Gallo
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February 4, 2021 1:42 pm
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You people need to consider the damage this does to an entire blameless species.

Jman1949
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February 4, 2021 2:18 pm
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Gallo!

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Kosta
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February 4, 2021 10:18 pm
Reply to  Jman1949

I saw a huge cock like that at some stop on the way to Yosemite.

A few of them. Never knew they got so big!

Last edited 1 year ago by Kosta
Klam
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February 3, 2021 10:22 pm

OMG THIS GIF IS SICK

RORDOG
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February 3, 2021 10:24 pm

Coach Walton deserves a lot of credit. This team isn’t where it is today with out Luke Walton.

Brown.says.Good.or.Bad
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February 3, 2021 11:59 pm
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This is bad

RORDOG
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February 4, 2021 12:08 am

So’s your reading comprehension

9sac8
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February 4, 2021 5:42 am
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Great comeback.

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February 4, 2021 7:30 am
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If you’re going to throw Walton out due to historically bad defensive performance, you have to note that they’ve also won these games with him as a head coach.

Whether that’s enough, that’s another matter.

Klam
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February 3, 2021 10:25 pm

deepshot22
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February 3, 2021 10:26 pm

Hali joined the No Foxing Around Club tonight.

Kosta
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February 3, 2021 10:43 pm
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satdawg
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February 3, 2021 10:30 pm

Where’s the link to the store?

GFunkClassic
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February 3, 2021 10:44 pm
Reply to  satdawg

It’s in the drop down menu on the site

kfipp
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February 4, 2021 1:05 am
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Kingsherald.com/store

tell all your friends… and enemies

RORDOG
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February 3, 2021 10:30 pm

Someone should tell the NBA Richaun wasn’t credited for a block here:
comment image

(he was only credited with 1 block, but that was in the first half)

RORDOG
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February 3, 2021 10:34 pm
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Check out a close up of Richaun’s hand:
comment image

BrazilianRare
February 3, 2021 10:37 pm

Last week that Ottis guy threw A LOT of stats and cold numbers at me to prove Fox is not better than last season…
I’m here waiting for some more of those great analysis by numbers and +/-, they so acurate!

Last edited 1 year ago by BrazilianRare
MidtownMike
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February 3, 2021 10:39 pm
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That Otis guy does have a lot of clown takes

RORDOG
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February 3, 2021 10:49 pm
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yeah Otis…
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ForKingsandCountry
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February 4, 2021 12:48 am
Reply to  BrazilianRare

€œLast week€. It’s almost like Fox has been a lot better the last 10 days or so. A week or so ago he WASN’T playing better than last season. He has been recently though. This version of Fox is significantly better than the version we saw the first 12 games. Context is sort of important.

Last edited 1 year ago by ForKingsandCountry
rc50cal
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February 4, 2021 9:00 am

You’re telling me things can change? For the better?

ForKingsandCountry
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February 4, 2021 10:08 am
Reply to  rc50cal

Hard to believe for sure!

Lucky_Guy
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February 4, 2021 12:50 am
Reply to  BrazilianRare

To be fair to Otis, Fox is currently having the best few weeks of his basketball life. If Otis comes back and has a changed opinion based on new facts I totally respect that.

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February 4, 2021 7:53 am
Reply to  BrazilianRare

This kinda comment drives me crazy. While I don’t really agree with Otis’ take on De’Aaron Fox overall (and he’s not alone in his criticisms either), I also don’t see where anything he has said at any point is actually (or even a little) out of bounds. If we can’t have disagreement on valuation of players, why are we conversing with each other around here?

It’s fair to criticize a young player for not being what he wants and the franchise needs him to be at this point in time.

Last edited 1 year ago by Kingsguru21
RikSmits
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February 4, 2021 8:14 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

The art of conversation is dying, Nate.

We the people are just intent on shouting ourr truth/opinion and cancelling those we disagree with, and “hating” (on) them in the process.

I say “we” because I am as guilty of that as the next person. I really believe that the manner in which we communicate has slowly but surely altered over the last two decades (give or take).

Lucky_Guy
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February 4, 2021 9:37 am
Reply to  RikSmits

This pretty much sums up why I don’t comment here that much anymore

Kingsguru21
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February 4, 2021 9:38 am
Reply to  RikSmits

I dunno Dutchman. I’m not sure it’s the art of conversation that’s dying. I still have polite disagreements with people in person when I choose to.

I think the bigger issue is the lack of real boundaries that some really struggle with. I’m not sure what created this, but it’s the biggest problem I see with all of this.

RikSmits
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February 4, 2021 9:44 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Oh, shut up, hater!

Kosta
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February 4, 2021 11:52 am
Reply to  RikSmits

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