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Kings 123, Clippers 107: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

The Kings rewrite the script in Los Angeles as they get their first victory over the Clippers this season.
By | 51 Comments | Feb 25, 2024

Feb 25, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Sacramento Kings guard De'Aaron Fox (5) shoots the ball against LA Clippers guard Terance Mann (14) in the second half at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Kings marched on in the NBA season tonight after bookending the All-Star break with two reassuring wins against Denver and San Antonio. With some momentum and good vibes on their side, tonight was an opportunity for the Kings to make a big statement and right some wrongs. The Los Angeles Clippers so far this season had the Kings’ number, defeating them by double digits in their two previous matchups. Sitting 3rd in the Western Conference for good reason, the Clippers couldn’t be expected to go down easily. The Kings needed to execute their best basketball. Let’s see how they did:

Quick Stats

Outcome: Kings win, 123-107

Sacramento Kings: 123 pts, 49.5% fg, 40.5% 3 pt, 81.8% ft, 29 ast, 41 reb, 10 to

Los Angeles Clippers: 107 pts, 48.8% fg, 29.6% 3 pt, 95.0% ft, 23 ast, 39 reb, 16 to

Much like Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, this game started out in a familiar way, lulling you into an expectation of how it would likely end. Without Paul George, the Clippers still managed to score the ball well, relying on Kawhi Leonard’s midrange expertise, as he scored 12 of his 20 points in the first half. Norman Powell (21 points) got an early shooting streak going, hitting 2 of his total 5 3-pointers early on. So it felt as if this game was about to take off in the Clippers’ favor at any moment and the result would be the same as their previous matchups this year. But just like the classic Tarantino twist, the Kings chose a different ending.

The Good, The Better, & The Best

The Good:
  1. Fighting For The Crown: This may have been the Kings’ best defensive game of the season. The stat trend that suffocated the airwaves preceding this game was that the Clippers are second in the league in 3-point shooting, while the Kings are last in the league in defending it. Tonight, the Kings said to heck with stat trends. They held the Clippers to just 8-27 (29.6%) from the 3-point line, while simultaneously shooting 15-37 (40.5%) themselves. That math is hard to beat in a game of basketball. The Kings rounded out their defensive performance with physicality as they cleaned up the boards efficiently, got 10 steals, and a ton of deflections. Their effort on the defensive end was palpable from the start, and most impressively, consistent through the entire game. It seemed like everyone on the floor was fighting for their right to the DPOG crown.
The Better:
  1. Efficient Offense: The Kings executed their best brand of basketball on the offensive end. Of course, Domantas Sabonis finished with his 20th triple double of the season with 17 points, 15 rebounds, and 12 assists. All five starters finished in double digits, along with Malik Monk (12 points) off the bench. Early on, it was noticeable that Harrison Barnes (22 points) and Keegan Murray (11 points) were looking for opportunities to get involved on offense. Their aggression and activity with the ball set a precedent for the Kings’ offense, adding multiple dimensions and threats to it, signaling to the Clippers that there would be layers to defending this team tonight. Kevin Huerter got going in the second half, and finished with 15 points on 3-6 from deep. The best part of tonight’s offense was the shot selection. Everything was within the flow of the offense. Even when shots weren’t falling early on in the game, the Kings stuck to their ball movement and committed to high quality shots. Eventually they started to fall and the Kings took control of this game by the end of the half.
The Best:
  1. Big Bench Minutes: During the fourth quarter, the Kings were up by 8 points with 8 minutes remaining. De’Aaron Fox headed to the bench to get his final rest, as Kawhi Leonard headed to the table to re-enter the game. This was the most crucial point of the game – where the Kings could either sustain their success and hold the Clippers off, or Kawhi Leonard would take things into his own gigantic hands and steal the game away from them. The Kings got huge minutes from their bench in this stretch, featuring three possessions in a row where Malik Monk executed pick-and-roll action with Domantas Sabonis perfectly for three consecutive buckets. Davion Mitchell also hit a timely 3-pointer to maintain the Kings’ control of this game. These five minutes of play from the bench extended the Kings’ lead from 8 points to 13 points, allowing the Kings the comfort to close out the final possessions for the win.

The King of Kings

De’Aaron Fox set the tone for this game early on with his defensive effort and persistence on getting to the paint. He was playing with an obvious fire. It wasn’t until the referees made the crucial mistake of pouring gasoline on this fire in the fourth quarter by issuing a lame technical foul on Fox for showing human emotions that we saw this fire grow into an uncontrollable blaze. Fox kicked into another gear and responded to this call with a middy, a forced turnover on James Harden, another made bucket, and a forced jump ball on the other end. Fox finished with 33 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds. Yeah, I’m thinking he’s back.

Up Next

Monday, February 26th vs. Miami Heat – 7:00 P.M. (PT)

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TerzoM
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February 25, 2024 9:47 pm

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Amonk81
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February 25, 2024 10:54 pm
Reply to  TerzoM

Definitely seems like break helped Fox’s shoulder/pains some.

It seems like the Kings can make a run with healthy-er (ie-clutch)Fox and that Brown/Kings took pre all star season to figure out personnel/groupings etc.

Like Duarte/Davion as a defensive duo. Etc.

If this team can focus some on D they will get into playoffs-top 6.

Jack
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February 26, 2024 7:14 am
Reply to  Amonk81

My favorite game of the year so far. As an old defensive coach( I coached offense too) I loved the way everyone bought in on the defensive side of the ball. Stopping the 3 ball was huge, doubling team effort and great physicallity the whole game. Offense was there also with all starters in double figures. Some players like Duarte or Mitchell (2 big 3 pointers) didn’t score a lot but played great defense. It shows that you combine defense with offense and good things will happen. Keep this up and not a fluke then I have a lot of confidents good things will happen. GO KINGS!

Jman1949
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February 25, 2024 9:51 pm

Kings sunk the Clippers!

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UpgradedToQuestionable
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February 25, 2024 10:30 pm
Reply to  Jman1949

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Sunk!

The Kings never let LAC build momentum. Fox was All-NBA level Fox – clutch on D and clutch on O. I’m glad he had abandoned the look for a 3 first, part of his offense. He is so effective on getting his 2 point bucket whenever he wants.

I’m still confused about the Technical early in the game – Monk? Domas? and the Tech on Fox for throwing his arm like Draymond Green does, every damn game (or did Bob Meyers forget that?)

Oh, and a special shout out to Kings fans in Crypto – you could hear their “light the beam” chants on the TV

Last edited 4 months ago by UpgradedToQuestionable
Hobby916
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February 26, 2024 6:55 am

I think one of the king’s bench players said something or went on the court to celebrate. ESPN and National broadcasts do a poor job of covering that kind of stuff.

The chants were heard loud and clear!

BeTheBall
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February 26, 2024 10:58 am

It was a T on Mason Jones for coming onto the court to celebrate.

ForKingsandCountry
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February 25, 2024 9:51 pm

That was a fantastic game! Fox was great from start to finish. All the starters played well and outside of Sabonis missing about 5 easy layups in the first quarter, the Kings were great. The defense was fantastic most all game as well. Just a great wire to wire win. More play like that and we’re making the playoffs without question.

Ellis5
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February 25, 2024 9:51 pm

Boring!

Jman1949
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February 25, 2024 9:54 pm

Time for a LaLaLand dance!

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Ellis5
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February 25, 2024 10:42 pm
Reply to  Jman1949

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Dan Houlder
Dan Houlder
February 25, 2024 9:54 pm

The Kings had the second-toughest remaining schedule when they beat the Nuggets in Denver on SEGABABA and the fourth-toughest tonight while beating the Clippers on their home floor.

And on top of the thrill of tonight’s win, if you watched ESPN, you also experienced the schadenfreude of color analyst Bob Myers’ palpable disappointment in the Clippers’ loss.

What 2024’s ESPN is to sports, 2024’s MTV is to music.

Kfan
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February 25, 2024 10:05 pm
Reply to  Dan Houlder

Did you know the Clips are 2nd in 3 pt % and the Kings are last in 3 pt defense?

TerzoM
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February 25, 2024 10:22 pm
Reply to  Dan Houlder

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Hobby916
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February 26, 2024 4:42 am
Reply to  Dan Houlder

He is bad, worse than Kayte. The play-by-play woman wasn’t good either. Just a drab and dry performance by ESPNs bottom of the barrel announcing crew.

Amonk81
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February 26, 2024 3:49 pm
Reply to  Hobby916

As bad as they were I still preferred it to Kayte and especially Jones or Draper.

Kings really need to get a professional or at least entertaining team in there.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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February 26, 2024 7:28 am
Reply to  Dan Houlder

What 2024’s ESPN is to sports, 2024’s MTV is to music.

This is gold!

jwalker1395
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February 26, 2024 8:32 am
Reply to  Dan Houlder

Tim Legler shitting on Sabonis immediately after the game was also crazy. National media’s commitment to simply ignoring what they see in front of their very eyes is staggering.

Kfan
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February 25, 2024 10:03 pm

Big win! Do it again tomorrow!

Bluejohn
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February 25, 2024 10:11 pm
Reply to  Kfan

That’s really the only thing I’ve got to say. But…..I will say this…..this was the first game this season that reminded me what a tough out last season. Big win itself buty bigger because our opponents in the West…..dubs, Lakers, Pels and clips all lost.

SomedayKing
February 25, 2024 10:05 pm

It was nice to see such a great defensive effort! Fox has shown he can play defense too, and has stepped up the effort lately. If they can do that consistently we will see them make the playoffs and have a chance to potentially win a first round matchup. Tonight was great, but they need to put in that effort every game to have that chance, and so far this season that has been very inconsistent.

Inthestarz
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February 25, 2024 10:09 pm

When Fox is playing “with energy”, and Huerter/Barnes are actually playing like pieces that don’t need to be dumped, the team is very solid.

Given our record vrs the top teams it should be an interesting playoffs if we get there. really are no great teams in the nba, lot of parity. every team beatable

Last edited 4 months ago by Inthestarz
Ellis5
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February 25, 2024 10:17 pm
Reply to  Inthestarz

When you comment “with energy” It’s wrong and that’s ok Kings are ironically held back by the NBA and that’s expected… Welcome

Last edited 4 months ago by Ellis5
Ellis5
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February 25, 2024 10:11 pm

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Ellis5
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February 25, 2024 10:32 pm

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DutchKingsFanInUK
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February 25, 2024 11:20 pm

Fox was fantastic all game, so he deserves two gifs.

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Now please don’t Kangz it up against a depleted Miami side tomorrow.

Last edited 4 months ago by DutchKingsFanInUK
RikSmits
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February 25, 2024 11:35 pm

Fox with one of his better all around games on the season. Pretty good all-around play. Barnes Huerter, even Davion.

I also thought that Duarte was pretty decent out there, especially on defense.

High quality win on the road over a contender.

DutchKingsFanInUK
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February 26, 2024 5:35 am
Reply to  RikSmits

I haven’t looked up the numbers, but it felt like the Kings won the Fox-only (Sabonis on bench) minutes this game. I feel like that rarely happens (again, haven’t looked it up).

whitechocolateisthegoat
February 26, 2024 8:46 am

A cursory glance would seem to show that Fox & Domas benefit from playing with each other, which tracks with what our eyes tell us. The Kings’ worst lineups (with more than 20 minutes played together) feature, unsurprisingly, Davion in for Fox and McGee in for Domas.

https://www.nba.com/stats/lineups/advanced?slug=advanced&TeamID=1610612758

FWIW, Fox is actually the Kings overall leader in +/- this season.

https://www.statmuse.com/nba/ask/sacramento-kings-plus-minus-leaders

Hobby916
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February 26, 2024 4:32 am

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Hobby916
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February 26, 2024 4:38 am

I was mostly listening to ESPN the 1st half as I was folding laundry at the same time. I would look every minute or so and be surprised that the Kings were up 7 or 9, etc. The telecast was so bad and boring. I didn’t think anybody could be worse than Kayte, but apparently Bob Myers was up for the challenge.

That being said, the team was solid all game. They avoided the usual stretches of bad turnovers and settling for bad 3s. Not many aggregious errors.

Ball was spread offensively fairly well, everyone seemed to be involved, or would make an effort play to get a rebound. Keep that going in to Tuesday and grab firm control of that 5th seed and never look back.

Go Kings!

Daydreamer
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February 26, 2024 6:41 am
Reply to  Hobby916

Monday

Hobby916
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February 26, 2024 6:45 am
Reply to  Daydreamer

Oh, I thought the next game was Tuesday.

Marty
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February 26, 2024 9:06 am
Reply to  Hobby916

New promotional campaign for the broadcast team; “Welcome to the broadcast, we’re not as bad as Bob Myers.”

9sac8
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February 26, 2024 5:15 am

Light the f*cking beam!!!

And keep it lit too. We owe Miami.

HongKongKingsFan
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February 26, 2024 6:51 am

This game is a signature WIN……..

Great team effort, great focus for whole 48 minutes….

Only ten turnovers……..

And of course….Fox is AWESOME !!!!!!

Their rotation is fine after doubling Kawai…

Jack
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February 26, 2024 7:22 am

Offense wins games,defense wins championships.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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February 26, 2024 7:47 am

I will say, the doubling of Kawhi was the wrinkle that had a huge impact on this game, but I’m now sure it would have worked as well had PG13 been on the floor. It was a gutsy call by Coach Brown recognizing the matchup advantage. He was forcing anyone else to beat the Kings. Powell did his part, but Harden couldn’t hit the side of a barn.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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February 26, 2024 7:27 am

The Kings will be a playoff lock if they can continue to play like that. Consistency and health will be the key over these last weeks.

HongKongKingsFan
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February 26, 2024 7:42 am
Reply to  Adamsite

I mean, they can beat any teams in every single days and nights if they put such efforts like this game …….

Really feels thrilled to see such an impressive performance….

Klam
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Nostradumbass 19
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February 26, 2024 8:52 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Gotta take advantage of when teams are missing key players too (like tonight’s game against Miami). I know that this year the Kings have been terrible at capitalizing when teams are missing players, but if they truly want to be in the playoffs and not the play-in, they need to play like how they did last night every night.

Amonk81
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February 26, 2024 11:34 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Interesting, that I posted pretty much the same and got 0 likes. ?

But, guess that’s the power of Adamsite

Also, if this continues and the Kings are in the playoffs it is gonna come down to Sabonis being about to score when the D leaves him open. Has he improved in that way? We will see.

Kfan
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February 26, 2024 1:59 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

If this continues and the Kings are in the playoffs it is gonna come down to Sabonis being able to score when the D leaves him open. Has he improved in that way? We will see.

Hippity_Hop_Barbershop
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February 26, 2024 8:14 am

This was such a good game. I was fired up during the fourth. Fox after that tech could not be stopped, clutch shots from everyone and Davion hitting some daggers. Domas continuing to be a damn legend and not getting love. Fox was so fired up after that jump ball and the LTB chants were so loud I didn’t think ESPN could ignore them but they did.

Last edited 4 months ago by Hippity_Hop_Barbershop
KingOfTheMonsters
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February 26, 2024 8:19 am

They weren’t shouting, “Light the Beam.”
They were shouting, “Let’s go Brandon.”

Hobby916
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February 26, 2024 9:28 am

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ajonez81
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February 26, 2024 8:19 am

Liked the defense I saw in this game, I felt the effort and energy there. Domas has been insanely good the last few months. When Huerter or Barnes contributes and Monk or Keeg has a big game we are tough to beat but inconstintency always seems to creep back in. Fun game, love this squad.

TerzoM
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February 26, 2024 8:19 am

Is there a video what celebration gesture Mason Jones made after the Saboner dunk?

aplumley
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February 26, 2024 8:28 am

The Kings played for 48 minutes. This is the result.

eddie41
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February 26, 2024 8:33 am

seemed like the refs were letting them play more this game (until partway through the 4th), allowing them to be more physical on defense. anyone else see that?

OLDBHOY
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February 26, 2024 8:37 am

That was my favorite game of the season. All around great effort by all. The defense has been looking much better, I hope they can sustain it.

I have been critical of Fox on here for lack of effort and intensity at times. He deserves all the kudos after that game. The combo of Harden and the refs lit a fire in him. Unlike some players he gets better playing angry. I hope he can sustain that as well.

I think Monk should be in Fox’s ear before every game, starting some s**t and riling him up.

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