This game started as expected and like a game with two new starters. Turnovers, miscues, new starting shooting guard Justin Holiday needing to just chill a bit. Minnesota took advantage of some of that chaos, drawing free throws galore early on, in route to opening up a 13 point lead 8 minutes into the first quarter. D’Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards each had 11 - 22 of the Wolves first 29 points. On the other side of things, Chimezie Metu proved early why a guy like new Kings center Domas Sabonis can be so damn valuable - Metu had 8 quick early points, with half coming from assists from his new front court partner. A Jeremy Lamb triple led to a Chris Finch technical foul and a Lamb made free throw to cut it the Wolves lead to 7 with a minute left and a Metu buzzer beater tip in kept the Wolves lead at six after 1: 37-31.
Fox came out aggressive in the second quarter and a Domas Dime to Harrison Barnes cut the Wolves lead to 2 with 9 minutes and the ensuing possession saw Barnes hit a three to take their first lead of the game. The Kings wound up going on a 14-3 run to take a four point lead with so great passing leading to open shots all over the place. 15 of the first 19 buckets for the Kings were assisted and … I mean, wow. That’s fun. The defense was still messy as hell, but… the offense was already flashing that potential. The Wolves took the lead back half way through the quarter, then the Kings wrested it back. It was sloppy and chippy (especially between KAT and the Ox) but it was legitimately fun to watch on the offensive end. The Kings wound up scoring 42 points in the second quarter, taking a 7 point lead into half.
Highlights of the First Half:
Fox: 15 points, 2/3 from 3
Barnes: 18 points, 4-5 fg, 3-3 3fg.
Sabonis: 10 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists. 5-10 fg.
Anthony Edwards: 20 points, 7-14 fg.
The third quarter started as the D’Angelo Russell show, with him scoring 8 points in the first four minutes and 13 before the half way point, dragging his team back into this game. With this being his first start at center for the Kings, Sabonis got his very Sacramento welcome - getting an elbow in the damn face, causing a small laceration under his eye and forcing him to sit for a stretch. Minnesota took the lead back on their 14th three of the evening with 6:18 left in the third. The next few minutes was back and forth basketball with Minny never getting ahead by more than 5 and Sacramento never getting closer than 2. Minny took a 102-97 lead on another Russell three (his 7th in 11 tries) that was quickly followed by a Fox lay up. After three quarters - 102 to 99.
Sabonis returned to start the 4th quarter and immediately went to work: hitting free throws and a nifty layup on back to back possessions. Davion Mitchell followed that up with a three to retake the lead at 106-105 and from there on out it was lead changes and ties, score and answer. At the half way mark of the 4th the score remained knotted up at 110 a piece. A Barnes layup, followed by a terrible missed call on a Fox fast break lead to a KAT layup and technical free throw and wouldn’t you know it but, Minny had the lead. With less than 4 minutes to play, the Golden 1 Center errupted after a Fox outlet lead to an emphatic Davion Mitchell slam to take back the lead followed up immediately by a Fox fast break layup to put the Kings up four points. A Sabonis tip-in off of a missed Fox floater pushed the run to 7-0 and a Barnes three on the subsequent possession pushed the lead to 9 and the run to 10-0 with 1:55 left to play. From there on out it was playing keep away and the Kings got it done!
The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
- Chimezie Metu’s 1st Quarter Heroics: The kid was everywhere in the first quarter and keeping the Kings afloat while they found their footing with 12 points on 6/7 shooting! He ended up with 13 in 25 minutes, but the Kings don't win tonight if he doesn't take his opportunities and run with them.
- The New Guys Are Here: Jeremy Lamb hit his first two threes before airballing his third and ended up with 14 points in 30 minutes. Justin Holiday shot just 2-11 from the field and had 5 turnovers, but someone had to be the one to struggle in their first game. Here we go, everyone!
- Harrison Barnes Rejuvenated: This trade is going to really open up some opportunity for Barnes to score (if he isn’t traded in the next 16 hours). The man scored 30 points and grabbed 8 boards, shooting 8-11 from the field and 4-5 from deep. Yo
- Bench Benched: Last night the Timberwolves bench score SEVENTY TWO points, outscoring Sacramento's by FORTY. Tonight? Sacramento's bench scored an identical 32 points but held the Wolves bench to just 22. That's a massive turnaround and a big reason the Kings were able to come out with a victory.
- So Pass-é: If this game is any indication of what life is like with this new group, we're going to see a TON off assists generated for the rest of this season. Seven players had at least 3 assists for the Kings and Davion Mitchell led the way with 7 and the Kings ended up with 32 assists on 48 made field goals.
- Two Quick Fouls For Fox: Fox wound up scoreless in the first and played only four minutes because of some quick fouls. Again, every single thing I write tonight is with grains of salt sprinkled on top, but the Kings are going to have to turn around some victories quick if Monte McNair’s 10th seed dream is to be realized. The Kings aren’t deep enough or talented enough yet to withstand long stretches of Fox not being his best. He wound up with 27 points, 8 rebounds and shooting 10-20 from the field so all is well that ends well!
- Richaun Gone?: Richaun Holmes played just 2:20 in the first half and 11:36 overall. Not sure if that was matchups or trying to get the new guys acclimated but… yeah he might be out of a Kings uniform this time tomorrow.
- 3-point Barrage: The Timberwolves can shoot the hell out of the ball. D’Angelo Russell decided tonight was his night, starting the game 5-6 by the first few minutes in the 3rd. The team shot 46 over the course of the night and hit 16 so it didn't kill the Kings tonight. I'm curious to see how this defense unfolds in the coming days.
The King of Kings
I mean, why not give it to the new 1a addition to the Kings, Domas Sabonis. The man ended up with 22 points, 14 points and 5 assists and one really good shiner after an elbow to his face. The man's passing completely changes this team's offensive identity and everyone fed off of his energy, throwing that ball all over the place in some truly unselfish basketball. Game 1 was impressive. Let's see how it goes from here!
Operation: M.C.N.A.I.R. Watch
I mentioned this in the preview today but there's a newly five month old Sacramento-area resident named Cooper Crowe who has been diagnosed with ASXL3, and who I'm asking we donate on behalf of here!
The Kings won tonight, but I'm still donating tonight - the loss of Haliburton but not any loss by the Kings. If you do decide to donate tonight, please write-in that your donation is in honor of Cooper Crowe or The Crowe Family, and if you'd like to mention Operation:M.C.N.A.I.R. or Haliburton they have a separate notes section for that inclusion.
Again, if you've been holding off on giving a donation to the many good places we've been able to help - maybe this is the one tonight that you throw a little money their way. If not, we'll still be holding them for the next Kings loss, as well.
So far, so good.
I know I should be like
But I’m like
But I’m really like
Holy Sabonis. I know you and others said it but Christ is he good.
Literally gives the Kings an actual offense. So good that 1 more player better than Fox and they might have something.
Still hate no Hali but Sabonis has some of those fun to watch qualities. He runs the O.
7 guys with 3+ assists was pretty amazeballs. And when was the last time we were +17 on the boards?
He has a big impact on the team. I enjoy how he plays
I imagine Gallo would approve this comment
Here’s the crazy part about Domas and Swipa in particular for me Rob: They could have easily had 3 or 4 more assists apiece than they did.
Davion led the team in assists with 7 and the Kings had 32 assists total. This was an absurd game. I’m going to temper my enthusiasm until more moves are made, but man tonight was so much fun.
I’m with you. Tempered expectations, but I can’t remember the last time this team gave me “win this!” butterflies. That was fun.
Fascinating to see the dynamic change with a skilled big. Not just skilled, Sabonis is a brute as well, but his being so engaged on every aspect of the game really brings out the best in his teammates, and we have to be real, we have not seen the best of Fox nor Barnes this season. I don’t think we have seen the best in Sabonis so far in his career either, in my eyes, he needs to be a five, and him getting out of Indiana might allow him to find another gear.
You make a good point about both Domas and Swipa potentially (feeling like calling De’Aaron Swipa especially after he stole, umm, Ant’s cornbread) raising each other’s ceiling.
When Domas got fouled by KAT but it got overturned, I loved the response by Fox. There was purpose. And my favorite sequence was between Davion and Domas where they passed to each other like it was a drill and Davion drives after the last pass and HB hits a 3. That was something I haven’t seen since the Webber-Stojakovic-Divac-Miller years.
I cannot believe I just typed that. Also, DAVION FOR TREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!
Swipa’s stripping Ant was my favorite play of the game. That was the Fox I have been missing all season. That Fox is the near all-star that I think he can be.
And DAVION! Wow.
Yeah, that was gorgeous. I yelled “YOINK” at the television. Amazing energy from these guys tonight.
Yeah, he has to play the 5. Was hoping he and Holmes would pair up, but he needs to be the primary center and Holmes the back up. Or even Jones. Len can go out as filler on the next trade. Metu might do well with Domas feeding him easy looks.
Seeing a skilled big running the offense and throwing sharp passes to get his teammates good looks took me all the way back to DMC. I know a lot of people around here hate Cousins, but he could run a gorgeous kind of offense.
Sabonis? The guy makes plays. I can’t remember who said it after the game, Mo or Kayte, I think, but this wasn’t DS having a good game. This is what he does game in and game out.
And no shortage of assists the past two games! I wish Ty had been able to stay, in no small part because my kid looks a lot like him, but I’m also relieved that the chorus’ prediction of utter offensive stagnation was way off, per usual.
Be interesting to see what happens in the next thirteen hours. Even if it’s nothing, watching the Sacramento Kings has become a hell of a lot more fun.
Kyle said it and Mo agreed.
This is why eyewitness testimony is completely unreliable and worthless.
And thank you for the correction, I’ve been known to get things wrong from time to time. And, ooooh, look at the time.
Back on new year’s eve, Mo said this team needed a change in the new year and Kyle vehemently disagreed, so don’t give the guy too much credit.
“1 more player better than Fox” … Harrison?
TKH with the SACBONER tonight
This team has more problems than any one move will be able to fix, but given all the craziness over the last 24 hours, this was the sweetest W in a long time.
It’s been a while since the crowd has been that loud. Was so nice to hear.
And it looked 40-50% empty in the lower bowl to me. Imagine it full.
Kings go out on the road a lot over the 10 games or so. @DCBullets @Brooklyn @ Chicago to go into the ASB.
Against Denver to open post ASB. @Denver, @OKC, @New Orleans, @San Antonio, @Dallas. Home vs the Knicks, Denver again.
It’s not impossible to see the Kings go 8-3 with the way they played tonight. I wouldn’t bet anything substantial on it, I know better. But it’s not like any of those teams are heavyweight champs and Chicago is easily the toughest game of that 11 game stretch.
That explosion after the Mitchell dunk was like a symphony being blown up.
Worst simile ever.
First time in a while where I wasn’t feeling upset after a win.
Short post. Huge truth.
Same. I found myself clapping at the tv with excitement after good plays. That hasn’t happened in well over a year.
Best ball movement of the year ! Great to have a big you can run the offense thru ! Cuts down on wasted dribbling !
So this is what an actual all-star looks like. He’s legit
yeah, not that tyrese guy!!
Go all-in…HE WAS SOFFFFFFFFFFT!!!
I think Tyrese will get there too. But this is a player already an all star.
This is a key point that seems to have been lost in the shuffle in the trade reactions I’ve read. Based on the reads, you’d think it is inevitable that Tyrese will become a perennial all star at some point in the future. That might happen, but the key word there is might. He also might just end up as a really solid rotation player- 2nd/3rd banana type guy. We’ll see, but to me his greatness isn’t a foregone conclusion.
Meanwhile, Sabonis is already a multi time all star. He’s already there, so there’s no might involved. We certainly saw that tonight, so keep truckin’ big man!
A man can grow only so fat when he’s fed nothing other than potential.
I can see him getting more All-star nods in the West as well. Lebron is old, Anthony Davis is always hurt. Jokic and Gobert will be around a while, but Sabonis is more skilled offensively than Gobert, IMO. KAT, Kawhi are perennial all stars, but there’s room for Sabonis to be on that list.
If he’s going to do 20/12 with a decent number of assists (as he does), the snubs won’t bother me at all. It’s nice to be recognized, I guess, but the players know who is the business, and who ain’t.
One trade makes this team look SO much different. Gosh the passing and the moving was just wonderful. The guys were having fun and the crowd was into it, what a different feel than the crap we have seen the first half of the season. I also enjoyed not watching Buddy Brickets chucking 3’s all night and bouncing balls off of his legs 🦵
No excuses and there is more than enough truth in your words, but Buddy’s talents are real and the trade will be positive for both parties.
I think buddy has talent but I agree that a change of scenery should benefit both parties.
The new look Fox.
feels like a new team. new identity.
sweet gentle Jesus it was amazing to watch an actual talented team player who also takes no shit from anyone.
That’s what an actual all star looks like… we won the trade
It was the first time in a long time that I’ve seen both a rebounding and defensive effort from this team. Maybe we switch Operation M.C.N.A.I.R. for all of the future wins…
I absolutely forsee a future where we can switch to wins! It ain’t this year but man is that the goal!
breaking news: Kings trade all their losses for wins.
Also even though their shooting wasn’t great tonight lamb and Jackson just seemed to be able to help regardless of position. Making that extra pass or missing and just crashing the boards hard and never stopped. I had forgotten what it looked like to see someone miss and not just sulk.
Reluctantly dancing because I’ve been hurt before.
I don’t like that Fox could just ‘turn it on’ like that. He’s too young to be having Westbrook primadona vibes. Hope it’s all just a big misunderstanding but my Kangz sense is tingling.
I think you must have been watching a different game.
No, not this game (nor last night)…referencing the feeling that his ankle injury may have been pouting about being on the trade block.
We will 99.9% never know the answer to that question. Maybe management held him out coupled with a light injury knowing that they could flip him? Trade deadlines for these guys suck. Even if it is just a business decision. Whatever it was he looked like he was legit over it. He was playing with some 🔥 tonight.
I’d also ask for examples of De’Aaron Fox pouting, or quitting on his team, but then there would be three things, and I couldn’t live with it.
I have zero evidence, just conjecture. 2022 has been a dark place for me as a fan, and i’ve rooted for this team since Mitch got here.
Keep rooting… whats 5 weeks.
That’s the most relatable thing anyone has ever said, after “You look like a fun crowd,”
Andy I think your probably trying to hard on this one. I think the unsaid part is that if Hong Kong Kings Fan put together one of his awesome multi part super posts and the subject was Fox absolutely balling out on defense…it would be a comically short post. And a lot of that has been effort.
proceed to Andy Sims away.
You should deal with your feelings.. and we can help with that.
But all we know is numbness. And PTSD. It’s why so many after a game like tonight say yeaaaahhhhhhh but…..
I thought that too but after the trade I thought what if it was all part of the plan to showcase Hali? McGenius
Desperate Lakers lose to Portland’s G-Leaguers, and nobody will trade with them. I hope they’re shitty for ten years. I don’t know what I’m happier about tonight.
This, all day, all year, all decade.
Imagine Sac nudging the LeBrons out of 10th place on the last day of the season…
And also this.
I didn’t even consider that…. Hmm.
Better yet, Kings get into the play-in and knock off the Lakers.
And we’ll never hear the words “damn, I wish we’d traded for Buddy instead!” again in our lifetimes! Lol. Sorry Vogel. Lee Majors isn’t going to be the fall guy for accommodating Lebron by getting “his guy”. You are!
But…but…Buddy was Vivek’s favorite. NBA 3.0!
Well, I’m sold
Sabo is one bad Mother Trucker. How long has it been since the Kings have had a player that makes others around him look this exponentially better? I’m not talking about squinting and having to justify some obscure stat to make us feel better. I’m talking a legit pops off of the screen player that immediately makes this team better through his play. I haven’t felt this way since the “right now” impact that Artest made. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s the new car smell. I do hope it’s more.
We should trade with the Pacers every day, that’s what I’m taking from this.
We might as well call the Pacers back and see if we could fire sale The broadcast crew too. Think we could get a couple picks for them? Or some hot wings and wet naps? Either will do.
I do think now that Indy has committed to a substantial overhaul, that Ty is going to be a great fit. He’s the kind of player who could succeed to varying degrees on almost any team, but the Pacers will (somewhat) be building a team around the player they gave an all-star away to get.
He may be in for a rough couple of years, but he’d almost certainly have suffered the same problem in Sacramento. There will be a twinge when I see his highlights while he’s wearing a highlighter-colored jersey, but I truly want to see him become great, if he’s able.
True. They saw a gem in him and pulled the trigger. I do believe that the trade will prove great for both teams. Our Player development is the nail in the head with the debacle that is KingsLand. That’s why it was so necessary to land an All Star who’s already developed AND has a team centric personality and plays well in the sandbox with others. That’s a huge bonus. Unfortunately it cost us Hali, but you give and get. I think anyone would agree though, that Had Hali been traded for Westbrook, Golden One might have been burned down overnight. I believe he will grow and be a truly great player. Time will tell.
Maybe then I won’t have to hear mark jones talking about how great of a stroke some guys have on the team?
This is how Vivek flirts.
A few things:
There is a narrow needle to thread for Monte, but you don’t have to squint too hard to see it. Tomorrow is gonna be fascinating, for the Kings, and for the NBA in general. If you are on Twitter, search James Worthy. He roasted the Lakers tonight. What a debacle for that franchise.
That’s not a few things Mike! That’s like 9 things, but like 9 smart things too you magnificent bastard!
DAMMIT GURU I HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING SABONIS SINCE HE WAS A ROOKIE LET ME BE EXCITED.
His Dad was a favorite of mine, and I have been watching a lot of Indiana basketball over the years following him. Newsflash, they were boring, and just a more successful version of the Kings mediocrity. I know Haliburton was a heavy price to pay, but Sabonis can be a bigger star than he is already.
Let you be excited? You’re a grown ass man Mike. Since when do you ask my permission for anything? LOL
Domas can play, and I agree that he still has another gear or two he could find now that he’s not in Indy. The biggest thing is hitting the 3 particularly from the corners. I haven’t seen him play much, but that one 3 that was woefully short didn’t seem like anything other than he’s just not that great of a shooter from that spot on the floor.
I feel like a Domas…when I heard the broadcasters refer to him by that name I assumed they actually didn’t even know his name. Seeing guru post it make realize I was wrong…it also make realize that I have more respect for guru than the broadcasters.
His dad is one of those interesting “what if” stories as in what if he’d come to Portland in the mid 80s instead of the mid 90s when he was in his 20s vs 30s. I’ve read in multiple places that in his prime, he was one of the best players in the world, including NBA players. If memory serves, he’d had some injuries by the time he got to Portland (you can probably confirm this) and while still a very good player, he wasn’t the same guy in Portland as he was in Europe.
It would have been amazing to see him in his prime. I thought he was one of the smartest players I have ever seen. You would watch a game and think he dominated, and the check the box score and see he played 26 minutes and had 14 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists. He always seemed to make exactly the right play at exactly the right time. His son seems to have that same sky high basketball IQ.
This is how I feel about Jokic now. It was his bubble playoff series against the Clips where he just dismantled them that drove this home. I was just floored at how good the guy was. Like you said about Sabonis, Jokic just seemed to make the right play every time. I was impressed!
Jokic might end up being a top ten player of all time, perhaps top five. He does something jaw dropping every game. Giannis as well. This is the most top end talent I have seen in the NBA since the mid 80’s.
His passing was amazing. He seemed to get a visceral thrill at making a great pass for an assist. He’d have this evil smile on his face. Loved watching him also.
Absolutely! By the time his dad arrived in Portland he was over 30 and already had multiple major injuries and surgeries. The Portland team doctor said when he arrived “that Arvydas could qualify for a handicapped parking spot, based on the X-ray alone.”
I saw footage of him when we was younger and lighter. As a comparison, think of Jokic or his son for style of play while being 7′-3″ and could run and was more athletic than either of them.
This is him in the Olympics against David Robinson. That USA team also had Mitch Richmond. He beat them and won gold. He was already somewhat injured at this time. This loss by the USA team is what led to the creation of the Dream Team concept.
Whoa! That makes me wonder what would’ve happened if he’d played w/Drexler.
I’m hoping the kings could snag Winslow from the Blazers. Him and Len have the same contract. Portland has been kinda confusing direction wise the past couple days so maybe Len and a second or two would get it done. Mitchell and Winslow would be so fun to watch on the defensive side. And he can play SF!
Good call. I am still holding some Winslow stock. Would be a very interesting player to take a chance on. I like Len, but I like DJ more and would just as soon sign him next year as a back up big. Winslow can be a sneaky good move.
I will take Metu shooting 3’s at about the same clip as Fox because both need to shoot enough to force a hard close out to maximize their athletic skill set. I am probably going to be the only one here that will say he will be a league average deep shooter in 2 years. Raw and growing > Raw and stagnant.
Well hello there fun, it’s been a long time since we got to hang out. Maybe we could do this more! Great style of play tonight. Screw the pick, we’re going for the 10th seed!
Might be time to bring back the Princeton Offense
So another guy and I each had two season tix next to each other the last few seasons. We were not happy about the way the team was going and decided to each get one ticket and swap games for this season. He’s been a STH for 20 years, me for 9. Lately we’ve been talking about just chucking it and not renewing. I know it’s only one game but, damn, tonight’s game made both of us rethink it. There’s a meet and greet with McNair I’m going to Friday. Looking forward to seeing what his thinking is going forward.
And that was such a bullshit non-call on the KAT foul on Fox.
On Sabonis, too. I had no idea that you could foul the shit out of a guy, but if you get your other hand on the ball, it’s perfectly legal.