The Kings continued their holiday home stand tonight by hosting those annoying downstairs neighbors who call themselves the Los Angeles Lakers. After a disappointing loss to the Charlotte Hornets in front of a sold out crowd on Monday night, the Kings looked to redeem their hometown hero status in front of another jam packed arena, and the stage was set nicely for them to do so. The Lakers came in clinging onto the 37-year-old shoulders of LeBron James, as Russell Westbrook and Austin Reaves sat out tonight. And the earth is still round, so Anthony Davis has been out with a foot injury. All signs pointed to a Kings' victory, and no matter the day, no matter the time, and no matter the injuries, it is always a beautiful day if the Kings beat the Lakers. Let's see how they did:
Outcome: Kings win, 134-120
Sacramento Kings: 134 pts, 50.5% fg, 36.2% 3 pt, 75.0% ft, 29 ast, 46 reb, 12 to
Los Angeles Lakers: 120 pts, 50.0% fg, 45.8% 3 pt, 83.3% ft, 25 ast, 39 reb, 15 to
It's a BEAUTIFUL day, folks! Bookended by a slow start and a chaotic finish, this game was ultimately controlled by the Kings and their explosive offense. There were a ton of exciting moments that came from every part of the roster, from De'Aaron Fox to Neemias Queta. We are officially 30 games in, y'all, and the Kings are 17-13! LIGHT THAT BEAM!
The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
- Everybody Eats: Four of the Kings' starters scored 20 or more points tonight, with Domantas Sabonis coming in next with 13 points. Don't be fooled by Sabonis' point total - this dude still went bonkers, finishing with his second triple double of the season - 13 points, 21 rebounds, 12 assists, and two hits to the face. Kevin Huerter led the team with 26 points on 3-7 from the 3-point line and nine total made field goals. The best part of Huerter's performance was seeing him find his points elsewhere as he rolled up his sleeves and did some dirty work inside the paint. Harrison Barnes turned Black Falcon tonight with 20 points and eight rebounds. And before getting ejected (more on that later), De'Aaron Fox made himself a comfortable home in the midrange, hitting seven made field goals and going 8-9 from the free throw line for 22 points. Last but not least, probably the most fun performance was from Neemias Queta. In just 11 minutes, Queta finished with 10 points and a perfect 5-5 from the field, all of which were dunks. Selfless setups from Malik Monk gave Queta the spotlight to shine and it was the icing on the cake for this Kings offense tonight.
- Bench Defense: While the Kings' bench scoring was quieter tonight, the defense was LOUD. During the Lakers most productive runs, they were able to carve up the Kings' defense with penetration and quick passing, often finding an open man underneath the basket for easy dunks. But once Davion Mitchell, Malik Monk, and Terence Davis stepped on the court, this all changed. With more ball pressure and primary containment, the Lakers weren't able to misshape the Kings' defense and were thus forced into tougher looks. Davis also had two huge blocks, one in transition on Kendrick Nunn, and another from weak side help on LeBron James. The defensive spark the Kings' bench provided was invaluable.
- Responding to the Madness: The Kings held a comfortable 16-point lead in the final three minutes of the game and "Light the Beam" chants were raining down in Golden 1 Center. Then all hell broke loose. After getting clobbered by two Lakers on a drive, De'Aaron Fox lost the ball and Kevin Huerter was forced to take a clear path foul on Dennis Schroder. Fox, vocally frustrated, then received two technical fouls, equating to an ejection. Paired with Huerter's clear path foul, this meant four free throws and possession for the Lakers, which ultimately cut their lead down to 13. It felt like a bad omen, like we were about to be punished for those early beam chants. But, luckily, the Kings responded. Instead of folding under the pressure of a bad situation, the Kings responded by getting two defensive stops and draining two 3-pointers in a row, officially icing the game.
- Doing it for the Fam: Both Domantas Sabonis and Keegan Murray got to play in front of their families tonight, and both sure did show up for the opportunity. Sabonis got his triple double, while Murray was the team's second leading scorer with 23 points. Seeing them show out for their families was just another reason to love tonight's victory. Happy holidays, indeed.
- Nervous Start: We'll keep these short since who the heck cares about bad and ugly things when the Kings beat the Lakers?! It seemed like the Kings had some nervous energy to get out in the beginning of the game, as they let the Lakers hang around for about 26 minutes before finally turning on the jets.
- Leaving the Helper Hangin': The defense still needs work, but we already knew that. LeBron James led the Lakers with 31 points and Thomas Bryant logged a double double with 17 points and 10 boards. But, again, WHO CARES because we BEAT LA!
The King of Kings
I wish I could Lindsay Lohan in Mean Girls this one and give the Kings of Kings crown to everyone. I mean, I guess I could, this is my recap and Greg is probably drunk right now (Editor's Note: Correct), so he wouldn't catch it in his review... but I'll keep it classic and stick to one guy. I feel great about giving this one to Keegan Murray for playing with a confidence that led him to shoot 6-12 from the 3-point line. He never hesitated in his looks and always seemed to make a shot just at the right time to make Golden 1 Center explode. We even got to see some fun emotion out of Keegan when he took a charge in the 4th quarter and he graced us with a subtle fist bump while he was still on the floor. Don't forget to say your six Hail Murray prayers tonight for his six made 3-pointers:
Hail Murray, full of treys, Kings fans are with you; blessed are you among sixth men, and blessed is the fruit of your hustle, buckets, now and at the end of regulation.
— Greg (@gwiss) December 22, 2022
Keegan also earned tonight's DPOG Chain:
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) December 22, 2022
Which he may have broken?
Coach Brown on Keegan Murray *possibly* having broke the DPOG chain and some additional comments about the rookie’s swag or lack thereof. 🤣 pic.twitter.com/KCTsz4FYQi
— Brenden Nunes (@BrendenNunesNBA) December 22, 2022
We love Keegan.
Friday, December 23rd vs. Washington Wizards - 7:00 P.M. (PT)