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Kings 135, Nuggets 106: Kings undefeated in the Robin Lopez era

The Kings stay weird, y'all.
By | 50 Comments | Feb 9, 2024

Feb 9, 2024; Sacramento, California, USA; Sacramento Kings center Domantas Sabonis (10) smiles with guard De'Aaron Fox (5) after a play against the Denver Nuggets during the second quarter at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

After getting torn apart by the red hot Cleveland Cavaliers and dropping an awful loss to the shorthanded Detroit Piston, this year’s Sacramento Kings did exactly what everyone suspected they might do in this roller coaster of a season and managed to torch the defending champions after looking like a lost team over the last couple of games. Even with the Nuggets missing two key contributors in Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Michael Porter Jr., Denver still dressed their two best players in Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, but the pair was outplayed by Sacramento’s non All-Star All-Stars, De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis. Fox was particularly spectacular on both ends of the floor, finishing the evening with 15 points, 10 assists, and 5 steals, while Sabonis recorded another triple-double, ironically passing Jokic for the league lead, with 17 points, 17 rebounds, and 10 assists. For the Nuggets, Jokic finished with 23 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists, and Aaron Gordon recorded 14 points and 3 boards.

The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

The Good:

Malik Monk: Sometimes Malik Monk giveth and sometimes Malik Monk taketh away, but tonight was a giveth-type night for Sacramento’s Sixth Man of the Year candidate. Monk scored 10 quick points in the first quarter, including a buzzer-beating three-pointer, and his swagger and attitude helped the Kings to maintain and build their lead in the final two quarters. Monk led the Kings in scoring with 23 points, and he needed just 13 field goals to get there. He was truly a difference maker all night long.

The Rest of the Bench: For the last several games, Mike Brown has played JaVale McGee over Alex Len with less than impressive results, but when McGee was benched for Len to start the second quarter, the game took a turn in favor of Sacramento. Len, always the ready professional, came into the game ready to play his role and do nothing more. He was a known presence defensively, scored 11 points on 5 field goal attempts, and most importantly, didn’t majorly screw anything up. Meanwhile, Trey Lyles continued his hot shooting from deep, finishing with 15 points and 7 boards while knocking down 3 of his 4 three-pointers. The bench has often been a point of disappointment throughout the season, but tonight the backups were a key component of an encouraging Kings win.

Defense? Defense!: After allowing the Nuggets to score 35 points in the first quarter, the Kings held Denver to under 30 points in each of the remaining periods, including just 22 points in the second quarter and 20 points in the fourth. Domantas Sabonis was incredibly physical with Nikola Jokic, Keegan Murrary was a pest on the weakside, and De’Aaron Fox pressured Denver’s guards all evening long. Tonight was one of Sacramento’s most complete defensive performances of the season.

The Bad:

Nothing: Blow out the defending champions at home with everyone playing at least moderately well and the bad section can be skipped for a night. Light the Beam!

The Ugly:

24 hours worth of Twitter Reactions: The timeline was awfully dark after the Kings passed on any significant moves at the deadline, and it will return there if the Kings blow another game against a bad opponent or two, but for now, the Kings are looking pretty okay. Let’s live in the moment, shall we?

The King of Kings

Alex Len: Yes, Domantas Sabonis recorded yet another triple-double, and yes, Malik Monk led the Kings in scoring, and yes, De’Aaron Fox was a two-way force all evening, but tonight’s King of Kings award goes to Alex Len for always staying ready and always playing within his role. The game truly started to swing Sacramento’s way when Len entered the game and contributed on both ends of the floor, and hopefully Friday night’s performance was proof enough for Mike Brown that Len should be playing over McGee.

Up Next

Sunday, February 11th @ Oklahoma City – 12:00 P.M. (PT)

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TerzoM
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February 9, 2024 9:36 pm

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Hobby916
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February 10, 2024 5:47 am
Reply to  TerzoM

Monk said Keegan always be “doing basic sh!t”…doesn’t Monk do basically the same dunk every time he has a runway? Bring back the right arm and slam it home…like every time…

9sac8
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February 11, 2024 9:13 am
Reply to  Hobby916

No.

RikSmits
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February 9, 2024 9:41 pm

Great win!

Lopez got waived, no? A pity, one of my favorite people in the NBA.

After the trade he was sitting at the Milwaukee game, reading a book. Love that.

Dan Houlder
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February 10, 2024 3:17 am
Reply to  RikSmits

You would love that!

*Confused and angry for no reason*

RikSmits
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February 10, 2024 7:03 am
Reply to  Dan Houlder

Now I am confused.

UpgradedToQuestionable
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February 10, 2024 7:19 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Please don’t boo(k)

Last edited 5 months ago by UpgradedToQuestionable
TheGrantNapear
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February 10, 2024 10:08 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Crandelled?

Brown.says.Good.or.Bad
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February 9, 2024 9:42 pm

This team makes little sense, as a fan. Lose to the Pistons then blow out the Nuggets. It’s hard to feel satisfied.

Also Sabonis is beyond good. ANYONE WHO SAYS OTHERWISE CAN KISS MY ASS

Last edited 5 months ago by Marcus Brown
Bluejohn
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February 10, 2024 12:20 am

That would not be me. I ain’t coming close to your ass bro but totally agree with what you said. Domas is currently the King’s # 1 player, night after night he shows out. I have no problem with Tim’s anointing Len as King of Kings.

I don’t understand Coach Brown’s reluctance to play him more. He has a much better understanding of what an old style big is supposed to do than JaVale does. I would rather see the Kings give Robin Lopez some minutes to see what he is still able to contribute rather see JaVale play any minutes as we head to the end of the season.

TheGrantNapear
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February 10, 2024 10:09 am

Leads the league in triple doubles but not an all star. Those who vote in players should be ashamed of themselves.

andy_sims
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February 9, 2024 9:48 pm

This is rather surprising, in that I was told that the Kings’ season ended yesterday at noon local time because they aren’t competitive.

Jman1949
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February 9, 2024 10:10 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

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Dan Houlder
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February 9, 2024 10:22 pm

Lose to the worst, then beat the best.

Just another week rooting for the Kings.

Jack
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February 10, 2024 7:30 am
Reply to  Dan Houlder

Win with what you have. Lose with what you have. I thought last night’s win shows everyone what the Kings can do. Monty couldn’t or didn’t do anything but stay pat. If this team can do what they did last night then win with what we have. I know it was just 1 win but it shows me something. If most of the players did what they can do then Fox doesn’t have to try and score 30 every night. A double double with 5 steals was impressing and I’ll take that. Monk when he doesn’t throw the ball away 67 times and plays like last night IMO is the sixth man in the league. Better keep him. I liked the way Brown coached Murray last night. Big difference in the second half. Lyles is the seventh man in the league. Happy to see Sasha play more then 3 minutes. Len still knows how to play old team basketball. Lastly hats off to Monty giving Keon Ellis a big chance to show what he’s got and help this team. GO KINGS!

TheGrantNapear
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February 10, 2024 10:10 am
Reply to  Jack

Exactly. We beat the best team in the league. The doomsdayers who said we won’t make the playoffs post trade deadline are nowhere to be found.

Hobby916
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February 10, 2024 10:38 am
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

Well, they beat the Nuggets who were missing 2 starters and played the night before.

I will take the win as you play the team on the court that might, and it also can’t be the barometer that they are somehow improved after the deadline.

I was only advocating for minor moves to help the bench as think the roster is mostly okay, and Monte didn’t really have many avenues to bring in any major upgrade.

Mike120
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February 10, 2024 1:01 pm
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

Celtics are best, by a long shot.

rockbottom
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February 9, 2024 10:23 pm

Domas may not be an All Star but could end as top 5 for MVP . Never takes a play off much less a game .

Dan Houlder
Dan Houlder
February 10, 2024 3:20 am
Reply to  rockbottom

By any measure except the combined vote, Domas is an All Star.

Aside from Embiid and Jokic, nobody is a better center than Domas, and Domas just mopped the floor with Jokic, so.

SlamsonsRollerskates
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February 9, 2024 10:27 pm

Big 4…engaged

Amonk81
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February 9, 2024 11:28 pm

And there it is-engaged. The Kings issue is one of focus. Particularly when stakes are lower. In the playoffs you can get a focused Monk, Fox, Keegan (more focused fir him)…..those guys play well when stakes are high…when it’s easy to docus every play.

Hobby916
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February 10, 2024 5:43 am

I like that the shot distribution was spread fairly evenly. That tells me the ball was moving well and nobody was trying to be a hero.

They created open shots by moving off ball, and took advantage of a tired and shorthanded Nuggets team.

Kfan
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February 10, 2024 10:03 am
Reply to  Hobby916

Helps the O and allows Fox to focus on D too.

UpgradedToQuestionable
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February 9, 2024 11:59 pm

Kings McWin! Let’s McDance!
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How spoiled are we Kings fans to have the Ox playing tough every damn game!?

Welcome back to the Beam!

UpgradedToQuestionable
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February 10, 2024 12:18 am

Anyone else notice that the NBA TV recap has the Kings winning the score (135-106) but losing in their record (29-22)?

yeah – I know. I’m just Sac paranoid and put upon.

(but the disrespect is real)

Last edited 5 months ago by UpgradedToQuestionable
Bluejohn
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February 10, 2024 12:26 am

Or it could just be an intern who smoked a big spliff and then washed it down with a 9% IPA………Paranoia……the disease that affects us all

UpgradedToQuestionable
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February 10, 2024 7:27 am
Reply to  Bluejohn

You are likely right – but the All-Star snubs, the bad ref calls, ranked most difficult schedule, etc.

It is more than a coincidence.

RikSmits
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February 10, 2024 7:43 am

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Jman1949
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February 10, 2024 6:26 am

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BuffaloDiaspora
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February 10, 2024 3:15 am

So I guess everyone is done overreacting to the lack of deadline moves now?

Anyways, funny story: The very first Kings game I attended in the lower bowl involved Robin Lopez absolutely losing his shit on the court and throwing a chair down the tunnel right beneath us, scarring my wife for eternity. She was very happy to see him waived

Hobby916
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February 10, 2024 5:45 am

They beat a team missing 2 starters, and on a back to back. Hopefully they trend upward from now on. I suspect they will have good and bad stretches until the end of the season, with the same warts from the first 50ish games.

CastlePeak
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February 10, 2024 5:53 am

Early in the game he beat up Slamson during a timeout later followed by that ugly ejection.

Kfan
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February 10, 2024 10:06 am

What if they won Because everyone freaked out? We’re all just doing our part to help this team win

TheGrantNapear
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February 10, 2024 10:11 am

Somebody check on Adamsite.

Hobby916
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February 10, 2024 5:34 am

Kings took care of business
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Jman1949
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February 10, 2024 6:31 am
Reply to  Hobby916

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Ralph_Furleys_Tailor
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February 10, 2024 6:21 am

Jekyll and Hyde Team

Dance threads make me want to scream

Panacea Beam

Jman1949
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February 10, 2024 6:34 am

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Hobby916
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February 10, 2024 6:42 am

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aplumley
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February 10, 2024 7:03 am

Clearly the Kings are the best team in the NBA and McNair was genius for not even tinkering with it. Hopefully the Kings finish the year like last year and play well after the trade deadline after standing pat and watching the rest of the league scramble to get better…only to stay the same or get worse.

Jack
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February 10, 2024 7:35 am
Reply to  aplumley

It is what it is.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
February 10, 2024 7:47 am

We’ve had the Cardiac Kings before, but this rendition is definitely the Schizophrenic Kings.

I know the Nuggets were without two starters and all…but so where the Pistons.

There was clearly a change is gameplay. To start the game the 3s weren’t flying like they were against the Pistons. The Kings made a concerted effort to attack the paint AND attack Jokic. It worked. Maybe that was what Brown had talked about in practice.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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February 10, 2024 8:56 am

With the deadline done, at some point there needs to be a discussion of Monk’s future once free agency hits. I have my doubts that he will for the Early Bird price which begins around $17.5M per year, especially when the likes of Clarkson, Herro, Bruce Brown etc all recently signed for $20M+. Hopefully Monte and Monk’s camp already have a handshake agreement, which may have influenced the recent deadline to stand pat.

outrider
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February 10, 2024 9:59 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Monk has a bit of Jason Williams’ game in that our reaction can go from happy face “hurray!” to shoulders and palms up “why?” over the course of two plays!

As a whole, for me he’s had nore hurray! than why? plays, so it’s worked so far!

Last edited 5 months ago by outrider
TheGrantNapear
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February 10, 2024 10:12 am
Reply to  Adamsite

MM deserves to be resigned for more than HB, that’s for sure.

Jack
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February 10, 2024 10:41 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Maybe Fox might have something for Monk staying a King.

Hobby916
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February 10, 2024 10:43 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Do incentives in contracts count in the total salary number? Let’s they offer him all they with Early Bird rights, could throw in some incentives in the deal to make the contract more enticing?

My thinking is no, but the CBA has some nuanced clauses.

Kfan
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February 10, 2024 10:00 am

The ongoing adventures of Dr. Kings and Mr. Kangz!

Very happy they completed the blowout. Now let’s go win some road games!

Mike120
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February 10, 2024 12:58 pm

More Len and Edwards, please

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