There are some wins throughout a Kings season that just feel a little special, and tonight’s victory over the scrappy Oklahoma City Thunder was one of them. Rookie Keegan Murray played the best basketball of his career, scoring a career-high 29 points, while snagging a career-high 14 rebounds, Domantas Sabonis posted another triple-double by the end of the third quarter (18 points, 13 rebounds, and 14 assists), and De’Aaron Fox added 25 points of his own to lead the Kings to their sixth consecutive victory. The Thunder caught fire early from three-point range, but cooled off in the second half, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s 37 points weren’t enough to carry his team to victory.
The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
Keegan’s Windex sponsorship: A common criticism of Keegan Murray early in the season was his lack of focus on the defensive glass, but as of late, and after a Mike Brown team-wide emphasis on rebounding, Keegan has stepped up in a big way. Over his first 37 games, Murray averaged just 3.8 boards per game, but over his last five performances, he’s averaged 7.6, including 10 last game and 14 tonight. And let’s not forget his 29 points on just 12 shots.
Dunkin’ Domas: Domantas Sabonis continues and continues and continues to be the solid foundation for Sacramento’s offensive output. Once again, he recorded a triple-double prior to the end of the third quarter, and on a night in which the Kings were struggling to hit shots, Sabonis acted as a calming force as both a scorer and as a facilitator.
Going streaking: The Kings posted their six consecutive win on Friday evening, their second such streak of the year. Prior to this season, the Kings hadn’t posted a six-game winning streak in 17 years, or 6,525 days to be exact, although they did record 30 six-game losing streaks over that same span.
Three-point shooting: Friday evening was a rare event that saw just about everyone on the Kings (Keegan Murray being the exception) struggle from beyond the arc. Outside of Murray’s 5/7 shooting, Sacramento made just 7 of their 31 attempts (22.5%). They’ll need to convert at a much higher percentage if they hope to defeat the Sixers on Saturday night.
Bench contributions: Sacramento’s bench play has been fairly inconsistent all season, but almost everyone was bad tonight, outside of Davion Mitchell’s typical great defense. Overall, the subs shot a disappointing 7 of 23 from the field, including 2/13 from deep, and no one was particularly effective.
The King of Kings
Keegan Murray: Yes, Domantas Sabonis had a triple-double, but the Kings wouldn’t have won without Murray’s fourth quarter play tonight. The rookie had a career night, and he’s only getting better as the season progresses.
Saturday, January 21st vs. Philadelphia 76ers – 7:00 P.M. (PT)