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Kings 127, Spurs 122: Swipa saves the day

The Kings pull out a close victory at home.
By | 86 Comments | Feb 22, 2024

Feb 22, 2024; Sacramento, California, USA; Sacramento Kings guard De'Aaron Fox (5) dribbles past San Antonio Spurs guard Tre Jones (33) during the second quarter at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into Thursday night’s contest against the lowly San Antonio Spurs, most Kings fans were understandably a little apprehensive. Not only have the Kings struggled against low-win teams at home this season, the Spurs also represent the sort of squad Sacramento has struggled with mightily this season – a group that plays hard for every possession over 48 minutes. The back-and-forth battle saw the Spurs take a 120-116 lead with just 2:12 remaining in the 4th, but a string of late game heroics from De’Aaron Fox snagged a close-game win for the Kings as they battle to work their way back into the top-6 in the Western Conference. Fox led the Kings with 28 points, 9 assists, and 5 boards, while Devin Vassell was brilliant for the Spurs, putting up 32 points and 7 assists of his own. Rookie sensation Victor Wembanyama was also all over the stat sheet with 19 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 blocks, and 5 steals.

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

The Good:
  1. Mr. Clutch Returns: De’Aaron Fox has struggled to make shot in several late game situations this season, but Thursday night was an exception to that single-season rule. After Devin Vassell’s three-pointer gave the Spurs a 4-point lead with just over two minutes remaining, Fox was all over the floor. His step-back triple with 1:21 on the clock gave Sacramento a one-point lead that they wouldn’t surrender, and after Vassell beat him backdoor, Fox was able to recover and block his layup attempt. Thirteen seconds later, Fox knocked down a middy to seal the win for the Kings. Sacramento wasn’t going to win this one with Fox’s heroics.
  2. Domantas Sabonis – The Machine: In an era of load management, sitting for games against bad opponents, and a general lack of commitment to playing through pain or discomfort, the Sacramento Kings have found an underappreciated luxury in Domantas Sabonis’ absolute refusal to sit out. Entering Thursday night’s contest, Sabonis was listed as doubtful due to illness, but Sacramento’s star center stepped up in a huge way, despite being nowhere close to 100%, just as he did last season with a broken thumb. Domantas bullied Victor Wembanyama in the paint all night long, finishing with yet another triple-double: 22 points, 11 boards, and 11 assists.
  3. Guard Trifecta: It often feels like the Kings struggle to get all three of their best guards going at the same time, but De’Aaron Fox, Kevin Huerter, and Malik Monk were all fantastic for Mike Brown tonight. The trio combined for 70 points on just 47 field goal attempts, along with a combined 16 assists and 12 rebounds.
The Bad:
  1. (Most of the) Defense: Surprise, surprise, the Kings slept on the defensive end of the floor for most of the evening. San Antonio, the worst three-point shooting team in the league, made 44% of their three-point attempts, and many of those makes were wide-open – no bad luck shooting variance to be found in the Golden 1 Center tonight. The Spurs were also comfortable penetrating the paint for most of the game, scoring 72 points in the paint, although there were moments at the end of the half and the end of the game that saw Sacramento lock down on the defensive end of the floor.
The Ugly:
  1. Trey Lyles: Lyles is often one of the most reliable bench contributors for Mike Brown, but Thursday was simply not Lyles’ day. He was overeager offensively, jacking up three-pointers the second the ball hit his hand, and he was also a sieve on defense as well. Trey finished with 4 points on 1/6 shooting from the floor. This was the type of game that may have seen Sasha Vezenkov minutes if he was healthy.

The King of Kings

Domantas Sabonis was as impressive as they come, but the prestigious, hyper-important King of Kings award has to head De’Aaron Fox’s way. His two clutch buckets and nearly impossible block sealed the victory for Sacramento.

Up Next

Sunday, February 27th vs. Los Angeles Clippers – 6:30 P.M. (PT)

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notdeaaronfox
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February 22, 2024 9:43 pm

Kings are 1-0 in the Mason Jones era!

Dan Houlder
Dan Houlder
February 22, 2024 11:05 pm
Reply to  notdeaaronfox

Congrats, Mason Jones!

Who is Mason Jones?

Dan Houlder
Dan Houlder
February 22, 2024 11:08 pm
Reply to  Dan Houlder

Never mind. Googled.

Sacto_J
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February 23, 2024 5:03 pm
Reply to  notdeaaronfox

They’re at least 2-0 in the MJ era, he was on the bench for the Denver game heading into break.

notdeaaronfox
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February 23, 2024 7:21 pm
Reply to  Sacto_J

My mistake, extend this man!

Jman1949
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February 22, 2024 9:46 pm

Fox toyed with the Spurs down the stretch!

comment image&ct=g

Ellis5
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February 22, 2024 9:46 pm

Fun game. Anthony Davis is an All Star everybody

Last edited 4 months ago by Ellis5
Hobby916
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February 23, 2024 4:07 am
Reply to  Ellis5

Towns, too…

Jman1949
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February 22, 2024 9:49 pm

The Kings rode to victory on another triple double from Ox!

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Inthestarz
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February 22, 2024 9:59 pm

Monk had some timely plays in route to his typical contribution (21/3/2/2/2). consistent all year. its a loss without him and he is key* to the team

I’ve had to repeatedly say it for several months while no one else in the media or on the Kings forums has seemed to take notice of the fact that Malik Monk isn’t accepting any early bird extenion

https://www.vegasinsider.com/nba/odds/sixth-man/

odds on favorite now for sixth man of the year

Its why we reportedly were after only EXPIRING players – OG and Pascal last deadline, and we are going to be in a tricky situation having to get below the cap to keep the will be competitors for one of 2024s top free agents in a weak free agent class

Last edited 4 months ago by Inthestarz
Inthestarz
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February 22, 2024 10:08 pm
Reply to  Inthestarz

Hell of a time in that I hope some below cap teams will just take on some of our salary like Barnes and Huerter but we might be dealing out some draft capital potentially.

Ellis5
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February 22, 2024 10:11 pm
Reply to  Inthestarz

Not a fan of you robots spamming yourselves…. But carry on

Inthestarz
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February 22, 2024 10:14 pm
Reply to  Ellis5

its a convo that needs to be had

Last edited 4 months ago by Inthestarz
Ellis5
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February 22, 2024 10:17 pm
Reply to  Inthestarz

Do you mean “Then take note” I have subsequently

Inthestarz
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February 22, 2024 10:24 pm
Reply to  Ellis5

how would I know that? I’ve only posted it a few times and have got zero response either positive or negative (well Adamsite agrees he isn’t accepting the early bird but banters with me on how the Kings would retain him)

and why isn’t it a topic of discussion, or is it still entirely assumed he is accepting the early bird?

Actually I feel the new 6th man of the year odds would require me to note this again

Last edited 4 months ago by Inthestarz
Ellis5
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February 22, 2024 10:29 pm
Reply to  Inthestarz

I love the discussion… please continue

AnybodyButBagley
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February 22, 2024 10:33 pm
Reply to  Ellis5

You are consistently……well..,,yeah…..consistent.

Nothing else.

Inthestarz
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February 22, 2024 10:34 pm
Reply to  Ellis5

I haven’t heard yours or anyone else’s opinion of the discussion besides Adamsite

well so, do you believe he is accepting the early bird, or how do you figure the Kings are going to keep him taking into account the teams with the cap room and their needs and in their states of rebuilding?

how much salary needs to go out?

9sac8
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February 23, 2024 2:10 pm
Reply to  Inthestarz

Pay Malik. Get stronger at PF. If that means Barnes and Huerter are gone, then so be it.

I really want to see the Kings win the championship in my lifetime. Lets get it done.

SuperShaka
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February 23, 2024 11:30 pm
Reply to  Inthestarz

The Kings would need to drop about $35M to open up $25M of space this offseason. Dropping that much salary while not adding any seems unrealistic.

Last edited 4 months ago by SuperShaka
Ellis5
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February 22, 2024 11:05 pm
Reply to  Inthestarz

I just learned the United States didn’t land on the moon…. I’m dealing with sone stuff right now

AnybodyButBagley
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February 22, 2024 10:35 pm
Reply to  Inthestarz

Why does this team give up Huerter and Barnes for a mediocre free agent?

Inthestarz
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February 22, 2024 10:39 pm

Thanks for the opinion but he’s the team’s third best player right now IMO and the team would take a sizable hit.

He is on a career ascension as well. The improvement he has made from last year to this year, if projectable, he could be a serious player in the future.

He’s also besties with the teams second best player and an emotional leader.

huerter and barnes?

Last edited 4 months ago by Inthestarz
Inthestarz
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February 22, 2024 10:47 pm
Reply to  Inthestarz

IMO Kings should have moved Barnes for Houston’s expirings which was reportedly on the table, last deadline

Ellis5
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February 22, 2024 10:59 pm
Reply to  Inthestarz

IMO MO doesn’t matter

AnybodyButBagley
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February 23, 2024 10:15 pm
Reply to  Ellis5

Your maturity and intellect stand out amongst the crowd.

It isn’t a compliment..stop thinking about it so hard.

AnybodyButBagley
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February 23, 2024 10:14 pm
Reply to  Inthestarz

I am a fan of Barnes and that the creates a bias in my opinion. I am also a fan of the Kings improving so I appreciate any comments or ideas that are about this team getting better.

Something has to change. Appreciate you talking about change for the better. We may not agree on who or what needs to change but we agree something needs to change in order to take the next step.

Dan Houlder
Dan Houlder
February 22, 2024 10:18 pm
Reply to  Inthestarz

comment image

Inthestarz
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February 22, 2024 11:25 pm
Reply to  Inthestarz

2024 NBA free agent rankings: Top players available next summer

1.Maxey
2.George
3.James
4.Siakam
5.Anunoby
6.Harden
7.Derozan
8.Harris
9.Holiday
10.Bridges
11.Claxton
12.Quickly
13.D’Angelo Russell
14.Monk

So Maxey, Geoge, James, Siakam, Anunoby, Harden, Quickly and Holiday don’t look like they are leaving, and then who is really better than Malik as teams try to spend?

Dan Houlder
Dan Houlder
February 22, 2024 10:03 pm

That post-game Monk dunk was perfect.

Fox’s late-game block from behind happened so fast that I thought it had been a successful layup.

Amonk81
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February 22, 2024 10:16 pm
Reply to  Dan Houlder

4th quarter Fox back last 2 games. That is good to see and the only way the Kings make a run to playoffs. That and occasional late game/half D was enough last year.

Ellis5
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February 22, 2024 10:33 pm
Reply to  Dan Houlder

That wasn’t on the clock was it?

Dan Houlder
Dan Houlder
February 22, 2024 10:48 pm
Reply to  Ellis5

No.

Ellis5
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February 22, 2024 10:56 pm
Reply to  Dan Houlder

Thank you Yakshi

RikSmits
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February 23, 2024 10:32 am
Reply to  Dan Houlder

When Fox slapped it out of Vassel’s hands I first thought it was such a quick flash dunk that I missed the ball. That was a game-saving defensive play.

9sac8
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February 23, 2024 2:13 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

Might have been play of the game.

UpgradedToQuestionable
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February 23, 2024 3:08 pm
Reply to  9sac8

no doubt.

And hey – big nod of approval to Kevin Huerter for that slick backdoor pass to Fox – I didn’t know he had it in him.

That was part of what was funny last night: everyone seemed to be playing well. Keegan caught 16 with an assortment of dunks, cuts, 3 pointers and off the dribble jumpers, Huerter was flaming hot, hitting his first 4 shots – all 3s. Fox and Ox were Fox and Ox. Maybe Fox, even more so, as he had some truly amazing change of pace and twist in space 2 point moves. Monk had 21. I thought Alex Len gave quality minutes. On the flip: Barnes was on setting of demure. Only Trey was off his game, and Davion was his Ondoffo (On D/Off O) usual self.

We want the score to show a pounding when you look at the 11-45 Spurs – but they (Spurs) played well. Kings are better and played better, so they took the W.

Last edited 4 months ago by UpgradedToQuestionable
andy_sims
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February 23, 2024 2:17 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

It’s as good of a defensive play as any I’ve seen. Fox’s ass was just beat by Vassell’s cut to the hoop, and he spun around to get to DV’s left, then jumped clockwise in the air to make the play with his left hand.

Maybe five guys in the league that could have made that play, perhaps just three.

eddie41
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February 22, 2024 10:04 pm

Huerter stepped up big. 1st quarter, the team always needs someone to step up and help Domas. Fox is normally sparring at this point. so Keegan misses a shot, HB misses a shot, and then Huerter got hot from 3. it got the team going, I think.

sure, he got cooked a couple times on D, (okay, improve that), but the Kings are difficult to beat when Huerter is focused and hitting shots.

ArcoThunder
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February 24, 2024 2:04 am
Reply to  eddie41

Ox, Fox, Spock and Monk are pretty damn consistent. If and When Huerter gets back to his 20pt per game level (LIKE LAST SEASON UNTIL THE PLAYOFFS) this team is very very good and very hard to beat. If Barnes is on simultaneously… its automatic Beaming

Ellis5
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February 22, 2024 10:16 pm

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Ellis5
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February 22, 2024 10:49 pm

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Dance…. The Alamo demands it!

Last edited 4 months ago by Ellis5
Ellis5
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February 22, 2024 11:02 pm

*

Last edited 4 months ago by Ellis5
DutchKingsFanInUK
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February 22, 2024 11:16 pm

Kings 🤝 squeaking by an opponent they should be beating because they don’t play defense

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Ellis5
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February 22, 2024 11:20 pm

Just like every other NBA team… Epic take!

ForKingsandCountry
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February 23, 2024 10:02 am
Reply to  Ellis5

Just like every other mediocre NBA team.

Ellis5
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February 22, 2024 11:22 pm

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RPO
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RPO
February 22, 2024 11:56 pm
Reply to  Ellis5

How… weird.

9sac8
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February 24, 2024 10:27 am
Reply to  RPO

I thought the same thing.

Ellis5
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February 22, 2024 11:26 pm

I read the woods and burn the words.

rockbottom
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February 22, 2024 11:45 pm

Fun, scary game . Fox and Ox saved team from a devastating loss . Still a W .

UpgradedToQuestionable
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February 23, 2024 1:07 am

Hot take:
High level game by both teams- hot shooting on both sides (56% Sac/51% SAS – take away Devin Vassell (13/18) and Spurs drop to 46%.

Aggressive young squad from Coach Pop looks like they are still finding themselves. Fun group to watch – 37 assists! Every Spur that hit the hardwood had at least 1 assist! The Spurs also won 3 of the 4 Quarters!

I thought Sac looked poised most of the game and was up against a San Antonio squad that ran the court and drove the lane non-stop. Surprisingly, both teams had 70 points in the paint. Sac shot only 33 3 pointers.

As mentioned – 70 points from the Kings backcourt (though a bagel from Davion) was impressive. Low turnover (10 Sac 8 SAS) and low whistle count (FTA was 14 vs 16) made this a smoother, faster, more enjoyable watch.

The Kings played well- well enough to win- and they did. DAL/PHX/SAC all with 23 Losses (NOP with 22).

Next.

andy_sims
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February 23, 2024 2:19 pm

The Spurs are going to be a pretty horrible opponent, and I mean sooner, not later.

Hobby916
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February 23, 2024 4:19 am

Much needed win. Gotta beat teams like the Spurs. Fox and the Ox, along with Monk, came up huge.
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Dorde34
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February 23, 2024 5:17 am

Not a win to get excited about. Sunday would be a win to get excited about. If the Kings make the playoffs, they will be in the play in. Mavericks improved and the Suns are healthy, for now…but if they remain that way, Kings will not pass them. No chance of catching top 4 seeds, they are too talented. The main concern is still bench play. Aside from Monk, who is going to step up and give this team some consistency? I just don’t see it happening. Kings were 3 seed last year with the same record. That just shows that the West is better and healthier this year compared to last. The Kings have to acquire more talent this offseason, otherwise just wasting Fox and Sabonis prime years. A tweak to help improve the bench should have happened this year, but too late now. Sundays game will show which way this is all headed. Continuing to lose by double digits to the Wolves, Thunder, and Clippers just shows this team is no where close to even competing to get to the WCF, nonetheless the NBA Finals. Please make the playoffs so the 1st rounder to the Hawks goes off the books, but I won’t be surprised if the Kings do end up in the lottery by seasons end.

Hobby916
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February 23, 2024 6:42 am
Reply to  Dorde34

A win is a win. I will be excited if I want to.

Dorde34
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February 25, 2024 10:21 pm
Reply to  Hobby916

They are the worst team in the league. They should expect to beat teams like that. Can tell you never played sports at a competitive level. You must consider close games against bad teams a moral victory. See the bigger picture.

Dan Houlder
Dan Houlder
February 23, 2024 6:47 am
Reply to  Dorde34

“Continuing to lose by double digits to the Wolves, Thunder, and Clippers . . .”

The Kings are 2-1 against the Thunder, 1-1 against the Wolves, and 0-2 against the Clippers. One win against the Thunder and one against the Wolves were by double digits.

“. . . just shows this team is nowhere close to even competing to get to the WCF . . .”

Using your same argument against two of those teams, we could say that neither the Wolves nor the Thunder are anywhere close to competing to get to the Western Conference Finals . . . unless your entire argument is based on anti-Kings bias.

It’s fairly clear that both the Wolves and the Thunder, two of the top four teams in the Western Conference, have a shot at the Western Conference Finals, and the Kings have marched both of those teams to the morning schoolbus with their favorite Batman lunchboxes.

Bluejohn
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February 24, 2024 1:59 pm
Reply to  Dan Houlder

Good stuff Yakshi

ArcoThunder
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February 24, 2024 2:15 am
Reply to  Dorde34

making the playoffs so the first rounder comes off the books is maybe the most important thing for this team in regards to significant improvement/becoming a title contender. imagine being able to trade Barnes and Duarte or Mitchell with three future first round picks attached and what type of player that brings back. Just sayin

Jman1949
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February 24, 2024 6:05 am
Reply to  Dorde34

the Suns are healthy, for now…but if they remain that way, Kings will not pass them.

Beal and Nurkic were both out last night, and the Suns lost to the Rockets. With that loss the Kings passed the Suns by percentage points for now, which would not have happened without the win over the Spurs!

Marty
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February 23, 2024 6:53 am

Man if you could just bottle that energy in the last five minutes and carry it with you throughout your life. What an enjoyable finish to witness. Those back-to-back possessions to take command were just perfection.

Hobby916
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February 23, 2024 7:27 am
Reply to  Marty

Just don’t get excited…

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
February 23, 2024 7:34 am

Yo…. I’d cut Edwards to kick the tires on Poku.

Hobby916
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February 23, 2024 7:44 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Worth a look.

RobHessing
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February 23, 2024 9:36 am
Reply to  Adamsite

I’d kick the tires on him, though he would likely miss 6-8 weeks if you actually kicked him.

Hobby916
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February 23, 2024 10:04 am
Reply to  RobHessing

Thin is in?

RobHessing
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February 23, 2024 10:07 am
Reply to  Hobby916

Sacramento: Ride the rail!

eddie41
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February 23, 2024 10:24 am
Reply to  Adamsite

interesting. a lot of Kings Herald guys have liked his potential for a while. even in the last podcast, I think Will named him as a type of player he’d take a swing at. a few years ago, no, but now, sure, he’s worth a look.

however, Kessler still has value for the Kings this year for his ability to defend.

RikSmits
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February 23, 2024 10:29 am
Reply to  eddie41

Will has been deeply in love with Poku for years.

I suspect he will strongly consider ditching his bride to elope with Poku.

eddie41
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February 23, 2024 10:52 am
Reply to  RikSmits

yeah, I was deeply in love also, however, it was opposite, you see, I loved when the Kings played against Poku because he was so easy to score on.

worth a look to see if he has developed into a serviceable player.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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February 24, 2024 7:18 am
Reply to  eddie41

Kessler can’t even get on the court.

Hobby916
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February 24, 2024 7:21 am
Reply to  Adamsite

He is the “throw shit out there to see what works” player right now.

eddie41
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February 24, 2024 9:10 am
Reply to  Adamsite

yeah, I’m not that wild about Kessler. Just saying he still has value for the team this year.

Kfan
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February 23, 2024 8:02 am

Closer than it should have been, but it’s a win.

Fox doing more superstar things in the last few minutes.

RobHessing
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February 23, 2024 9:28 am

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Technical foul, DeMarcus Cousins.

Hobby916
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February 23, 2024 9:49 am
Reply to  RobHessing

Replay shows that Sabonis’ face created contact with the San Antonio player’s hand, the call is reversed and an offensive foul will be assessed on Sabonis. San Antonio basketball, side out-of-bounds.

Kfan
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February 23, 2024 9:54 am
Reply to  Hobby916

Come on! Let’s not be so over the top on criticizing the Refs.

That’s obviously incidental contact

RobHessing
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February 23, 2024 10:06 am
Reply to  Kfan

More like incisor-dental contact, amirite?
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Kfan
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February 23, 2024 10:10 am
Reply to  RobHessing

Just a friendly game of Peek-a-Boo. And Domas doesn’t even have possession of the ball.

RobHessing
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February 23, 2024 10:16 am
Reply to  Kfan

Yep, upon closer inspection it is pretty obvious that Sabonis was sick and used Wemby’s hand to wipe his nose.

Kfan
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February 23, 2024 10:22 am
Reply to  RobHessing

Ewww! LOL

UpgradedToQuestionable
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February 23, 2024 10:33 am
Reply to  RobHessing

Olly Olly Oxen Free!

9sac8
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February 23, 2024 2:25 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

🤣🤣🤣

NorCalKingsFan
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February 23, 2024 11:42 am

OT: We should definitely try to grab this guy on the cheap. Go get him Monte!

Sacto_J
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February 24, 2024 9:23 am

Good win by the Kings. The Spurs look much improved, gave the Lakers all they could handle last night, too.

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