The Sacramento Kings bounced back after two ugly losses without De’Aaron Fox to beat the lowly Houston Rockets, 140-120, on Monday night.
With Fox back in the lineup, Sacramento controlled the majority of the contest, and here are three takeaways from Sacramento’s 30th victory of the season.
Keegan Murray continues to play like a veteran
Murray completely busted out of his multi-game slump on Monday night, scoring a career-high 30 points.
In his last three games, Murray had made just two of his 21 3-point attempts, but you wouldn’t have known that watching him on Monday. Rookies tend to have a more fragile confidence when dealing with early-career struggles, but it’s been the opposite for Murray.
Without specifically knowing Murray was a rookie, you’d think he was a veteran player.
He seems unfazed by missed shots and continues to keep firing away from three, even when he doesn’t have it going. This mentality should serve Murray well throughout his time in the NBA.
De’Aaron Fox opens everything up for Sacramento’s offense
Getting Fox was huge for obvious reasons, but one thing that goes underrated with Fox is how he opens things up for shooters.
With Fox sidelined for the last two games, Sacramento lacked someone with off-the-dribble juice who could bend the defense and open space up for Murray, Kevin Huerter and other shooters. On Monday, it seemed like Sacramento’s shooters had way more space to fire away compared to the last few games, and a big credit for that has to go to Fox.
Without Fox, this team is a lottery team, and with him, they are in the No. 3 seed. He should get some consideration should Stephen Curry’s injury force him to miss the All-Star game.
Trey Lyles continues to be rock solid
Lyles’ night-to-night contributions this season have gone under the radar a bit. The Kings have been able to mostly count on Lyles bringing shooting, solid defense and overall mistake-free play in his bench minutes.
On Monday, Lyles missed just one shot and finished with 14 points and helped put the game away with a couple of huge plays in the fourth quarter.
Lyles — who is currently on an expiring contract and only 27 years old — should be someone Sacramento tries to keep around past this season.