41 Fourth Quarter Points Lift Kings to 5th Straight Win

SACRAMENTO, CA - NOVEMBER 17: Domantas Sabonis #10 of the Sacramento Kings embraces De'Aaron Fox #5 of the Sacramento Kings after the game against the San Antonio Spurs on November 17, 2022 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

After the TNT hangover this one could have gotten away as the Spurs kept it close for much of the choppy contest, but the Kings unloaded late to win 130-112 to get their 5th victory in a row. 

Over their last ten games, Sacramento is 8-2.

There was a nice collective effort on Thursday, but it was De’Aaron Fox who took it upon himself to conjure up the late-game momentum and who notably finished the game having scored 28 with 3 rebounds and 8 assists. His college teammate Malik Monk lead another great performance from the bench squad with 26 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists. Both Domantas Sabonis and Harrison Barnes added 16 points and 8 rebounds each while Trey Lyles and Chimezie Metu scored 14 and 10 respectively.

San Antonio’s Devin Vassell was impressive and lead all scorers with 29 points while five of his teammates also got into double figures, including Keita Bates-Diop, who scored 16. Isaiah Roby and Josh Richardson combined for 20 points and 5 three’s made off the bench for the Spurs.

The Kings won the advantage in free throw attempts (24 to their opponent’s 12) as well as in turnovers (12-17) and points off them (21-13), and they locked it up by scoring 41 fourth quarter points on 15 of 19 from the field.

In the first quarter, the Kings were showing gorgeous displays of ball movement, pace, and defensive execution. About halfway through the period, Sacramento was up 22-6, but the Spurs went on a 14-4 run that included their first two makes from three. Fox and Lyles got their team back up 37-25 with six seconds remaining, but Isaiah Roby got a decent straight-on look for a last second three to cut the lead to single digits.

Popovich had his guys sharpen things up in the second after committing 7 turnovers in the first and Vassell scored 10. Meanwhile the Kings committed 4 to the Spurs 3 turnovers, got off 6 less shot attempts, and saw little production outside of Monk’s 12 points. They led San Antonio 63-56 at the half, scoring 11 less points in the second compared to the first.

The Spurs came out of the half and began the third on a 13-6 run to tie it up at 69 all on a Jeremy Sochan dunk and one. The two teams exchanged points as it was tied at 82 with a minute and a half remaining in the period. Sacramento was missing some looks in the period, but they were kept afloat by Barnes’ aggressive initiative that got him to hit 5 of 6 from the free throw line. And in that final chunk of time, the Kings scored 7 unanswered points to get the lead to 89-82. 

Everybody in the rotation hit a field goal in the fourth quarter beat down. The one exception was Davion Mitchell who set the tone defensively and dished out 2 assists in ten important fourth period minutes. And for the second consecutive game, there was some garbage time, which gave Keon Ellis his NBA debut and allowed Chima Moneke his first career basket (on a great pass from KZ Okpala).

This was an encouraging win for the Kings given the threat of a trap game due to Tuesday’s win and the fact they played a Gregg Popovich-coached team. It got a little close, but being the superior team, they still won fairly handily in the end; they just needed to wait until the very end of the third and into the fourth for the league’s second ranked offense to unleash its full wrath.

Offensive explosion

As Mike Brown would tell you, start to finish, it wasn’t the best offensive game. But in the end, it really showed up.

From the final minute and a half of the third through the end of the fourth quarter, the Kings shot 78.3% from the field and converted 4 of their seven looks from beyond the arc. By about the seven and a half minute mark, they were on a 28-10 run that had begun with the seven unanswered in the waning moments of the third period. San Antonio cut Sac’s 18-point lead to 13 points, but the Kings kept up their scoring, and there was not much time remaining.

Fox scored 10 in that period of time, including 4 attempts from the free throw line, and he also had 5 assists. Domas put up 8 points including another three; the big man has made his last three attempts from beyond the arc and is sinking 42.9% of them in November after starting out 0 of 7. And Monk scored 12, including hitting 2 of 3 from deep, and dishing out an assist.

The offense is really proving itself. Even as Kevin Huerter scored only 7, Terence Davis, after a 31-point performance, put up just 5 points, and with Keegan Murray out, this offense still managed to score 130. Other guys like Harrison Barnes, Trey Lyles, and Chimezie Metu stepped up to the plate. And Monk’s 26 really compensated. 

As of now, Sacramento is second only to Boston in points per game and offensive rating. 

Solid defense moments

The Kings defense also had a solid performance, though not a consistent one. Nevertheless, they had some really good moments.

They showed it early with a very beautiful stop. With all the player and ball movement San Antonio was utilizing, every Kings player stuck with a body, rotating on a string to help and close out on the shot. 

A few minutes later, there was another great defensive stop, mostly due to Kevin Huerter, who despite being cold offensively, continued his solid play on the other end. With everyone on their man, the Spurs cleared the paint and Jeremy Sochan tried to get in the paint against Huerter, but in spite of all of the rookie’s spin move, the Kings guard stayed with him, using his chest to engage and get up a nice contest to cause the miss. And afterwards, four Kings were ready to get on the glass and secure the stop.

Another first quarter example was when the Kings defense forced a Jakob Poeltl miss even as he had some space when Domas prepared to help Barnes guard a drive to the basket. Sabonis closed out nicely, and the whole way through, Huerter was in nice positioning to give help from the weak side. The one downside was the Kings did not rebound, but San Antonio could not convert the second chance score.

In the second quarter, there was another example of guys staying with their man while also executing some nice rotations and help. Again, they forced a miss, but gave up a couple offensive boards on this sequence.

Though Mike Brown said it was an area of concern really early on this year, Sacramento has been good in transition defense. They showed that when they collectively stopped an attempt to get some quick offense, which allowed Huerter to get a block from behind.

Overall, the Kings are making some great strides defensively and they continued to show that last night.

But they still need to tie it all together. Mike Brown noted after the game that no matter the lineup, the team has struggled to “sustain doing the little things you need to do every single possession defensively in order to have a chance to get stops.”

The bench

Sacramento’s bench scored 56 points on Thursday.

Malik Monk led the group with an awesome performance. He continued being aggressive, finishing at the rim, trying to facilitate, hitting threes, and contributing defensively. With Fox, he played a massive part in the late game offensive surge, scoring 12 points in the final thirteen and a half minutes of the game.

Trey Lyles has, like Monk, been a very dependable piece off the bench and he scored 14 points with 3 rebounds and a steal. Like some others, he was aggressive at attacking the basket; though he hit just 1 of 4 from deep, he did have 4 free throw attempts. And he had an incredible poster slam over the 6’11” Charles Bassey.

Adding to it, Chimezie Metu tied his season-high of 10 points with a pretty nice game after being the least productive player in Tuesday’s blowout. Metu hit a three and did not hesitate when it came to him. He also played some solid defense, including initiating a stop that led to a highlight alley-oop slam of his own on the other end.

And Davion continued his magic on defense. He was pestering opponents, he drew several offensive fouls, including a great charge that protected the inside. 

“The game changed because of Davion,” Mike Brown said of his young guard postgame. “His defense, especially down the stretch and in that second half, was unbelievable.” 

Plus, Mitchell dished out four assists, including Metu’s alley-oop.

The bench has been highly effective. Overall on the year, the Kings are averaging the second most bench points at 42.8 per game.

Harrison Barnes’ struggles look to be in rearview

In his last five games, Harrison Barnes is averaging 14.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.6 assists. Also in that time, he’s shooting 57.9% from the field and 41.2% from beyond the arc.

Those numbers far better resemble what Barnes was expected to produce this year. 

By contrast, in Barnes’ first nine games of the season, he averaged 9.9 points on 38.6% from the field and 16.7% from deep.

He was an important part of this game, scoring 16 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 assists.

The veteran’s 8 rebounds were vital as it was necessary to have a full team effort to not give this team too many second chance opportunities. As seen here, his presence on the boards contributed to why Sacramento held a team that averages over 11 offensive boards to just 7. 

Barnes also played some nice defense, playing a role in team stops and coming up with 2 steals, one a heads up read in transition and the other a deflection on a pass. Also, watch him guard Bates-Diop’s cut to the rim; Barnes bypasses some obstructing bodies to still flash some nice defense, but the offensive player managed to finish the tough basket.

But probably the most critical thing Barnes did was get to the free throw line 8 times. The whole game he remained aggressive getting inside, either finishing or drawing the foul. Most importantly, in the middle of the third quarter, when the Kings were up just two points, Barnes got to the line 6 times in about three minutes, hitting 5 of them from the stripe. Those smart decisions set the tone for the offense being able to hit with full force as it did at the end of the third and into the fourth.

Harrison Barnes had another good game, and the worries about his subpar play may be behind him based on these last five games in particular.


Against a young team that is not nearly as talented yet probably better coached (if only slightly), it was vital that the Kings maintain their discipline. They did that on Thursday night.

First of all, they won the turnover advantage (12-18) as well as the points off of them (21-13). Coming into this one, San Antonio’s opponents averaged 15.6 turnovers a game and in turn averaged 18.8 points from them. 

But also, they had twice as many free throw attempts (24-12) and hit 22 of them (91.7%) compared to San Antonio’s nine makes (75.0%) from the line.

Sabonis remained aggressive inside, getting to the line 7 times. Fox and Lyles also had several penetrations create free throw attempts. But Harrison Barnes was perhaps most impressive getting to the line 8 times, 6 of which, as noted, came midway through the third.

Going forward

After this one, the Kings get a couple days before they play Detroit on Sunday afternoon. 

Sacramento will be the third contest for the Pistons on a six-game west coast trip. They’ve lost five in a row and play the Lakers in LA tonight.

Former number-two overall pick Marvin Bagley III, who will play his fourth game since returning from injury, will make his first visit to Sacramento since being traded in February. Also coming to town will be Jaden Ivey, who was the other highly touted prospect available when the Kings picked fourth in this year’s draft.

This will be another important game where staying present is of the utmost importance as the Kings will head east for three games in four nights against Memphis, Atlanta, and Boston next week.

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Dan Smith
10 months ago

Appreciate the good work Tony, your stuff is always on point! Gotta get that game against Det, with those tough teams coming up in a short number of days. Hope we can get that 6th straight win, something they haven’t done since ’05. Also, since Boston didn’t have that great of an offensive game last night, are we the number one ranked offense now? I really hope so, and crazy to think about really! lol