Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox (5) pressures Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) during the first half at the Footprint Center in Phoenix on Sat Mar 11, 2023 (AP News photo)
By Barbara Mason
Saturday night the Sacramento Kings (40-26) traveled to Phoenix to take on the Suns (37-30). It was a battle between the second and fourth place teams in the Western Conference. The Kings picked up their third straight win 128-119.
The Kings fell behind early in the first quarter trailing 17-6 at 6:53. As the first 12 minutes came to an end, the Kings had made up a lot of ground trailing by a single point 32-31.
The Kings started the second quarter on a great note tying up the game at 36 in the early minutes of the quarter. The Kings would take the lead with nine minutes left in the half 39-38 and continue to maintain a slim lead throughout the remainder of the second quarter.
As the quarter wound down Sacramento extended their lead. They had turned the slow start around and led at the half 67-59. The Kings went to the line 26 times in the first half, forced turnovers and outshot the Suns from downtown 38% to the Suns 22%.
After two quarters the Kings bench was outstanding collectively scoring 37 points. De’Aaron Fox, Domantas Sabonis and Harrison Barnes each had 8 points in the opening half.
The Suns began to chip away at the Kings lead in the third quarter. At 3:29 Phoenix took the lead 85-81. Sacramento had some untimely turnovers and empty possessions. With under three minutes left in the third the score was tied at 85. The Kings held onto a slim one point lead after three quarters 96-95. Malik Monk had 15 points going into the fourth quarter. He was three of four from downtown and was a huge part of the Kings lead.
The Kings have the best offense in clutch situations and they would go on to prove just that. This game continued to see-saw with both teams trading the lead. With seven minutes left the score was tied at 105. With 1:22 left in the game the Kings were clinging to a one point lead 119-118. Fox made a 17 foot jump shot to push the lead to 121-118 with 58 seconds left on the clock. Kessler Edwards hit a three-point jumper to seal the win 128-119.
Sabonis was terrific on the pick and roll defense. He finished the game with 8 rebounds and 15 points. The clutch player on the floor tonight and quite frankly almost every night Fox had 18 points and six assists. The bench was a huge part of this win with 65 points. Seven Kings scored in double digits in this game. The Kings just punched they’re 40th win of the season.
Monday night the Kings will be challenged as they take on the Milwaukee Bucks at Golden 1 Center. The Bucks come into this game after losing in overtime to the Golden State Warriors Saturday night. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00 PM