Five takeaways from Kings 118-111 overtime victory in Minnesota

Jan 31, 2023 - 10:27 AM
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Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Despite an egregious missed call that led to an overtime-leading basket by the Minnesota Timberwolves and Domantas Sabonis fouling out in crunch time, the Sacramento Kings were once again able to light the beam after two straight losses, winning 118-111 in an overtime thriller.

Here are five takeaways from the Kings’ much needed win:

The Timberwolves can not stop De’Aaron Fox

In the last two games, which were both against this squad, Fox has totaled 61 points, 8 rebounds, 10 assists, 1 block and 4 steals. Essentially one MVP caliber night. However, that is not a slight on Fox’s behalf by any means.

Let’s focus on the fourth quarter and overtime. He scored a combined 33 points in those periods in his previous two matchups. He was able to get where he wanted every time and score on whoever was in front if him. Even if Rudy Gobert — one of the most highly decorated defenders of this era — was in front of him he was able to go to work. His body control, touch and ability to control his speed have gotten him to that next level offensively. He has gone from good to elite.

As we’ve all seen, this is nothing new. He’s done it all year. and this was his 13th 30-point game of the season. I just love talking about it so I will continue to do so every time he has one of these nights.

Sacramento’s defense looked much improved

Including overtime, the Kings allowed 50 points in the paint to a team who before this matchup averaged the eighth most points in the paint per game this season with 53.7. TO add to that, the Kings also allowed just 5 fast break points despite having 12 turnovers and extremely poor early in the game. Every player including Fox showed an inspiring amount of effort on defense to make sure the Kings would bounce back. Clogging the lanes, staying vertical and having the same pace on defense as they do every night on offense. This is playoff level defense and they need to keep it up.

Not letting the bad shooting ruin the game

The Kings started the game shooting 1-for-14 from three in the first half and finished the game going 9-for-30. It was a rough shooting night for a team that shoots a high volume from deep. However, they didn’t let this take them out of the game. They instead began to attack the paint and shoot open mid range shots to get a rhythm going on offense. Not only did they finished with 68 points in the paint, but they were able to find their shot at the right moment and knock down some clutch threes to secure the win.

Some nights, the three ball just isn’t going to work for teams. Smart teams will know when to stop shooting and move inside. Unlike when the Houston Rockets missed 27 straight threes in a row five years ago.

Second unit impacting both sides of the ball

After falling back down to Earth over the recent stretch, the Kings’ second unit outscored the Timberwolves’ 45-29 and were also able to manage 5 more assists and 2 more steals as well. They outplayed them in every aspect of the game and took advantage of their lack of depth. When the second unit performs, the Kings actually look like they’re deserving of the three seed.

Trey Lyles continues to perform at a high level

Of the second unit members, my favorite has become Trey Lyles. Davion Mitchell has been elite on defense and Malik Monk has been an exceptional playmaker. However, Lyles just seems to make his impact felt. He has become a key role player this season and shows up when he’s needed the most. I’m not saying he’s Sacramento’s best role player but I do think he has been invaluable for Mike Brown this season. When he plays well, the Kings play well.

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