3 Studs and 2 duds from the Kings’ first In-Season Tournament game 

Oklahoma City Thunder v Sacramento Kings
Oklahoma City Thunder v Sacramento Kings / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages
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The In-Season Tournament is here, the beam was lit, and the Sacramento Kings beat the young up-and-coming Thunder. After a rough patch, all is finally well in Sacramento. 

Still without De’Aaron Fox and Trey Lyles, the Kings managed to keep the little momentum they built up in their win against the Blazers. Coach Mike Brown stuck with most of the changes he made Wednesday night: Keon Ellis started, JaVale McGee and Colby Jones were stuck on the bench, and Chris Duarte only played a handful of minutes. 

Whether it is the new rotation or just a better mindset, something changed. It finally looked like the team was playing Kings basketball again. The game was incredibly fast, everyone moved, and most players battled defensively as well as on the glass. 

It was still not a good shooting game for the Kings—they shot only 27.7 percent from three—but they found other ways to win the game. Keegan Murray was the best example of that and a major part of this win. Despite only making 3 of his 10 three-point attempts, he finished with 24 points, 11 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals, and 1 block.

Malik Monk was his usual energetic self off the bench and finished the game with eight big assists. Alex Len showed once again that he’s always ready, contributing three offensive boards and two blocks as the backup five. 

All three had nice games and left their fingerprints on the win but others stood out more, both positively and negatively. So, let’s look at three studs and two duds from the Kings’ first In-Season Tournament game. 

Stud: Kevin Huerter

When Kevin Huerter finished the first quarter with 15 points—a new career-high for first-quarter points—Kings fans let out a collective sigh of relief. He is finally back. 

Finishing the game with 28 points, shooting 11-19 from the field, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, and 1 block, Huerter led the way for the Kings. He got the team going early and had an impact all over the court. 

Even defensively, he made his presence known. For a while now, Huerter has been under the microscope for his defensive limitations and shortcomings. It is true that he will probably never be a lock-down on-ball defender but his three steals and one block last night were big. 

Last season, Huerter was one of the team leaders in both deflections and steals. Even if he is one of the weakest links defensively, he can help the team defense that way. Early in the season, it looked like many of his defensive struggles were a result of him overthinking and worrying about his role. 

After Chris Duarte took his starting spot in one preseason game, there was a lot of noise around Huerter’s minutes being reduced and his games pointed in that direction as well. Now, it looks like he has finally found his groove and is here to stay as a starter and one of the Kings’ main options offensively. 

This was easily his best game of the season, and hopefully, this awakening means that he will continue to play the same way from now on.