Stud: Keon Ellis
In just his twentieth NBA game ever, Keon Ellis got to start again, and he did not disappoint. The youngster came out with confidence, guarding Shai Gilgous-Alexander and attacking the paint.
Gilgeous-Alexander is not really someone that you just slow down, but Mike Brown credited Ellis’ effort and said that he did his best to make the All-Star work for his points. Kevin Huerter likewise credited his young teammate with doing all the important little things for the team in his postgame interview.
Ellis finished the game with 8 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 blocks in a little over 30 minutes. He didn’t get to close the final possession, but he gave the Kings big minutes on both ends of the floor.
Not everyone in his position would have been up to the challenge. Ellis, however, played physical, fearless defense, and is making a case to keep getting minutes in the future. He even had one fascinating play where he got a block in transition as the only King to get back in time.
Games like this are huge, especially from such an inexperienced player. The Kings are not good when it comes to transition defense, and Ellis gave them a little spark in that department.