Good teams don’t allow one loss to bring them down. They bounce back, and that’s exactly what the Kings did. After losing big to the Eastern Conference powerhouse Celtics on Wednesday, they faced the Suns.
Phoenix was without Bradley Beal, Jusuf Nurkic, Josh Okogie, and Damian Lee. Kevin Durant and Devin Booker were available, however, and a team with those two on it should never be underestimated.
The Kings still rolled past the Suns, though, securing the 120-105 win behind a triple-double from Domantas Sabonis and double-figure scoring from all five starters. Harrison Barnes had a big night, shooting 4-8 from three, Kevin Huerter looked more like himself again, and Keegan Murray put up over 20 points for the sixth time this season.
The true star of the show was De’Aaron Fox, however.
De’Aaron Fox makes Kings history
After dishing out 7 assists last night, the Kings All-Star point guard is now the all-time assist leader in the Sacramento era with a total of 2,583. Mike Bibby held the previous record with 2,580, trailed by Mitch Richmond (2,218), Spud Webb (2,204), and Reggie Theus (1,943).
Bibby congratulated Fox after the game, saying he loved what Fox was doing for the Kings by bringing them back to life. Getting Sabonis was a big part of the Kings returning to the postseason after the longest drought in league history. Ultimately, Fox’s ascent to stardom made the biggest difference, however.
Just for that, his name will be etched in Kings’ history, and after winning the first-ever Clutch Player of the Year award, he is also firmly cemented in NBA history. Now, he also owns a franchise record that will only continue to grow.
Fox is the face of the Kings, and he is still only 26 years old. He will be in Sacramento for quite some time. More records will follow.
After Fox’s 40-point game in late November, NBC’s Kings Post Game Live host Kyle Draper put the idea out there that Fox could go down as the best Sacramento King ever. Setting this new record puts him in an even better position to do that, but breaking records alone will not do it.
Those records have to be accompanied by winning and playoff success. Last season was the first step. With a 17-10 record and the fourth seed in the West, it looks like the Kings are ready to prove that last season was no fluke.
Fox is playing better than ever, Sabonis is a double-double machine, Murray is getting better with every game, and Monk is one of the best bench players in the league. To take a real leap, to get to the next level, the Kings will have to make some moves.
They are too small and don’t have enough defense to hang with the likes of Boston. Even with those issues, ESPN Analyst and former NBA player Kendrick Perkins predicted the Kings to make some noise in the playoffs.
This is still a process. No team goes from being at the bottom of the league to a title contender in the blink of an eye, but in the meantime, we have front-row seats to Fox’s developing greatness.