This season, the injury bug bit the Kings early. De’Aaron Fox, Trey Lyles, Keegan Murray, Alex Len, and Keon Ellis have all missed extended time already. Nevertheless, the Kings prevailed and clinched their group in the first stage of the NBA’s new In-Season Tournament.
They started off group play against the Oklahoma City Thunder. With De’Aaron Fox out, Kevin Huerter and Keegan Murray carried the team to a 105-98 win. Next were the Spurs, who the Kings beat 129-120 after getting off to a slow start.
That then left the Timberwolves, the top team in the West, and the Warriors, the Kings’ new-found nemesis. Not fazed by the high stakes, the Kings marched into Minnesota and handed the Timberwolves their first home loss of the season.
3-0 in tournament play at that point, last night’s game against the Warriors would decide the Kings’ fate in the In-Season Tournament.
Kings win thriller against the Warriors
Ever since Game 7 of last season’s playoffs, the Warriors had the Kings’ number. Stephen Curry was their kryptonite. They just can’t slow him down, and big games from Curry usually lead to losses for Sacramento.
At first, it looked like last night’s game was just more of the same, and the Kings were done with the In-Season Tournament. After the first half, they were down 72-55 but then they took off.
Scoring 40 points in the third quarter, they battled their way back to make it a competitive game and eventually took the victory on a game-winner by Malik Monk.
Monk, Fox, and Huerter all had big games, scoring over 20 points, but Trey Lyles, Harrison Barnes, and Sasha Vezenkov all made key contributions as well.
When are the In-Season Tournament quarterfinals?
The quarterfinals are the first stage of the Knockout Rounds. All eight teams that managed to advance will play single-elimination games to decide which teams will eventually move on to Las Vegas.
The quarterfinals officially tip off on Monday, December 4 with the Celtics taking on the Pacers. Later that day, the Kings will meet the Pelicans at Golden 1 Center.
Tuesday, the quarterfinals conclude with the Suns and Lakers facing off. For the entire schedule, check below.
The Kings have played the Pelicans twice already this season, losing both games. With all their size and interior presence, the Pelicans do not present a favorable matchup for the Kings.
The second matchup was a close game, however, and with the NBA Cup on the line, we should expect the Kings to fight even harder.