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Fox’s 13-Point Fourth Quarter Leads Kings To Thrilling Win Over Celtics

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Three Kings players scored 20 points or more, including a career-high 21 points from Tyrese Haliburton

Over the past three games, there has been a resounding answer to the question, “Who is the closer for this Sacramento Kings team?”

The answer: De’Aaron Martez Fox.

Fox continued his All-Star bid with another incredible performance, scoring 13 points in the final period to pace the Kings to a narrow 116-111 win over Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics.

Sacramento (10-11) has won five of their last six games, pulling themselves to within one game of the .500 mark.

Fox dropped 17 points in the fourth quarter against both Miami and New Orleans before pouring in 13 points over the final 12 minutes on Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center.

Along with his team-high 26 points (nine-of-17 from the field), Fox notched his fourth double-double of the season with 11 assists.

The 23-year-old looked as if he aggravated a lower-body injury in his high thigh/hip area during the closing minutes of the game.

After a Kings timeout, Fox would put any concerns to rest after he drilled a step-back jumper with less than a minute remaining to put Sacramento up by three, signaling the end for Boston.

Over his last 11 games, Fox is looking like an All-Star with per game averages of 26.1 points, 8.0 assists and 1.1 steals per game while shooting just under 50-percent from the field.

Responding To Runs

Sacramento fell behind by double-digits several times against Boston, but the Kings would never let the deficit grow larger than 11 points.

Fox, Tyrese Haliburton and Harrison Barnes were all dialed in against the Celtics defense, with all three players scoring more than 20 points during the win.

Haliburton, the reigning Western Conference Rookie of the Month, scored a career-high 21 points on eight-of-15 shooting from the field, including five-of-nine from the three-point line.

Haliburton’s basketball IQ was on full display, with the 20-year-old acting as the driving force behind a big third-quarter Kings run that would erase a double-digits Celtics lead as play creeped towards the fourth.

With the game tied at 102-102 with just over two minutes remaining, the former Iowa State Cyclone would knock down a big three to put the Kings in control for good.

Big plays–veteran plays–from a player that has only appeared in 19 games.

“I just want to win games and get the Kings back to the playoffs,” Haliburton said during his postgame media session.

Kings fans have to be excited watching the young duo of Fox and Haliburton close games out like they did on Wednesday. Both guards seem to compliment one another’s skillset, a very good sign for the future of this franchise.

One of this season’s largest bright spots continued to shine on Wednesday night, with Harrison Barnes yet again doing all that he could for his team. Barnes scored 24 points, dished six assists and collected five rebounds in another all-around solid effort by the 28-year-old forward.

Rounding Up The Rest

Buddy Hield posted his first double-double of the season, finishing with 15 points and 11 rebounds in the win against Boston.

Hassan Whiteside flirted with a double-double on Wednesday night, scoring 9 points to go along with 9 rebounds over 17 minutes.

“We can’t be satisfied,” Whiteside said following the win. “We need to keep it going. I think we should be (on) a six game winning streak…we gotta have that mindset. We gotta be greedy.”

For only the third time this season, Marvin Bagley III did not see the floor for more than 20 minutes, finishing with 9 points (all scored in the first-half) and six rebounds for Sacramento.

With Tyrese Haliburton having a career night and Hield doing work on the glass, Bagley took a seat for the final period yet again, as head coach Luke Walton opted to run with his closing lineup of Fox, Hield, Haliburton, Barnes and Richaun Holmes.

While the Kings want Bagley to become a defensive asset in the coming years, it is clear that he is not going to be a late-game option on this year’s team.

When it comes down to it, Walton and his staff are hitting most of the right buttons as of late, with Sacramento playing their best basketball of the season.

The Kings are one Jimmy Butler game-winner away from a six-game winning streak.

Winning basketball games is fun. And right now, the Kings are fun.

A tough stretch of games are on the horizon, starting with a back-to-back this weekend against the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers.

The heat is about to turn up for the Sacramento Kings.

If they play their upcoming slate of games with a similar effort to the way that they have played over the past six games, you have to feel good about their chances more times than not.

Coming Up

Sacramento will face the Denver Nuggets for the third time this season when All-Star center Nikola Jokic and former Kings head coach Mike Malone travel to Golden 1 Center for a Saturday matinee.

The Kings are 2-0 against the Nuggets this season. A win on Saturday would give Sacramento its first season series win over Denver since the 2015-16 season.

Be sure to tune in for all of the action right here on Sports 1140 KHTK, with pre-game coverage starting at 1:30pm PST followed by tip-off at 2:00pm PST.