Haliburton Scores Career-High As Kings’ Third-Straight Win
Four Kings players finished with 20 points or more during Saturday’s win against Denver
The future is here.
De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton combined for 19 points in the fourth quarter, leading the Sacramento Kings to a 119-114 win over the Denver Nuggets at Golden 1 Center on Saturday afternoon.
Sacramento (11-11) improves to .500 on the season after winning their third-straight game, with six of their last seven contests resulting in additions to the ‘W’ column.
Tyrese Haliburton’s three-pointer to increase the lead to 113-104 with 57 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter would serve as the end of the night for Denver, as the Kings would hold off a late charge by All-Star center Nikola Jokic to hang on for the win.
Jokic scored 23 of his career-high 50 points in the fourth quarter, doing everything in his power to will the Nuggets to a win.
Not even 50 points, eight rebounds or 12 assists would be enough for ‘Joker’, as the Nuggets would lose their season series against the Kings for the first time since the 2015-16 season.
Once there was under six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, De’Aaron Fox and Haliburton became the offense.
The young duo would account for every remaining made Sacramento field goal down the stretch, combining to score 19 points in the final frame.
Haliburton would finish with a career-high 23 points on eight-of-12 shooting from the field–including four-of-seven from beyond the three-point arc. The rookie guard also grabbed four rebounds and dished six assists in the strongest showing of his young career.
“I enjoy winning. I want to win in everything I do. So if I can control that push for winning, that’s what I’m going to do. When it’s winning time, I’m ready,” Haliburton told the media postgame.
With each passing game, Haliburton turns more into an integral piece of this young Kings franchise. He very well could already be the second-most important player on this roster.
“He has poise and confidence that you don’t see out of many rookies,” former Kings coach and current Nuggets head coach Mike Malone said of the rookie postgame. “He is not afraid to take and make big shots.”
De’Aaron Fox, ‘Mr. Fourth Quarter’ himself, scored 24 points to go along with five assists over 38 minutes of action.
Not that it is even a surprise anymore, but Harrison Barnes has been playing the best basketball of his career this season.
The veteran forward would continue his strong play on Saturday, scoring 13 of his 28 points in third quarter alone. Barnes’ strong play helped Sacramento stretch their lead to 87-81 entering the fourth quarter.
Barnes finished 10-of-16 from the field and five-of-seven from three-point range while also posting seven rebounds and four assists.
The veteran forward has been a major component of Sacramento’s success, playing like an All-Star forward over the first quarter of the regular season. Barnes is averaging career-high’s nearly across the board so far, most notably in field-goal percentage (50%) and three-point field goal percentage (41%).
Near the end of Saturday’s game, Barnes seemed to have hurt his hand/wrist area, but the 28-year-old told the media postgame that he would be good to go for Sunday’s game in Los Angeles.
Hassan Whiteside put up his first double-double of the season, scoring 11 points, pulling down 11 rebounds and swatting a season-high four blocked shots, including a highlight reel stop at the rim on Denver forward JaMychal Green during the first half.
Whiteside wasn’t the only Kings center to have a strong game against Denver, with Richaun Holmes once again topping the 20-point mark for the fifth time this season.
Holmes logged another double-double, scoring 21 points (nine-of-13 from the field) to go along with 10 rebounds and two blocks.
Buddy Hield had a rough night from the field, as his 87-game streak with a made three-point field goal came to an end after missing all nine of his attempts against Denver.
Hield wouldn’t let that ruin his evening, as the 28-year-old guard finished with a season-high seven assists during the win.
As noted earlier, the Kings have won their season series against Denver for the first time since the 2015-16 season after going 3-0 against the Nuggets this year.
Denver was without its starting backcourt on Saturday afternoon, with both Jamal Murray (knee soreness) and Gary Harris (thigh) sitting out due to injury.
Two games over a 24 hour span?
The Kings will tip off in–checks watch–just over 18 hours from now when they face Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers at the STAPLES Center in a Super Bowl Sunday matinee.
Sacramento has suffered two blowout losses against the Clippers this season, with the most recent being a 115-96 loss on January 20th.
Clippers All-Star forward Paul George (toe) and guard Patrick Beverley (knee) will not play on Sunday due to injury.
Be sure to tune in for all of the action, starting with pregame coverage at 11:30am PST before action tips off at 12:00pm PST.
Stay tuned in after the game for coverage of Super Bowl LV, with Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers slated to face defending champion quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Upcoming Kings Schedule
- 2/7: @ Los Angeles Clippers
- 2/9: vs Philadelphia 76ers
- 2/12: vs Orlando Magic
- 2/14: vs Memphis Grizzlies
- 2/15: vs Brooklyn Nets