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De’Aaron Fox Leads Kings Over Knicks In Must Win Game

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

They aren’t all going to be pretty, but a win is a win.

An early start time, sluggish first quarter, and rough shooting performance wasn’t enough to slow the Sacramento Kings down in New York as they defeated the Knicks 112-104 on Saturday at Madison Square Garden. It was a game the Kings needed to win as they look to keep pace in the race for the eighth seed spot.

De’Aaron Fox put Sacramento on his back on Saturday, scoring 30 points on 11-of-17 shooting while dishing out 8 assists. After a 22-9 run by New York to open up the fourth, the Kings saw their 12 point lead turn into a one point disadvantage. In a game that saw Buddy Hield struggle for a majority of regulation, Fox answered the call as go-to scorer as he scored 12 points in the last seven minutes of regulation, including an and-one basket to put Sacramento up by eight with just over a minute remaining.

Fox scored 30 points for the third time this season, falling just a point shy of tying his career-high.

Buddy Hield had a rough shooting performance, shooting 7-of-19 from the field, including 4-of-11 from three. After starting off the game making only two of his first twelve attempts, Hield turned it on in the third as he scored 14 points in the period, helping push Sacramento to a 15-0 run to end the quarter and a 80-68 lead heading into the fourth.

The second most valuable player on Saturday was without a doubt Nemanja Bjelica. The bigman from Serbia scored 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, providing an incredible spark off of the bench. Bjelica’s defense proved huge down the stretch, as he supplied two big blocks in the second half to go along with two steals. “Nemanja had more deflections on defense than anyone else today”, Kings coach Dave Joerger said after the game. Bjelica has stepped up in the wake of Marvin Bagley III’s absence, and will need to do so for a while longer. Bagley has resumed basketball activities, but there is still no timetable for his return.

Newly acquired Knicks Dennis Smith Jr. and DeAndre Jordan led the way for the Knicks, as Smith had 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists while Jordan had 14 points and 15 rebounds. With the loss, New York fell to a league-worst 13-53.

Sacramento improved to 33-32, pulling to within 3.5 games of the eighth seed San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs have a tough game coming up on Sunday as they will face the powerhouse Milwaukee Bucks. With their 33rd win of the season, the Kings tied their best win total in the past 11 seasons (the 2015-16 team won 33 games as well).

Coming Up

The Kings will look to keep pace in the playoff race on Monday when they head to D.C. to face the Washington Wizards.

Washington, sitting at 27-38 on the season, are no slouch at home as they hold a 19-12 record at Capital One Arena. All-star guard Bradley Beal is averaging 25.4 points per game this season, and will prove to be tough matchup for Sacramento.

Catch all the action right here on Sports 1140 KHTK, starting with pregame coverage at 3:30pm followed by tipoff at 4:00pm.