NBA: Kings visit Wizards with eyes clearly on postseason prize
The Sacramento Kings will aim to continue their ascent on Saturday night when they visit the Washington Wizards.
The Kings (42-27) have won 10 of their past 12 games overall and 12 of their past 16 on the road to clinch their first winning season since 2005-06. That season remains noteworthy for Sacramento, as it was the last time the franchise qualified for the playoffs.
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His team’s accomplishment notwithstanding, De’Aaron Fox said he’d rather look ahead than behind.
“I don’t think anybody on our team was coming into the season like, ‘Oh, we (just) want a winning record,'” Fox said following the Kings’ 101-96 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday. “But I think it’s good. I think it’s good for the franchise, it’s good for the city, it’s good for the fan base to finally get that out of the way.
“But, for us, we know that we still want to do bigger things.”
Domantas Sabonis collected 24 points and 21 rebounds on Thursday, marking the fourth time this season he has reached the 20-20 plateau. Sabonis also had five assists and four blocks vs. Brooklyn.
“I don’t know if (Sabonis) knows another way. He’s got one gear, and it’s the highest gear,” Sacramento coach Mike Brown said. … “He sets the tone for us with his physicality. He was great (Thursday) because — we stay on him about it — but he’s got to continue playing as hard as he does and as physical as he does, but doing that while showing his hands (on defense) so he doesn’t get in early foul trouble.”
Sabonis recorded 20 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists in the Kings’ 125-111 loss to the Wizards on Dec. 23. Fox added 26 points and seven rebounds.
Sacramento, however, might be without starting shooting guard Kevin Huerter, who is day-to-day after an MRI revealed a mild strain of the popliteus muscle in his right leg. Terence Davis and Kessler Edwards could see additional playing time should Huerter sit out on Saturday.
Bradley Beal scored 24 points in the initial meeting with the Kings and added 22 in Washington’s 117-94 setback to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday. Beal has reached the 20-point plateau in 32 games this season, including seven of his past eight appearances for the Wizards (32-38).
Kristaps Porzingis added 20 points and nine rebounds on Friday as Washington fell for the sixth time in eight games. Porzingis has at least 20 points in 41 games this season, including 22 of his past 30 appearances.
“We didn’t do a very good job of creating leads or early separation, and kind of allowed them to kinda set a tone blowing our actions up, which facilitated some of those turnovers,” Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. “I thought how they got out, got behind us a little bit early in the game, and that’s what kind of got them going.”
Kyle Kuzma returned from a one-game absence due to right knee soreness and scored seven points while batting foul trouble. He had 32 points on 14-of-23 shooting from the floor in the previous meeting against the Kings.
–Field Level Media
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