Sabonis returns to the “MVP” chants in the Kings’ victory over the Thunder

Sacramento Kings forward Domantas Sabonis (10) lights up the beam after the Kings' 118-113 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, Friday, Jan. 20, 2023.

Sacramento Kings ahead Domantas Sabonis (10) lights up the beam after the Kings’ 118-113 win over the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder on the Golden 1 Middle in Sacramento, Friday, Jan. 20, 2023.

Domantas Sabonis returned to the lineup after lacking a sport resulting from sickness to assist the Kings proceed their profitable streak.

Rookie Keegan Murray produced the most effective sport of his profession and Sabonis scored a triple-double, main the Kings to a 118-113 victory over the Oklahoma Thunder earlier than a crowd of 17,932 on the Golden 1 Middle.

Murray posted profession highs of 29 factors and 14 rebounds for the Kings (26-18), who gained a six-straight level sport in opposition to the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday. Murray went 10-of-12 from the sphere and 5-of-7 from 3-point vary.

Dearon Fox scored 25 factors for Sacramento. Sabonis completed with 18 factors, 13 rebounds and 14 assists, recording his fifth triple-double of the season whereas extending his file streak of 21 consecutive double-doubles. A boisterous crowd sang the two-time All-Star with MVP chants within the fourth quarter.

Murray mentioned, “He is undoubtedly an All-Star and…if we hold profitable the way in which we’re profitable now, he could be within the MVP dialog.” “I believe he is the most effective participant within the league.”

After the match, Sabonis was known as out to gentle the beam.

Shay Gilgos-Alexander had 37 factors and 7 assists for the Thunder (22-24), who gained 4 straight and 6 of seven. Isaiah Joe got here off the bench to attain 21 factors on 7-of-12 capturing from 3-point vary.

The Kings are again at full energy with Sabonis, Matthew Dellavedova and Alex Lin returning to motion after lacking Wednesday’s win over the Los Angeles Lakers resulting from sicknesses aside from COVID-19. Goalkeeper Terrence Davis was additionally in query resulting from sickness, however he was cleared to play as effectively.

Kings coach Mike Brown mentioned Sabonis wouldn’t have a minute restrict, noting he had not been out of the lineup for lengthy.

“He missed two days after which he educated and he was capturing right this moment, so I am good with him enjoying,” Brown mentioned earlier than the sport. “Our medical workers says there is not any want for set minutes, so we’ll play it like that. … If it is greater than two days, it is most likely a priority.”

Sabonis admitted that the primary quarter was “undoubtedly robust.”

“I needed to put my lungs and legs below me, however after that first quarter, I type of felt like myself,” Sabonis mentioned.

The Kings trailed 9-2 after taking a 0-of-4 lead from the sphere to start out the sport. They made 12 of their subsequent 16 pictures to take a 33-32 lead on the finish of the primary quarter.

Oklahoma Metropolis went up by six early within the second quarter and took a nine-point lead after a 3-pointer by Joe with 5:13 to play within the half. The Kings trailed 66-59 at halftime, however got here again to take a 67-66 lead on Harrison Barnes’ 3-pointer early within the second half.

Fox delivered a three-pointer working again on the buzzer to place Sacramento up 91-88 on the finish of the third quarter. The Kings had been nonetheless holding on to a three-point lead when Murray made his first three throws of the fourth quarter.

The Kings went up by 10 on two Sabonis free throws and held on after the Thunder compelled a collection of turnovers for a 9-2 lead late on.

Oklahoma Metropolis outgained Sacramento 48.4% to 47.4%, however the Kings had a 52-36 rebounding benefit and made 24 of 28 free throws whereas the Thunder hit 7 of 11.

The Kings gained six straight video games and 9 of 12 to go eight runs over . 500 for the primary time since 2004-2005. That is the primary time they’ve achieved two units of wins in six video games in a single season since 2002-03.

The Kings are 6-2 of their final eight residence video games. They’re first within the Pacific Division and third within the Western Convention going into Saturday’s sport in opposition to the 76ers, who’re tied for second within the Japanese Convention.

“I am simply so pleased with us for taking good care of this home,” Sabonis mentioned. “We talked about it, that right here we had a few video games that had been speculated to be winnable video games, and we went out and took care of enterprise. We dropped a few of what we should always have gained, however general we’re blissful, and we simply should hold constructing and hold getting higher..”

This story was initially printed January 20, 2023 11:01 PM.

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Jason Anderson is an award-winning sportswriter for The Sacramento Bee. He started his journalism profession at The Bee over 20 years in the past and returned to cowl the Sacramento Kings in September 2018.

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