It’s a god damn shame that the game between the Sacramento Kings and LA Clippers wasn’t a nationally televised affair. It was certainly one of the most thrilling games in recent years and undoubtedly the wildest game of the 2022-23 season so far. If you missed the game, I strongly suggest that you find a way to watch the replay.
The Kings, who battled through most of the game with Domantas Sabonis in foul trouble, somehow found a way back in the game after falling behind by 14 points with 4:25 left in the fourth quarter. While many teams may have folded right there, especially on the second night of a back-to-back set.
The fighting spirit certainly didn’t disappear for Sacramento though, as withstood a near-perfect performance from Kawhi Leonard, who put up 44 points, four rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks while shooting 16 of 22 overall and 6 of 9 from three.
Paul George also poured in 34 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, a steal and a block while making 9 of 18 field goals and 5 of 9 triples. To top it off, Norman Powell and Nicolas Batum combined for 43 points on 10 of 18 from deep.
That effort would have been enough for just about any team to win, considering that the Clippers scored 175 points. However, the Kings had 176 of their own because of a nuclear explosion from Malik Monk, who had his career night with 45 points and six assists on 15 of 24 shooting (6 of 12 from three). Monk was there to bail them out during the big moments, including hitting the game-tying three at the end of the fourth quarter.
Monk also hit a three that got the Kings to within one in the second OT.
Monk’s performance was exactly what the Kings’ two stars needed to help put them over the top, as his former Kentucky teammate De’Aaron Fox also had 42 points, five rebounds, 12 assists and five steals in another clutch performance that will make everyone forget about his lackluster All-Star game appearance. Fox, who is the frontrunner for the inaugural Jerry West award, furthered his case by making the go-ahead basket that ultimately won them the game.
Domantas Sabonis also added in 20 points, 10 rebounds and four assists in limited time, as he battled foul trouble the entire game and finished with a league-leading eighth foul out of the season.
While the 176-175 final score was the second-highest in NBA history, what helped save the game for the Kings in the fourth quarter and overtime was their defense – which to be fair hasn’t been the best this season. They did just enough to help their league-best offense to win today, and it was an important victory because of it gave them some direct space between them and a conference rival that is hot on their heels.
The win puts the Kings even closer to their dream of finally ending a 17-year playoff drought, and this will have been their most satisfying ‘Light the Beam’ moment of the season so far.