I can’t remember the last time I was this excited about a Sacramento Kings basketball game, and that excitement is doing an absolute number on my nerves. It feels both amazing and daunting to feel this good about this team. Coming in with the momentum of a three-game winning streak, the Beam Team hosted the Brooklyn Nets for their first nationally televised game of the season. The national stage was set, the lights were extra bright, and the home crowd did not disappoint. Tonight was the Kings’ first chance to prove themselves to a league-wide audience. Let’s see how they did:
Outcome: Kings win, 153-121
Sacramento Kings: 153 pts, 60.2% fg, 48.8% 3 pt, 84.0% ft, 39 ast, 42 reb, 17 to
Brooklyn Nets: 121 pts, 49.4% fg, 39.3% 3pt, 90.9% ft, 25 ast, 29 reb, 17 to
LIGHT. THAT. BEAM!!! Under the judging eyes and pressure of a nationwide audience, the Kings completed their most dominant performance that I think we have seen in the last 16 years. In a rare turn of events, I am relatively speechless at what I just witnessed, but I will do my best to describe how beautiful this game was.
The Good, The Better, The Best, & The Rest
- Domas Dominance: Domantas Sabonis exerted his dominance early, absolutely terrorizing his matchup against the weaker Nic Claxton. Any time Sabonis was able to gain even an inch of post position, Claxton was already beat. Sabonis bullied his way to the rim for strong finishes, even when the Nets tried to send extra coverage. In his 28 minutes, Sabonis finished with 17 points while going 5-5 from the line. Once clearly established, Sabonis used this dominance to get the rest of his team involved. He used the extra attention to his advantage and found cutting and spotting teammates for open looks. This unselfish play resulted in seven assists for the big man. The Kings’ offensive control for the entirety of the game began with Sabonis playing like a star from the start.
- Defensive Execution: The Brooklyn Nets are kind of a hot mess right now, but they can never be counted out simply because they have Kevin Durant on their team. And the Kings showed an acute awareness of why this man is known as the Slim Reaper. Durant still had some incredible possessions, as all-time great players do. He finished with 27 points, going a perfect 11-11 from the line, in 31 minutes. But nothing was easy. The Kings showed an early intention of doubling Durant, forcing the ball out of his hands, and daring someone else on the Nets to beat them. And, boy, did it work. Constantly facing double teams 35-feet from the basket, Durant reluctantly gave the rock up to open teammates. The Kings’ scramble defense from this point was also impressive. Gray jerseys flew around the court, hands reached for the rafters, and feet shuffled more than a deck of cards at a casino. The Kings’ constant activity in recovering out of their double teams with hard closeouts and fake coverages made it difficult on the Nets to make quick decisions to their advantage. Through three quarters of Durant’s damage, the Kings held the Nets to just 7-21 from distance and forced 13 turnovers. The frenetic defensive energy paired with the precise execution of their strategy completely stymied the Nets.
- Non Stop Offense: This game was so fun. From start to finish, the Kings just kept scoring. In the 2nd quarter, the Nets closed in on the Kings’ early lead and tied the game at 40 points. But then the Kings turned on the freakin’ jets and never looked back. Their offense found its peak flow at this point with constant off-ball movement, sharp cuts, and quick decisions. The ball flew around the court, never stopping to let the defense catch a break, as the Kings completed 21 of their total 39 assists in the 2nd and 3rd quarters. The defensive energy was palpably contagious as it leaked into their transition offense. The Kings cashed in on 20 of their 41 3-point attempts, and it truly felt like they were going to make every shot that left their fingers. We even got to celebrate a Richaun Holmes 3-pointer late in the game. It was just one of those nights. Everybody got to share in on the fun and seven Kings finished in double figures.
- The Purple Lion is Out of the Bag: The purple beam is shining extra bright tonight as it illuminated every TV across the nation. Adam Silver got to enjoy the electric atmosphere of Golden 1 Center firsthand, and the NBA on TNT crew was forced to learn a few things about Sacramento Kings basketball. With this dominant performance, I expect the league to be put on notice about the Sacramento Kings and no longer write this team off as an easy night in their schedule.
The King of Kings
Terence Davis was built for the big stage. His energy off the bench was even more electric than usual, as he channeled all of his chaotic juice into a flat out amazing performance. Davis was the jet fuel for the Kings tonight, as he scored 10 straight points in response to the Nets evening the score in the 2nd quarter. And he didn’t stop there. He was everywhere, all night long. Leading the Kings in almost every category, Davis finished with 31 points on 7-10 from the 3-point line, three steals, four assists, nine rebounds, and one very deserving crown.
Thursday, November 17th vs. San Antonio Spurs – 7:00 PM (PT)