Sabonis’ double-double helps Kings power past Spurs 119-109
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Domantas Sabonis scored a season-high 34 points and had 11 rebounds and the Sacramento Kings beat San Antonio 119-109 on Wednesday night, handing the beleaguered Spurs their seventh straight loss.
“If they are going to be down there trying to guard him one-on-one, ‘Hey, yo, go score,'” Kings guard De’Aaron Fox said. “If you have to shoot the ball 10, 15 times in a row, do it.”
Sabonis finished 15 for 20 from the field.
Fox added 31 points, 10 assists and had just one turnover for Sacramento, which has won two straight and nine of 12 to remain atop the Pacific Division.
The Spurs, who have lost 12 of 13, were led by a season-high 22 points from rookie Malaki Branham. But already without Devin Vassell, the Spurs lost starters Tre Jones and Jeremy Sochan to injury in the first quarter.
Even without three of its top six scorers, San Antonio kept pace with Sacramento’s league-leading offense for most of the game. Josh Richardson added 19 points for the Spurs in his return after missing three games with a sore left knee.
“They do it every game,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “They stick with it and they play hard every game. One out of every 10 or so, we might lay and egg, but everybody else does the same thing. I have always been pleased with their effort and their stick-to-itiveness.”
Sacramento, which matched its season average of 119.5 points per game, went on a 14-2 run in taking a 49-37 lead midway through the second quarter.
The Kings were 8 for 27 on 3-pointers, but compensated for the poor outside shooting with a season-high 74 points in the paint.
Sabonis ignited the inside dominance, scoring 17 points primarily in the paint in the first quarter while shooting 7 for 9.
“In the first quarter, they were trying to play him one-on-one and not allow him to spread the ball,” Fox said. “Obviously, he’s a super unselfish guy, but if they are going to guard him like that, we all tell him, go score the ball because at some point they are going to have to start helping.”
The Spurs pulled within three points twice in the third quarter and cut the deficit to 89-88 two minutes into the fourth on Doug McDermott’s cutting layup. But the Kings responded each time with a short run to maintain their advantage.
“Stopping them from getting in the paint,” Sacramento guard Malik Monk said. “After they made a little run, we locked in. Went to the timeout, said, ‘We can’t let them in the paint,’ and we did that. That’s how we held the lead.”
Monk added 22 points while playing 33 minutes off the bench.
Kings: Sabonis’ previous high was 31 points against Denver on Dec. 28. … Sacramento did not have a single player listed on its injury report. … The Kings clinched the season series with their third victory over The Spurs. The series finale is April 2 in Sacramento. The Kings’ last loss to the Spurs was 136-117 on Nov. 10, 2021, in San Antonio.
Spurs: Popovich said there was no update on Sochan and Jones’ status after the game. Sochan exited with 5:11 remaining in the first quarter after clutching at his lower back. Sochan was fouled while fighting for position under the rim against Fox. Jones left with 2:58 remaining in the first after injuring his left foot. … G Romeo Langford missed his fifth straight game with left adductor tightness. … C Zach Collins had 14 points on 7-for-9 shooting.
Sabonis and Fox put up double-doubles in their final game before All-Star reserves are announced Thursday.
Sacramento coach Mike Brown hopes their outings serve as a punctuation to their selections given how well both have played for the surprising Kings this season.
“I hope so,” Brown said. “You’ve got to think people would take into consideration your record. To me, Fox and Domas are clear All-Stars, but at the end of the day, it’s not just my decision.”
Kings: At Indiana on Friday.
Spurs: Host Philadelphia on Friday.
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