Fox delivers another clutch performance in Kings’ win vs. Knicks originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
When the Kings need a bucket late in a game, they know who to call: De’Aaron Fox.
In the Kings’ 122-117 win over the New York Knicks on Thursday at Golden 1 Center, Fox was suspiciously quiet in the first three quarters of the game. However, when the fourth quarter came around, it was Fox’s time to shine on both sides of the ball.
“I think there’s always a chance that I could go on a run,” Fox told reporters postgame. “It is what it is, you just keep with it.
“But for us, I wouldn’t say that’s why we won the game, I think we were able to get key stops, we were able to execute down the stretch and I think that’s what ultimately won us this game.”
Scoring just eight points in the first three quarters, the All-Star guard dropped 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field, 1 of 2 from 3-point land in the final 12 minutes of the game, essentially putting the Kings (39-26) on his back against a pesky Knicks (39-29) squad.
Fox finished the game with 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting from the field, seven assists and three rebounds to go along with three steals in just under 31 minutes of action.
Although the NBA is beginning to recognize Fox’s ability to make clutch plays, Fox’s former Kentucky and current Kings teammate Malik Monk has been observing it for years.
“It’s Fox man, I’ve been seeing him for almost all my life, I know what he’s going to do,” Monk told reporters of Fox’s impressive fourth-quarter exploits. “I know how to say something to get him turned on too.”
After leading by as much as 21 points in the third quarter, the Kings saw their lead over the Knicks dwindle to just single digits to start the fourth quarter. When asked after the game how Sacramento’s offense is able to sustain its high-octane nature in the fourth quarter, Kings center Domantas Sabonis praised Fox.
“We just gave the ball to Fox,” Sabonis told TNT’s Stephanie Ready after the game. “I take it out of bounds, I’m not even past halfcourt and he’s already getting a layup or a dunk.
“So, props to him, he’s been amazing for us all year.”
At one point, Fox scored nine straight points in the fourth quarter for the Kings to keep the surging Knicks at bay.
Although Fox is a crucial component to the Kings’ win in the fourth quarter, he was by no means alone in the win.
Sabonis notched his ninth triple-double of the season with 24 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists while Monk and Trey Lyles combined for 35 points off the bench. Overall, Sacramento had seven players score in double figures compared to New York’s four.
With his 15-point outburst in the final 12 minutes of play, Fox has now scored 10-plus points in the fourth quarter 23 times this season, tied with Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo for the most in the NBA this season.
More importantly, Sacramento remained in sole possession of the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference despite the Memphis Grizzlies beating the Golden State Warriors as the Kings hold the tiebreaker over the Grizzlies via conference record.
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As the Kings turn their attention to the NBA playoffs, they understand that the postseason atmosphere will make winning games much more difficult.
However, as long as Fox is playing in the fourth quarter, Sacramento will always have a chance.