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Sabonis Records 20-20 Performance, Elevates Kings in Western Conference with Victory Against Los Angeles Clippers

Malik Monk received a warm reception as he was shown on the bench via the arena’s giant videoboard during the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers. The Kings are striving to secure enough victories in the coming weeks to prolong their season, giving Monk a chance to recover from the right MCL sprain he sustained last week. Their efforts are off to a promising start. Domantas Sabonis spearheaded the charge with an impressive performance, amassing 22 points, 20 rebounds, and nine assists, propelling the Kings to a commanding 109-95 triumph over the Clippers before a packed audience of 17,832 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento. Sabonis’s remarkable display extended his streak of consecutive double-doubles to 58, setting a new record for the longest single-season streak since the ABA-NBA merger in 1976.

“Domas has so many damn records I can’t figure it out,” remarked Kings coach Mike Brown. “Hell of a job by him.” De’Aaron Fox contributed 20 points and seven assists for the Kings (44-31), who climbed into a tie with the Phoenix Suns for seventh place in the Western Conference playoff standings. Keegan Murray chipped in with 19 points, while Trey Lyles, in his second game back from a left knee sprain, provided a valuable boost off the bench with 15 points, four rebounds, and five assists. “The last 2 ½ weeks was tough for me, just having to sit back and watch and not be able to go out there and help the team out,” Lyles shared. “But now, being back is obviously where I want to be.”

Davion Mitchell contributed 14 points, four rebounds, and three assists, showcasing his sharpshooting prowess by going 4 of 7 from beyond the arc. Alex Len made his presence felt on the defensive end, securing seven rebounds and earning a plus-18 rating in just 12 minutes of action. Mitchell’s consistent shooting has proven invaluable for the Kings, particularly in the absence of Monk and Huerter due to injuries. Mitchell posted impressive shooting percentages of 47.6% from 3-point range in February and 41.7% in March. “Malik was a key piece in our offense, scoring the ball, facilitating,” Mitchell acknowledged. “I just kind of listen to the coaches and take what the defense gives me. They just tell me to be aggressive.”

For the Clippers (47-28), Russell Westbrook led the scoring with 20 points, followed by Paul George with 18 points and Norman Powell with 17. James Harden struggled, managing only six points on 1-of-7 shooting along with five turnovers, while Kawhi Leonard was sidelined due to right knee soreness.

The Kings, currently eighth in the Western Conference, are vying for playoff positioning amidst stiff competition. They trail the fifth-seeded Dallas Mavericks by two games, the sixth-seeded New Orleans Pelicans by 1 ½ games, and the seventh-seeded Phoenix Suns by half a game, with the Los Angeles Lakers trailing closely behind by 1 ½ games in ninth place. Despite the challenges posed by injuries to Monk and Huerter, the Kings remain resilient, determined to navigate through adversity and secure victories. “We’ve always been confident throughout the course of the year and you just run into new things that you’ve got to figure out,” Brown emphasized. “We just have to keep finding a way.”

Barnes has been named a finalist for the 2023-24 NBA Sportsmanship Award, underscoring his exemplary character both on and off the court. Additionally, he is a finalist for the Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award. “It does not surprise me,” Brown expressed. “Harrison should be up for those types of awards every single year he’s in the league. He’s just a great, great human being.”

Stockton native and MMA star Nate Diaz made an appearance at the game, sitting courtside with Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé and his daughter, Anjali Ranadivé. The Kings will embark on a four-game road trip, commencing with a visit to the New York Knicks on Thursday at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks (44-31) are currently fifth in the Eastern Conference and will pose a formidable challenge for the Kings as they seek to maintain their momentum.

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