SACRAMENTO -- Ice in his veins. After nearly turning the ball over five seconds earlier, rookie De’Aaron Fox went into attack mode and drilled a 19-foot pullup with 14.1 seconds remaining Thursday night. The shot gave Sacramento a 109-108 lead over the Philadelphia 76ers, which somehow held up.
Maybe Fox doesn’t know any better. At 19-years-old, he’s one of the youngest players in the NBA. But he’s showing the moxie of a seasoned veteran.
“For that guy, at that age, to be able to take that shot after the shooting night he had, even when the play may not have been drawn up that way, that just shows guts,” Garrett Temple said. “A lot of guts, a lot of gall for him to take that shot and make it. Pure.”
Fox had shot just 3-of-12 before knocking down the game winner. Dave Joerger showed great faith in sticking with the rookie point guard and he rewarded his coach with a second straight win.
“We drew up something, it didn’t look like anybody was getting open and I just bust to the top” Fox said. “He threw it and they backed up and that was the shot that I’ve been comfortable taking, and I made it.”
The final 14 seconds were a blur. Philly rushed up the court and fed Joel Embiid at the top of the key. The star big, who had been blocked by Willie Cauley-Stein on the previous two possessions, tried to go over the Kings center one more time. Embiid forced up a free throw line jumper that came off the iron and Golden 1 Center erupted.
THE SHOT BEFORE THE SHOT
Behind a ruckus sellout crowd, the Kings finished the night on a 7-0 run to come away with the one point win. Fox gets all the credit for the deciding hoop, but Temple’s shot moments before gave the Kings an opportunity for the comeback.
With just under a minute to play, Fox threw a ball that glanced off an official and ended up in Temple’s hands. Thinking the shot clock was about to expire, Temple hoisted a 26-footer that found the bottom of the net and cut the Sixers lead to just one.
“I just tried to throw it, it bumps off a ref and Garrett gets it,” Fox said. He thought the clock was running down. We really had like 10 seconds on the clock, but he took the shot and made it and it was huge and that gave us a lot of momentum.”
Like Fox, Temple was having a rough shooting night. He started the game just 1-of-6 from the field before dropping in the 3-ball with 50.6 remaining.
“I needed that big one for us to try to get a little closer,” Temple said. “Fox found me, or found the ref and then I found the ball and I was able to knock it down.”
After dropping seven straight, the Kings appear to have steadied the ship slightly, winning back-to-back games for the first time this season. They hit the road following the game, where they'll start their third three-game road trip of the early season Saturday against the Knicks.