Kings

Metu's game-winning buzzer-beater seals Kings' win over Mavs

Kings

Shortly after pandemonium ensued at Golden 1 Center, a collective sigh of relief could be heard from a mile away. 

By beating the Dallas Mavericks 95-94 Wednesday night, the Kings' struggles and frustrations of recent weeks were eased thanks to Chimezie Metu's buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of regulation. 

Metu, the unlikely hero Wednesday night, gave the Kings their second straight win by splashing a wide-open shot from the corner. 

The fourth-year center/forward is a career 26.6 percent shooter from distance but you wouldn't have been able to tell based on the way he shot the game-winner. 

“It felt great, man," Metu told reporters postgame. "It felt great. I started off the season struggling to shoot the ball. The coaching staff, team, teammates kept believing in me, kept on telling me to shoot it. I’m not going to lie, for a couple of days, my confidence has been shot a little bit. But I just kept working and obviously in the right place at the right time. [DeAaron] Fox made a great pass and the rest is history.”

The play was actually designed for star point guard De'Aaron Fox, who dished it to Metu, fulfilling a promise he made to him earlier in the season. 

“He basically drew it up, had two guys cutting off of Fox," Metu added. "He caught it, he was going to go downhill, the play was for him obviously. There was a game earlier this year where he told me that if I was open he was going to throw it to me.”

 

Metu rose to the occasion despite not being the obvious choice with the game on the line.

Coach Alvin Gentry even admitted that the Kings had other plans for Chimezie in that situation.  

“We did go back and forth on that," Gentry said. "We thought about putting someone else in but just instinctively we decided to go with [Chimezie], we thought that also there might be an opportunity for a lob situation if it came down to that. He made a big shot for us, and the thing that I like most is that he shot it with confidence. Whether it goes in or it didn’t go in, the fact that he shot it with the confidence that he did, I think is the thing that matters most.”

For Metu, his confidence had wavered because of recent struggles, despite putting in so much work behind the scenes. Immediately after his heroic moment -- and a quick chat with reporters postgame -- he was back on the floor putting in work. 

“We’re all proud of him," rookie Davion Mitchell said postgame. "He’s always in the gym, he’s always the first person in the gym. He’s in the gym right now, like he’s on the practice floor right now working out. We knew he was going to hit that shot, we’re glad he took that shot. We all had confidence in him and he knocked it down.”

“It’s definitely a confidence booster," De'Aaron Fox added. "Making a big shot, making a game-winner especially at the buzzer down two. If you miss we lose, if you make it we win. He’s in position to have a lot of catch-and-shoots with the guys that we’ve got on our team. We tell him that we trust him to take those shots. He was in the game for a reason, to space the floor in case I get downhill and someone helps. He was ready for the moment.”

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Wednesday night's buzzer-beater certainly will be a moment Metu never will forget and hopefully one that both he and the Kings can use to power them forward. 

“It was great, it was a great moment," Metu said. "Since I've been in the league for sure one of the best moments that I’ve had. I love my teammates and I know they feel the same way about me. For us to go out there and grind it out felt good.”

Winners of back-to-back games, the Kings will carry their winning streak into a rematch against this very same Mavericks team Friday night at Golden 1 Center following a much-needed day off on Thursday.