Kings

Fox's fourth-quarter flurry helped Kings take down Heat

Kings

The Kings went toe-to-toe with one of the better teams in the NBA and came out victorious, avoiding their signature second-half collapse. 

Beating the Miami Heat 115-113 Sunday night at Golden 1 Center, the Kings hung around for all four quarters thanks, in large part, to an all-around strong performance from point guard De'Aaron Fox who scored 24 points.

“It was definitely a great win, my team trusted me," Fox said on "Kings Postgame Live" immediately after the game. "I’ve struggled a lot this year, so fighting through that and the team still having a chance to close out a game like this against a team like this. Feels great and it’s a blessing and I was happy we were able to open up the new year with a win.”

The majority of Fox's 24 points came from the 14-of-15 total free throws he made Sunday night. 

"I think he walked to the line and shot the free throws with so much confidence," Interim coach Alvin Gentry told reporters postgame. "Just his overall play, not just on the offensive end, I thought defensively he was really really solid also and did a really good job.

“I thought he did a great job of attacking and he did a great job of going to the line and shooting them with confidence. Obviously, he was in the attack mode tonight. When you are able to get to the line 15 times obviously you’re in their paint and doing some good things.”

 

It was a physical contest, as Fox can attest to. Going to the line that many times is an indicator of what kind of battle takes place in the paint on any given night. 

“It was really just stay aggressive," Fox said postgame. "I got hit a lot, my arms were red, got cuts everywhere. That’s all it was, that team they’re very aggressive defensively on the ball … just try and use their aggressiveness against them, try to get downhill.”

Not only was the Kings' star solid offensively, but held his own defensively as well, matched up with Heat forward Jimmy Butler. Instead of double-teaming Butler -- which many teams do -- the Kings oftentimes had Fox alone with the five-time NBA All-Star and it worked out well. 

“Depending on who we’re playing and the way a lot of things go in this league," Fox told reporters. "A lot of switching happens and being on somebody like Jimmy, just trying to know his tendencies, knowing what he wants to do in the post as a guard definitely helps out a lot. He’s one of the strongest dudes in the league, especially on the wing, so just trying to hold your own.”

RELATED: NBA Power Rankings: Warriors still No. 1 as Klay's return nears

The Kings came away with an impressive win against a very good Miami team. Despite the struggles and the inconsistencies this season, Sacramento is still within striking distance of multiple playoff spots despite a disappointing 16-22 record. 

“I think it’s definitely big," Fox added. "Alvin talks about it, there’s not many games between the fifth, sixth seed and the 13th seed in the West. We control our own destiny throughout the rest of the season. We just need to stay on a steady pace instead of being on a rollercoaster. I think we were up four (points) in the third quarter and they hit us. But we have to stop being that team that gets hit first and then seeing how we reply. We definitely responded well tonight and we were able to grind this one out.”