SACRAMENTO -- A week ago, De’Aaron Fox was wearing strips of tape all over his shoulder trying to support the ailing joint. Saturday against the Golden State Warriors, he took a brutal knee to the thigh from Kevon Looney that sent him to the locker room. He also needed stitches in his right eyelid after a hard foul.
This is the life of an NBA point guard, especially one that runs circles around his opponents. When teams get an opportunity to get physical with the 6-foot-3, 175-pound guard, they tend to play rough.
Fox hasn’t quite looked himself of late. The wear and tear of playing 32 minutes a game and not missing a contest all season appears to have taken a toll. On Monday against the Magic, he finally started looked like his old self.
“I had treatment, had a day to get back,” Fox said. “It’s the first game I think I truly played healthy in a while. I mean, it felt good.”
The 21-year-old missed nine games due to injury in his rookie season. With him being the focal point of the team, he took on the challenge of preparing better for the grind during the summer.
“I prepared to pay 82 games this year,” Fox said. “Going into my rookie season, we were preparing for it, but we didn’t know what that felt like. I think playing that year of experience, going through that, you kind of know what it feels like and I think you can better prepare yourself for it.”
Fox finished the night with a team-high 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting in just 23 minutes of action. He was aggressive on both ends of the court and helped put the game away early.
He was even finishing with a couple of highlight-reel dunks, including a hammer over Magic big man Nikola Vucevic.
"All I see is Fox is flying,” Buddy Hield said. “He gets up there. He's sneaky athletic. When he gets up there, he makes everybody go, wow. That's Fox, man. He's a special talent."
Fox picked up a technical for trash talking after the dunk.
“I really said something nice to him, but Mike [Callahan] didn’t hear it, he just saw me talking,” Fox said.
It was the third technical foul call of the season for the Kings’ sophomore phenom. Evan Fournier hit the free throw, but it didn’t have an impact on the game with Sacramento coming away with the 111-95 win.
The victory snapped the Kings four-game losing streak and moved them back to the .500 mark at 20-20.
“It’s great for us to get a game like that,” Fox said. “We dropped a few that we probably should have won. We had a game where we were up 14 at halftime and lost. So it was good for us to have that.”
There’s no time to celebrate for Sacramento. They hopped on a plane for Phoenix following the game where they’ll take on the Suns on the second night of a back-to-back. With a win, the Kings would secure a .500 record at the midway point of the season, which hasn’t happened since 2004-05 season.