Kings

Monk credits Domas' 'great' outing for Kings' win vs. Spurs

Kings

The Kings keep finding ways to win. 

Despite shooting 8-of-27 from the 3-point line, Sacramento found another avenue of attack in its 119-109 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday at AT&T Center: Using Domantas Sabonis' skillset to keep driving into the paint. 

"It feels good," Sabonis told Kyle Draper and Matt Barnes on "Kings Postgame Live." "We feel like it was a tough game, all game long. They're a very young and talented team and we had to come out from the beginning."

On paper, it seemed as if the Kings (29-21) would handily get the win over the struggling Spurs (14-38), who have lost nine out of their last 10 games -- with Sacramento beating San Antonio twice in that span. 

However, the young Spurs kept the game close throughout, never really letting the Kings get any breathing room. That is until Sabonis decided to take over. 

From the start, Sabonis came out of the gates firing, not giving the Spurs any sort of respite.

Just in the first quarter alone, the 26-year-old center had 17 of his season-high 34 points -- on 15-of-20 shooting-- constantly attacking the Spurs' Jakob Poeltl, Zach Collins and whoever was unfortunate enough to guard him. 

Even though their outside shots weren't falling, the Kings knew to throw it to their All-Star big man, who they can rely on to make good decisions with the basketball.

"The shots not falling, outside shots not going in and that's just Domas," Malik Monk told reporters postgame. "Domas opened everything up for us to make layups and make the lane easier and open for us. He's great."

 

With Sabonis being the point through which the offense passed through, Sacramento scored a season-high 74 points in the paint. That said, it wasn't just Sabonis that found seams in the Spurs' defense. Star guard De'Aaron Fox had his way as well.

After scoring 32 points in the Kings' impressive defensive victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday, Fox followed that up with a 31-point, 10-assist performance Wednesday in San Antonio on 13-of-23 shooting including 2-of-4 from 3-point land.

Along with Sabonis' outing, Monk knew that Fox would be there to lead the Kings to a win -- even with the team's offense struggling as a whole -- over a team that had lost six straight heading into Wednesday's contest. 

"We just have to get in better positions when the balls not going in," Monk continued. "Those two are All-Stars so they're going to get using great positions ... and they play the right way. 

"They're not selfish. And that trickles down and we all just feed off of that."

That trickle-down effect worked for the Kings on Wednesday, at least for Monk. After breaking out of his month-long shooting slump with 19 points against the Timberwolves, Monk followed that performance up with 22 points, five assists, three rebounds and three key steals in 32 minutes off the bench. 

"It was great for us again," Fox said. "These are things that we expect out of him, especially offensively. But defensively, what we've done with him, as in the entire team, is get deflections. Just being disruptive and trying to get them out of their offense is huge for us."

Monk, for his part, understood his offensive struggles in January and made it a point to hone in on the less attractive side of the ball.

"I'm just locked in defensively and said, 'I'm going to let the offense come to me instead of trying to force it,' " Monk said. "It's been working out for me so continuing to do it."

The Kings' improved defensive intensity is something Sabonis has noticed as well and he feels like Sacramento is getting a "little better" with each passing game. 

"I feel like today was a good defensive game, we held them to 109 at the end there," Sabonis added. "In those last four minutes, we had like 3-4 offensive rebound tip-ins.

"And you take those away, we're doing better locking in, into the [scouting report] and trusting each other. Trusting that your teammate has your back."

RELATED: Domas, Fox's All-Star fan vote doesn't reflect duo's NBA support

And tonight against the Spurs, Sabonis had his teammate's backs offensively as the crux of the Kings' offense.

Kings fans hope that the defense continues to improve with Sabonis, Fox and Monk being the offensive centerpieces of Mike Brown's offense when Sacramento takes on Tyrese Haliburton and the Indiana Pacers on Friday at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.