It was certainly a night to remember for the Sacramento Kings.
A 140-110 blowout win over the Charlotte Hornets at Golden 1 Center Friday night consisted of milestones for both center Richaun Holmes and the Kings' franchise.
Individually, Holmes recorded his first career 20/20 game, with 23 points and 20 rebounds in 33 minutes of action.
The big fella fed off the energy in front of the home crowd.
“Honestly it was a great moment to have," Holmes told reporters postgame. "I had my family in the audience, so to be able to share a career milestone like that with them was pretty special. It’s exciting, it’s a testament to the work I’ve been putting in and also makes me grittier, makes me want to put even more work in. Want to continue this streak and continue playing the way I’ve been playing.”
“His steadiness, he brings energy, his communication continues to get better," Kings coach Luke Walton said of Holmes after the game. "Anytime you can give us a 20/20 game, I like our chances. Especially with how much we talk about rebounding. The whole team did a better job tonight, but he really stepped up and took care of that department for us.”
Both Walton and Kings players repeatedly have pushed for better rebounding as a team. Friday night against the Hornets, Sacramento demolished Charlotte in that department, out-rebounding them 52-28.
As a team, the Kings made history with 22 3-pointers, a franchise record for a single game. Everything else seems to fall into place when shots are falling from beyond the arc.
“It makes it a lot easier," Holmes said. "It spreads the floor out, that’s how we want to play. We want to get shots like that up. I feel like the last few games we’ve been doing a good job of getting good looks, they just haven’t been going down. Tonight we stuck with our principles and we got the same type of looks for our shooters and they knocked them down tonight. If we continue to get those type of looks throughout the season, we’ll be just fine.”
When a team is having success on open shots, there's oftentimes a player or two on offense that commands such a gravitational pull from the defense that allows for his teammates to have these these opportunities.
De'Aaron Fox, the Kings fifth-year point guard, is that player for opposing defenses and was credited for his role in allowing his teammates so many open shots.
“He’s so fast and everyone's sticking to him and he passes it off to his open teammates and we knockdown (shots)," rookie Davion Mitchell said postgame. "It’s really hard to guard De’Aaron on the open floor. If you watch the film you just see everyone packed in and he does a really good job of getting us open shots and shots we need to win the game.”
Friday night's win over the Hornets was a memorable game for the Kings. In what could be described as an offensive explosion, it was so much more than that. It was a sign of what's to come if this young squad can continue to be aggressive shooters, play just enough defense ... and rebound, rebound, rebound.
“Really good game by our guys, happy to see it," Walton added. "Loved the pace we played with, thought our rebounding was much better tonight. We shot the ball really well, you get 22 3s you’re going to win most nights. It’s never easy to get an early lead in the NBA and hold it, hold it, hold it, it’s tough. So i was proud of our group and every time that Charlotte started cutting (the lead) we made big plays.”
“I just remember the energy I felt when I got the chance to flush it down," Holmes told reporters. "Just looking to the crowd, crowd is cheering, lot of energy in the building. Just being back in front of the fans at Golden 1 Center. It just felt good. I let out a scream, just felt that energy, I feel like we were able to feed off that energy the fans gave us all night.”
Winners of two straight, the Kings will continue their homestand at Golden 1 Center with a matchup against the Indiana Pacers on Sunday at 3 p.m. PT.