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Three things to Know: Fox is clutch, Kings are fun, roll past Knicks

Kurt Helin and Michael Holley react to Fred VanVleet criticizing the officiating during the Raptors game and if other players agree with him.

Three Things To Know is NBC’s five-days-a-week wrap-up of the night before in the NBA. Check out every weekday morning to catch up on what you missed the night before plus the rumors, drama, and dunks that make the NBA must-watch.

1) Fox is clutch, Kings are fun, roll past Knicks

The two best stories in the NBA — the high-scoring, playoff-bound Kings and the surging and entertaining New York Knicks — were a smart late add to TNT Thursday (replacing a Nets at Bucks game that didn’t quite have the same star power it once did). Both of these teams deserve the spotlight.

Sacramento got to show off why it is the No. 2 seed in the West, hanging on for a 122-117 “light the beam” win. The Kings are 7-1 since the All-Star break.

De’Aaron Fox got to show off why he is the most clutch player in the NBA this season — 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the fourth quarter, including scoring 11 straight at one point, and he was doing things like this.

And this.

Domantas Sabonis had a triple-double with 24 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. Malik Monk continues to play well off the bench and scored 19 (Trey Lyles also had 16 off the bench, he has quietly been strong for Sacramento this season).

While the team was lighting the beam before an energized and fun crowd, Mike Brown was doing what good coaches do — thinking big picture. He is trying to get a franchise that has not been to the playoffs for 16 years ready for that world.

“That’s not how we should be playing basketball,” an unhappy Brown said postgame, via the Associated Press. “I am not happy with the way that we played tonight ... 23 offensive rebounds. Happy about the win, but that does not sit well with me at all. If we don’t fix that, we’re going to get our behinds kicked come playoff time. That’s when the big boys show up.”

The Kings are the No. 2 seed in the West, they are one of the big boys now.

Knicks’ point guard Jalen Brunson returned after missing a couple of games with a sore foot, but did not play the second half as the foot soreness returned. He still had 19 points, RJ Barrett scored 25 and Julius Randle 23, but the Knicks shot 13-of-50 from 3 (26%) and couldn’t get stops or buckets when needed.

2) Draymond Green and Desmond Bane continued war of words

Memphis and Golden State played in a battle of top-five teams in the West entering the night, and the shorthanded Grizzlies gave the Warriors another road loss, this time 131-110.

The game almost felt secondary to the trash talk battle between Dillon Brooks and Draymond Green. After an ESPN feature recently on Green that compared the two players, Brooks fired the first shots:

“I don’t like Draymond at all. I just don’t like Golden State. I don’t like anything to do with them. Draymond talks a lot. Gets away with a lot, too. His game is cool — with Golden State — but if you put him anywhere else, you’re not going to know who Draymond is. He plays with heart, plays hard, knows the ins and outs of their defense. I guess that’s why they like him over there.”

Green brought the hammer on his podcast in response — “The dynasty starts after you. Not with you.”

After the comfortable Grizzlies win, Brooks took his shots at Green.

Green, of course, responded in his press conference,

Brooks could respond again, or just point at the scoreboard.

These teams play again a week from Saturday.

3) Watch Tyrese Haliburton put up 29 points with an insane 19 assists

Any list of players having great years but flying under the national radar better have Tyrese Haliburton on it. The Pacers got a win against the Rockets on Thursday night, but the show was Haliburton with 29 points and an impressive 19 assists.

It’s a crowded field in the backcourt, but Haliburton deserves to be an All-NBA guard this season.