Sacramento Kings’ All-Star point guard De’Aaron Fox delivered a standout performance in the In-Season Tournament on Friday. Fox scored a season-high 43 points, leading the Kings to a 129-120 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on their home turf at Frost Bank Center.
In the fourth quarter alone, the seventh-year guard from Kentucky notched 16 points, narrowly missing his career-high of 44, a feat he’s achieved twice before. Fox showcased his scoring prowess with 14 successful field goals out of 24 attempts, including five three-pointers out of 11.
“He’s a great player,” Sacramento’s guard Chris Duarte said about Fox’s performance. “You guys see it day in, day out. He’s a guy that we definitely need scoring the ball like he does.”
The victory has led the Kings to maintain an undefeated record of 2-0 in West Group C. Meanwhile, the Spurs fell to 0-3. The Sacramento Kings are set to face off against Dallas on Sunday, while the Spurs will host Memphis on Saturday.
Fox has expressed his support of the NBA In-Season tournament, a newly established annual competition involving all 30 NBA teams. The tournament employs a multi-stage format and will conclude with the championship game on December 9.
“I’m not one of those guys that are like, ‘I think it’s dumb,’ because I don’t,” Fox said. “I think it could be interesting for this league. Like I said, almost every league in the world does some type of in-season tournament, so I think it’s cool that the NBA is trying to implement it.”
Despite the loss, Spurs highly-anticipated rookie Victor Wembanyama also showcased an impressive performance for his team with 27 points. Coming off a season-low eight points in a 123-87 loss at Oklahoma City on Tuesday, he went 12 for 26 from the field.
“It’s an everyday fight,” Wembanyama said about the defeat. “I know the end of the season will not look like the beginning of the season. We’ve got a good way to go, progression.”
The 7-foot-3 French rookie contributed nine rebounds and showcased several highlight plays. Despite a foul by Keegan Murray pushing him to the baseline, Wembanyama extended from behind the backboard, tipping in a layup off an alley-oop pass from Collins.
Wembanyama’s ability has led him to receive acknowledgments and praises, including ones from his opponents.
“Extremely special player,” Fox said. “When he’s rolling, you have to be under him because if they throw the ball up, there’s literally nothing you can do.”
Duarte also praised Wembanyama’s way, saying that the rookie is “definitely somebody that you’ve got to think twice before you get to the paint” due to his towering height.
“But we took advantage just by being physical with him and make it tough for him,” Duarte added.
Following a tight battle, the Kings orchestrated a decisive 7-0 run, reclaiming control after the Spurs narrowed the gap to 112-111 with six minutes left. Sacramento’s dominance extended to the third quarter, marked by a 15-4 run, securing their largest lead at 77-66.
Despite missing key players like Devin Vassell and Tre Jones, the Spurs had 33 assists without their primary ballhandlers. The game began with San Antonio swiftly establishing a 9-0 lead, led by Wembanyama’s six points and a sharp 4-for-6 start on 3-pointers.
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