NBA: Kings clinch first winning season since 2006

Domantas Sabonis #10 of the Sacramento Kings dribbles during the second half against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on March 16, 2023 in New York City. The Kings won 101-96. Sarah Stier/Getty Images/AFP 

Domantas Sabonis totaled 24 points and 21 rebounds for his league-leading 56th double-double as the Sacramento Kings clinched their first winning season since 2005-06 with a 101-96 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night in New York.

The Kings (42-27) won for the 10th time in 12 games to secure their first winning mark since going 44-38 in the season that also marks their last playoff appearance. Sacramento also improved to 12-4 in its past 16 road games and secured its 21st road win, the franchise’s most since 2003-04.

Sabonis reached his latest double-double late in the second quarter when the Kings began taking control. He shot 8 of 14 from the floor, added five assists and four blocks.

Nets coach Jacque Vaughn said his counterpart Mike Brown had done a remarkable job to turn around the franchise.

“I told him that he had my vote for coach of the year, he has done a heck of a job getting those dudes to the playoffs, 40 wins,” Vaughn said.

“To have that franchise where it is, he deserves a lot of credit,” he added.

 Head coach Mike Brown of the Sacramento Kings reacts during the first half against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on March 16, 2023 in New York City.

Head coach Mike Brown of the Sacramento Kings reacts during the first half against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on March 16, 2023 in New York City. Sarah Stier/Getty Images/AFP

De’Aaron Fox, who hit the game-winning 3-pointer in Chicago on Wednesday, added 18 points as Sacramento shot 39 percent but outscored the Nets 16-0 on second-chance points.

Malik Monk contributed 12 points while Trey Lyles, Keegan Murray and Harrison Barnes added 11 to help compensate for Kevin Huerter leaving in the first quarter with a lower-leg injury.

Mikal Bridges scored 23 points on 7-of-17 shooting but also missed four shots in the final 2 1/2 minutes as the Nets (39-31) began a challenging four-game homestand by shooting 41.3 percent. Spencer Dinwiddie added 18 while Nic Claxton and Seth Curry contributed 14 apiece as the Nets ended the night 1 1/2 games ahead of Miami for sixth in the Eastern Conference.

Brooklyn hosts Denver on Sunday before welcoming Cleveland for back-to-back games on Tuesday and Thursday.

Sacramento shot 34.6 percent but outscored the Nets 12-3 over the final 4 1/2 minutes to turn a nine-point deficit into a 24-24 tie at the end of the opening quarter. After Brooklyn tied the game at 41-41 with 3:36 left in the first half, the Kings outscored the Nets 13-0 the rest of the half and took a 54-41 lead on Fox’s crossover 17-footer with 12.5 seconds left.

The Kings held three 17-point leads in the third and maintained an 82-71 advantage into the fourth. Bridges hit two free throws to cut the deficit to 96-91 with 3:19 remaining and then missed his next three shots before Dinwiddie hit a layup with 1:11 remaining and split two free throws with 45.7 seconds left to make it 99-94.

Bridges had a 10-footer blocked by Sabonis with 2:28 left, missed a 3-pointer with 2:21 to go and an 11-footer with 1:45 left and then misfired on a 3 with 11 seconds left.

Field Level Media


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