Fox & New Friends (Kings at Wizards; 02.12.22)

Kathy Williams-Edmonds/ALOST

akoiki-passport2 – by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief

WASHINGTON — The newest rebuild of the Sacramento Kings may very well end up as fruitless like the many others before it, but at least they can enjoy a rare stretch of success while the latest hope for a franchise turnaround, for the moment, springs eternal.

De’Aaron Fox scored 26 points while new King Domantas Sabonis scored 16 points to go along with 10 rebounds and seven assists as Sacramento came back from an early deficit and defeated the reeling Washington Wizards 123-110 at Capital One Arena on Saturday night. Another new addition, Justin Holiday, scored 12 points as the Kings, who were down by as much as 13 points late in the second quarter, scored at least 31 points in each of the final three quarters to win their third game in their last four contests.

“These were games that we were losing early on and all the way up until this week, really,” Kings interim head coach Alvin Gentry said. “I hope this is a sign of good things to come.”

What is to come for Sacramento is figuring out how this new core, continuing to center around Fox and now featuring Sabonis — one of six players acquired before Thursday’s trade deadline — as the No. 2 option after a trade with the Indiana Pacers, will perform. Very early returns are yielding positive results, with the Kings winning three of its last four games and averaging 120.5 points in that quartet of contests.

Harrison Barnes, one of the holdovers after the trade deadline wheeling-and-dealing, scored 21 points as the Kings shot a season-best 56.6 percent (43-of-76) from the floor.

“I think we all agree the team looks completely different,” Fox said. “They came in with great energy and that’s pretty much all it’s been.”

Going through massive roster turnover in their own right earlier in the week, the Wizards are currently in free fall after tonight’s defeat marked their ninth defeat in their last 11 games. Point guard Spencer Dinwiddie (to Dallas) and forward Montrezl Harrell (to Charlotte) were dealt away in separate trade deadline deals, with Washington still awaiting on one of their new arrivals, former Mavericks forward Kristaps Porzingis, to suit up with the team and provide scoring punch that left with Bradley Beal’s season-ending wrist surgery.

Seven players scored in double figures for Washington, with Kyle Kuzma’s 22 points, eight rebounds and seven assists leading the way. Rookie Corey Kispert scored 20 points, the second time in his last three games that he has reached the 20-point mark.

*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Saturday evening’s game, with all photos taken by DC-area photographers Kathy Williams-Edmonds Yusuf Abdullah. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are XX pictures in total.

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