De’Aaron Fox was getting anything he wanted. The Jazz were giving up all-too-easy switches on defense, and the result was Fox hunting defenders such as Lauri Markannen, who isn’t quick enough to stop Fox from getting to the rim without sagging off him so much he gives up an open jumper. Pick your poison against Fox when his shot is falling.
That ended up being the key in the final seconds. After Markannen tied the game with three free throws (rookie Keegan Murray fouled Markannen on a close-out), Fox went to work and scored his 22nd fourth quarter point to put the Kings ahead for good.
Except Markannen almost hit a game-winner of his own until the referees went to the video replay.
“I thought I had it off in time,” Markannen said of his almost game-winner, via the Associated Press. “Right from the moment it left my hand, it felt good. …it’s tough. Obviously, everyone remembers the ending but there’s a lot of things that we did early, we fix and win this ball game.”
Markannen had 28 points for the Jazz while Jordan Clarkson added 24.
Fox had 37 total for the Kings, while Domantas Sabonis had 21 points and 14 rebounds.
With the win, the Kings sit fifth in the West — out of the play-in fray — but the margins are thin in the tight West, they are still just one game up on the three teams tied for the 7/8/9 seeds 9 the Trail Blazers, Suns and Warriors). The Kings need to keep getting wins like this to reach their goal of making the postseason for the first time in 16 years.
But they look like a team who can do it.
Check out more on the Kings
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Watch De’Aaron Fox hit game-winner — and Lauri Markannen almost top him originally appeared on NBCSports.com