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Mar 16, 2023 11:26 pm

Domantas Sabonis leads Kings to victory 17 years in the making

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.

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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