The Kings got a big wake-up call ahead of a notable NBA season juncture.
Less than 24 hours before the NBA trade deadline, the Kings suffered a devastating 133-120 loss to the league-worst Detroit Pistons, who were without nine of their players, including star guard Cade Cunningham.
Wednesday night’s game was the first game back on Sacramento soil for the Kings following a seven-game road trip, which saw coach Mike Brown and Co. win five of their seven contests.
Powered by Jaden Ivey’s 37 points, Detroit picked up its seventh win of the season, while the loss saw the Kings drop to the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference.
For Kings star big man Domantas Sabonis, a loss like Wednesday’s is a humble reminder of the competitiveness within the NBA, regardless of the opponent’s history heading into the matchup.
“We just got to come out and play,” Sabonis told reporters. “We just got to respect each opponent, no matter who is on the court. And fight for your team. We have to play to a certain standard that we believe we are.”
Sabonis ended the night with 30 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists, earning his 33rd straight double-double.
De’Aaron Fox, however, failed to find his groove, shooting a mere 35 percent from the floor in addition to his two turnovers in 35 minutes.
Outscoring the Pistons 36 to 27 in the third quarter, the Kings went into the final quarter with a two-point lead, overturning what had been a 15-point deficit.
When asked by reporters about the historically bad Pistons’ fight in the fourth quarter, which ultimately led to a road victory for Detroit, Fox acknowledged the visitor’s grit through the final 12 minutes of the game, putting out any fires surrounding the loss.
“I think they responded well,” Fox said, “Obviously, you’d rather not get down like that but it was great to show fight. This happened to us as well, coming back, fighting and losing at the end, meaning any team can beat any team on any given night.”
With an off day in between their upcoming home game against the Denver Nuggets on Friday, the big question in Sacramento now becomes if rest day will actually be a rest day after all.
Or if Kings general manager Monte McNair will keep his team busy via the looming Feb. 8 NBA trade deadline.