Brown stresses ‘must-win’ mentality as Kings bounce back vs. Lakers

NBC Sports Bay Area

It’s a Kings season jam-packed with peaks and valleys – and Sacramento can’t afford many more trips down to the valleys. 

A couple of days removed from an eye-popping fourth-quarter collapse against the Chicago Bulls, the Kings responded with a dynamic bounce-back performance in a 130-120 win against the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night at Arena. 

Despite falling behind by as much as 19 points in the first quarter, the Kings found refuge not only in De’Aaron Fox tying a career-high 44 points or in Domantas Sabonis’ triple-double, but in a revitalizing impact from an energetic bench in what was a “must-win” scenario.

“Every game for us is a must-win,” coach Mike Brown told reporters. “It’s not necessarily a playoff game because the preparation isn’t quite to the level of what it would be going into the playoffs. 

“But our level of focus [on] the details has to be there because we are fighting for our playoff position right now. And we’ve talked about it before, but one loss can move you from seventh to ninth. 

“And just like a win can move you from seventh to sixth or maybe fifth, depending who you are. For us, tonight, tomorrow night, they are all big-time games for us no matter who is in front of us.”

With the win, Sacramento sits 1.5 games behind the No. 5 Western Conference playoff seed held by the New Orleans Pelicans, but only 1.5 games in front of the Dallas Mavericks.  

Wednesday’s night victory in Los Angeles featured a 26-point performance from Malik Monk, a perfect night from Davion Mitchell from behind the arc and Fox’s third 44-point game of his career – 32 points of which he scored in the paint.

“He’s [all right],” Monk joked about Fox, who tied a career high in points. “No, man. It’s [De’Aaron Fox], man. 

“Should’ve been an All-Star, him and [Domantas Sabonis], man. We keep saying that. But they’re going to carry the team, and we are going to just follow right behind them.”

Leave it to the Kings to follow up one of their worst losses of the season with a resonating road win against a playoff-hungry Lakers team.

After all, despite running out of room to keep going up and down, that’s how Sacramento has managed to survive all season.  

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