Fox’s season-high 43 leads Kings past Wembanyama, Spurs 129-120 in in-season tourney

San Antonio Spurs' Victor Wembanyama celebrates a basket against the Sacramento Kings during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Nov. 17, 2023, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate) (Darren Abate, Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

SAN ANTONIO – Sacramento Kings All-Star De’Aaron Fox celebrated playing in the In-Season Tournament with his finest game of the season.

De’Aaron Fox scored a season-high 43 points, and the Sacramento Kings overcame 27 points from Victor Wembanyama to hold off the San Antonio Spurs 129-120 on Friday night to remain undefeated during the in-season tournament.

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Sacramento is 2-0 in the West Group C standings and the Spurs are 0-3.

“I’m not one of those guys that are like, ‘I think it’s dumb,’ because I don’t,” Fox said. “I think it could be interesting for this league. Like I said, almost every league in the world does some type of in-season tournament, so I think it’s cool that the NBA is trying to implement it.”

Domantas Sabonis had 27 points and 14 rebounds as Sacramento won its fifth straight. Malik Monk added 20 points in the Kings’ fourth straight win in San Antonio.

Zach Collins had 28 points and Keldon Johnson added 21 points for the Spurs, who have lost seven straight after opening the season 3-2.

“It’s an everyday fight,” Wembanyama said. “I know the end of the season will not look like the beginning of the season. We’ve got a good way to go, progression.”

Wembanyama was 12 for 26 from the field after scoring a season-low eight points in a 123-87 loss at Oklahoma City on Tuesday.

The 7-foot-3 rookie from France added nine rebounds and a series of highlight plays.

Despite being pushed to the baseline on a foul by Keegan Murray, Wembanyama stretched from behind the backboard to tip in a layup off an alley-oop pass from Collins.

“He’s a special player,” Fox said. “Extremely special player. When he’s rolling, you have to be under him because if they throw the ball up, there’s literally nothing you can do.”

But the veteran Kings withstood the highlights and the runs to beat the young Spurs.

Fox was the catalyst.

The seventh-year guard out of Kentucky had 16 points in the fourth quarter and finished one point shy of matching his career high of 44 points, which he has done twice. It was the seventh 40-point game of his career.

Fox was 14 for 24 from the field, including 5 for 11 on 3-pointers.

“He’s a great player,” Sacramento guard Chris Duarte said. “You guys see it day in, day out. He’s a guy that we definitely need him scoring the ball like he does.”

The Kings went on a 7-0 run after the Spurs pulled to 112-111 with six minutes remaining to regain control of a back-and-forth contest.

Sacramento opened the third quarter on a 15-4 run for its largest lead to that point at 77-66. San Antonio shot 1 for 5 during the run.

The Spurs were without starting guard Devin Vassell and backup point guard Tre Jones. Vassell sat out with a strained groin and Jones missed his third straight game with a strained right hamstring.

San Antonio had 33 assists despite being without two of its primary ballhandlers.

The Spurs raced to a 9-0 lead with Wembanyama scoring six points. San Antonio opened the game going 4 for 6 on 3-pointers.

“He’s definitely somebody that you’ve got to think twice before you get to the paint because he’s so tall,” Duarte said “But we took advantage just by being physical with him and make it tough for him.”

San Antonio stretched the lead to 18 points in the first quarter only to lose that lead 30 seconds into the second quarter.


Kings: At Dallas on Sunday.

Spurs: Host Memphis on Saturday.



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