De’Aaron Fox’s Return Ignites Kings to Win Against Cavaliers in NBA
SACRAMENTO, California — De’Aaron Fox, after two weeks off with an ankle injury, returned with 28 points and six assists, leading the Sacramento Kings in a 132-120 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday evening. Coach Mike Brown achieved his 400th career victory.
Domantas Sabonis contributed 23 points, 10 assists, and nine rebounds for the Kings who had won all games against the Cavs last season. Keegan Murray scored a season-high of 25 points, hitting five 3-pointers.
“We’ve been waiting for tonight, where we put it all together. It felt like it went really well and it felt great for everyone,” Murray stated.
Donovan Mitchell led the Cavs with 22 points despite scoring zero in the first quarter. Caris LeVert had 21 points and Max Strus scored 19.
Although Sacramento had six players reaching double figures, Fox received the most attention as he was repeatedly cheered with “MVP! MVP!” chants during the second half.
Fox promptly made an impact in his first game back, scoring the first points of the game with a driving layup just 11 seconds in. As an All-Star last season, Fox later added a reverse layup and a 3-pointer to help the Kings take a 33-25 lead.
De’Aaron Fox (28 PTS, 6 AST) led the Kings to a win over the Cavs in his return to the lineup! pic.twitter.com/QoMGXgqduB
— NBA (@NBA) November 14, 2023
“It felt good to be able to go out there and contribute,” said Fox, who tested his ankle in practice earlier in the week and during shootaround. “When I got up today and wasn’t sore, I felt I was good to go.
“I felt well enough to go out there and affect the game.”
Fox displayed a strong performance again in the second quarter, but then struggled before revitalizing Sacramento’s offense in the third quarter. Scoring eight points, including an emphatic one-handed dunk off a bounce pass in the key from Malik Monk.
“His play and our play is going to start getting him the recognition he deserves,” Brown said of Fox. “The crazy part is he’s just scratched the surface of who he can be. When he gets there, look out.”
Brown, who guided the Kings to the 2023 playoffs in his initial season with the team, improved his coaching record to 400-254. The milestone victory came against one of his former teams, as Brown coached Cleveland from 2005-10 and in the 2013-14 season.
“You feel all of the emotions: Fortunate, blessed, lucky,” said Brown, who thanked the Cavs, Lakers, and several players he coached. “It has a lot to do with the people all around me.
“It for sure is an honor to be a part of something like that in this league.”
Cleveland narrowed the score to 126-115 late in the fourth quarter before Fox’s three-point play with 1:26 remaining solidified the win.
“We didn’t execute the game plan,” Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “If you allow teams like this, with the firepower that they have, to play freely, they’re going to get it going.”
Cavaliers: Visit Portland on Wednesday.
Kings: Visit the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday.