The dunk. In a defining moment in his young NBA career, De'Aaron Fox earned highlight reel fame Thursday night in Miami.
With 3.3 seconds remaining in the game, the 20-year-old guard tracked teammate Bogdan Bogdanovic's missed from 20-foot jumper. Fox split the Heat defenders and soared in for a two handed go-ahead jam to silence the AmericanAirlines Arena crowd.
"Bogi's one of best playmakers and we had it in his hands," Fox described following the 89-88 win over Miami. "A lot of times, the plays not even drawn up for me. I kind of just go do what I've got to do and try to get it done. Bogi pulled up and for the most part as a guard, I'm supposed to get back. But that was possibly the last shot of the game, so I went to crash the glass and followed the trajectory of the ball - it came off the rim perfectly and I went up and got it."
The replay shows Fox leaping over Heat players to snare the ball out the air while both his bigs are completely out of the picture. Zach Randolph stumbled and was laying on his back under the basket for a perfect view of his rookie's game-winner. Willie Cauley-Stein set a pick to free Bogdanovic and was floating around the perimeter. It was Fox or nothing.
"He made a play," coach Dave Joerger told reporters following the game. "We had a broken play. Kind of messed up our execution a bit. Bogi got a shot on goal and all of the sudden you see the flying Fox."
Moments earlier Fox had helped set up the winning possession with his defense on veteran point guard Goran Dragic. With 21.9 seconds remaining, Hassan Whiteside attempted to free Dragic from Fox with a screen and was called for an offensive foul.
It took a team effort to pull out the win. Buddy Hield shot an impressive 10-of-15 from the field to finish with a team-high 24 points. Bogdanovic added 11 points and three assists and Randolph chipped in a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double.
After posting a career-high 34 points in Tuesday's win over the Orlando Magic, veteran Garrett Temple struggled with his shot, but played stifling defense on Josh Richardson to forced an errant 21-footer as time expired.
The win was the first in Miami for the Kings since November 10, 2001, a span of 15 losses. It was also the second straight victory for Sacramento, who improved to 15-33 on the season and 2-2 on the season-long six-game road trip.