De'Aaron Fox Comes Through in Clutch in Must-win Victory Over Grizzlies

Finish it. The Sacramento Kings fought a struggling Memphis Grizzlies team all the way down the wire Friday evening at FedEx Forum. It was a classic grit-and-grind battle with the Grizz and the Kings found a way to come out on top.

"It was a good game, a fight to the end, and we came out on the winning side tonight," rookie Marvin Bagley III said following the 99-96 victory on the road.

Sacramento has found closing out games difficult as of late, but they turned to their 21-year-old point guard in the final minutes and he didn't disappoint against a tough competitor in Mike Conley Jr.

"De'Aaron made a heck of a shot there, put us up four, which was terrific," coach Dave Joerger told media members following the game. "We battled and we've come a long ways."

With the game on the line late, Fox carried the team on both ends of the floor. His jumper over Conley that found the bottom of the net with 11.2 seconds remaining gave the Kings a four point lead late.

His defensive against Conley two possession earlier might have been even bigger. He kept Conley on the perimeter and then played through a Marc Gasol screen at the top of the key.

The veteran point guard tried to dribble past Fox, but the speedster pestered him into an errant pass that was intercepted by Marvin Bagley.  

"Just trying to play good, individual one-on-one defense in a crucial time like that," Fox said of his play. "I was just thinking get a stop, get a stop and don't foul."

Fox, who sat out Tuesday's game to catch his breath, appeared energized. He finished the evening with 22 points on 8-of-17 shooting. He hit a 3-pointer and knocked down a perfect 5-of-5 from the free throw line. He also added

The former Kentucky star made some mistakes, especially early in the game when he turned the ball over four times in the first quarter. Fox finished the evening with seven turnovers overall, but with the game on the line, he was clutch, which has been the case more often than not.

Sacramento's starting point guard wasn't the only one to post big numbers. His starting backcourt mate, Buddy Hield, kept the Kings alive with his hot shooting. Buddy Buckets finished the night with a game-high 26 points on 6-of-9 shooting from behind the arc.

Like Fox, Nemanja Bjelica took the night off in Toronto to try to reboot and refresh. He came out strong, looking like the player that helped Sacramento get off to a fast start early in the season.

Bjelica hit 6-of-10 from the field and a perfect 4-for-4 from behind the arc. His 3-point attempts didn't even look like they touched the net. He added 11 rebounds to finish with fifth double-double of the season and chipped in three blocks a huge steal in the fourth quarter.

Bagley finished with 14 points and nine rebounds off the bench against fellow 2018 draftee, Jaren Jackson Jr. Between Bjelica and Bagley, Jackson struggled to an 11-point, three-rebound performance for Memphis.

With the win, the Kings moved to 2-3 on the road trip. They'll make a stop in Los Angeles to face the Clippers on Sunday before returning home on Wednesday to play host to the Atlanta Hawks at Golden 1 Center.

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