Domantas Sabonis

Domas focused on Kings' bigger picture after making NBA history

NBC Universal, Inc.

SACRAMENTO – The last time Kings center Domantas Sabonis didn’t record a double-double, people were just beginning to put away their Thanksgiving decorations and climb into their attics to get a jumpstart into the Christmas spirit.

It was Nov. 29, 2023 -- 117 days, nearly 17 weeks and 54 games ago.

Sabonis finished that game with 11 points on 3-of-12 shooting, with five rebounds and three assists, and the Kings lost that contest 131-117 to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Four months later, that November loss felt like ages ago as history was made inside Golden 1 Center on Monday night. Sabonis collected his 54th consecutive double-double, setting an NBA record for the longest double-double streak since the 1976-77 NBA/ABA merger.

It was his 67th double-double of the 2023-24 NBA season, and his 11 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists in Sacramento’s 108-96 win over the Philadelphia 76ers also secured his 25th triple-double of the season, becoming the fifth player in NBA history with 25 or more triple-doubles in a single season. He joins Russell Westbrook (4x), Oscar Robertson (3x), Wilt Chamberlain (1967-68: 31) and Nikola Jokic (2022-23: 29).

After reaching the incredible milestone, Sabonis, per usual, gave credit to those around him.

“Just making myself available for my teammates, to play every game and coming out here and playing hard,” Sabonis said on NBC Sports California’s “Kings Postgame Live.” “My teammates make it easy for me, and I just try and go out there and do my job.”

Sabonis reached the feat in the third quarter of Monday’s win, and the Kings honored him with a special tribute video played on the jumbotron at Golden 1 Center.

Fans, teammates and the Sabonis family were seen soaking in the moment, but the double-double king made sure to share one extra special moment with those close to him.

Before walking over the team huddle during the timeout at the 5:02 mark in the third quarter, Sabonis -- realizing he had done it – turned around, pointed into the stands, blew a kiss and smiled.

“Just to my wife and kids,” Sabonis said after the game on who he was embracing in that moment. “I thank her for always pushing me every game to be better. And, yeah, just little interactions with my kid. He loves going to the game. It was awesome to have that moment.”

While Sabonis admitted he hasn’t really had the time to fully digest it all because he was too busy getting “beat up” in the game and joked that everything was “blurry,” he was able to acknowledge just how significant his milestone was.

Well, kind of.

“It's an honor,” he said. “You’re in the history books in the NBA, the best league in the world. So obviously, it's amazing, it's a great feeling. But at the same time, I'm happy it's over.

“These last couple of weeks, everyone's been mentioning it, and I was out there just trying to play my game and help this team win.”

Luckily for the Kings, he’s managed to do both.

And his Kings teammates and coaches certainly are grateful.

“It's amazing,” Sacramento guard Davion Mitchell said postgame. “Especially for Domas. I mean, how hard he works, but I mean, he was in the locker room [and] he's a he's a humble guy. Domas is like the most humble guy ever. And he just said we just got to keep winning games. He didn't really acknowledge that what he did was an amazing deal, honestly.

“But it's amazing to see him do it. Especially to be on the same team with him. It's a blessing.”

Kings coach Mike Brown opened his postgame press conference praising his star center.

The lengthy but passionate address included calling out Sabonis’ All-Star snub, making a case for his All-NBA campaign and even asserted his name into the MVP discussion.

Midway through the opening statement, Brown didn’t believe his words did the praise justice. He broke out in applause, sitting in front of reporters, and almost demanded a message to the rest of the league.

“That is un-freaking-believable,” Brown said. “That is big time. And I hope he gets a lot of praise because it's definitely well deserved.”

While Sabonis will try to soak in the incredible mark, the celebrations won't last long.

The Kings big man already is focused on what's next, and he wants to remain focused on the bigger picture with the NBA playoffs around the corner. And it won't be an easy task for Sacramento, who open up a stretch of back-to-back games against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday and Friday at Golden 1 Center, a pair of contests Sabonis referred to as a "mini-playoff series."

The Kings (42-29) and Mavericks (42-29) have been flip-flopping for the No. 6 spot in the Western Conference standings. The next two games are beyond critical for both teams -- and they know it. 

Sabonis' attitude after reaching an incredible milestone was reflective of the kind of mindset Brown has instilled in Sacramento since taking over as head coach last season.

The Kings made the playoffs last year for the first time in 16 seasons, but that's simply not good enough for Brown. Sabonis is shattering records and climbing leaderboards, but that, too, isn't good enough.

The mentality is clear. Celebrate the small victories -- but keep an eye on the prize.

"I think he appreciated it. I think it touched him," Brown said of Sabonis. "But at the end of the day -- he wants to win. He wants to win so bad. He wanted to get this W and that's what he's about, and that's what makes this even more special because of the human being that he is, too."

Contact Us