Kings finally benefit from late-game call in win over Rockets


The late-game whistles have been so unkind to the Kings this season, everyone expects game-changing calls to go against them.

That didn't happen Wednesday night in Houston as the Kings benefitted from a questionable call in the final seconds of their 130-128 win over the Rockets.

Trailing by one with 1.2 seconds remaining, Harrison Barnes inbounded the ball to De'Aaron Fox, who attempted a 3-pointer but was bumped by Rockets veteran Eric Gordon.

Fox fell to the ground as his shot missed the basket wide right. But the referees called a foul on Gordon, awarding three free throws to Fox.

After the refs reviewed the play and put 0.3 seconds back on the clock, Fox made the first two free throws and was attempting to miss the third but ended up making it. Houston was unable to get a shot off after inbounding it, giving the Kings their 31st win of the season.

"I told all of them," Fox told Morgan Ragan and Matt Barnes on "Kings Postgame Live" after the win. "Obviously I'm from here and I know a lot of those guys on the other side of the bench and I told them, 'Yo, EG hit me. He definitely hit me. He knew he hit me.' I said 'Yo, I put that on everything, he got me.' And we didn't have a challenge, they didn't have a challenge. At the end of the day, nothing could change, so I knew once they called it, I just had to knock down the free throws."

After the game, crew chief Gediminas Petraitis spoke to The Athletic's Kelly Iko for the official pool report about the Gordon foul on Fox.

Fox is having the best free-throw shooting season of his NBA career and he backed that up by going 9 of 10 from the line against the Rockets.

"I feel like I'm a better free-throw shooter than in the past and I feel like I've proven it this year," Fox told Ragan and Barnes. "But going to the line with the game on the line, especially with 0.3 seconds left, I really knew I need two and they wouldn't be able to get a catch-and-shoot off."

As Barnes tried to ask a question to Fox, the Kings' star had a confession to make, which was pretty evident in the moment.

"I tried to miss the third one and I wanted it to bounce up," Fox said with a laugh.

The made free throw didn't come back to hurt the Kings and in the end, they were on the right side of a call that was reviewed.

The clutch free throws capped off an eventful week for Fox in his hometown, as he and his wife Recee welcomed their son, Reign, into the world last Friday in Houston and then he helped the Kings beat the Rockets on Monday and Wednesday.

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If everything goes according to plan, Fox might add an NBA All-Star selection to his list of accomplishments this week.

For now, though, Fox will settle for a newborn baby, two wins and three game-winning free throws.

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