Malik Monk

What we learned as Kings rally past Warriors, advance in IST

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SACRAMENTO -- Tuesday was more than just a typical weekday night in Sacramento. 

The Kings welcomed their Northern California rival Golden State Warriors to Golden 1 Center for some NBA In-Season Tournament action.

As if this already electric matchup needed any extra layers to it, Tuesday also was Warriors forward Draymond Green’s return to the court after serving a five-game suspension.

And as expected, the game matched the excitement in the air heading into the pivotal matchup.

The Kings overcame a slow start, erasing a 24-point deficit and coming all the way back in what was their sweetest victory of the season.

The Kings also clinched West Group C of the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament, and they will advance to the quarterfinals.

Here are the takeaways from the Kings' thrilling 124-123 win.

Warriors wake up in Sac

Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins have struggled early for the Warriors to start the 2023-24 season.

Not on Tuesday.

Thompson, who entered the game averaging 15 points on 36.7-percent shooting from 3-point range, finished with 20 points on 6-of-15 shooting, adding 11 rebounds and two assists in 36 minutes.

The veteran guard is coming off a game in which he scored just five points on 1-of-10 shooting from the field and 1 of 6 from deep in 27 minutes. Before Tuesday’s game, ESPN's Kendra Andrews reported, citing sources, that Thompson's contract negotiations have taken a toll on the Warriors star during his early-season slump.

But Thompson put those rumors to rest on Tuesday in Sacramento.

Meanwhile, Wiggins entered the game averaging 11.8 points. He finished Tuesday’s contest with 29 points on 11-of-18 shooting, with nine rebounds and three assists in 36 minutes.

The Kings were able to slow down the scorers later in the second half, though, but the Warriors stars showed signs of life in the game.

A second-half resurgence 

The Kings entered the locker room at halftime down 72-55 following two embarrassing quarters of “basketball” on national television.

But whatever Kings coach Mike Brown said to them worked. 

It was as if a flip had switched in the third quarter. Sacramento outscored Golden State 40-32 in the third and the momentum carried over into a crucial final quarter.

After trailing by as many as 24 points, the Kings rallied back in the fourth quarter.

With 5:46 left in the final quarter, Sacramento briefly regained the lead for the first time since the very first possession of the game (3-0), and it was a back-and-forth battle every possession thereafter.

Welcome to the Malik Monk Show

Malik Monk is known for providing rejuvenated energy off the bench for the Kings when they need it most.

He fulfilled those duties normally on Tuesday and was one of the few bright spots for Sacramento from the beginning.

But when the Kings managed to come all the way back from a 24-point deficit, they needed a bucket with 37.1 seconds left in the game down by one point.

Enter Monk.

With Wiggins contesting him well, Monk dribbled to the right then crossed over to the left into the paint and hit a jump shot over Wiggins off the glass. Money.

And Steph Curry’s attempted game-winner – for once – fell short. Kings win.

And it was their biggest yet.

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