Lyles chips in to Kings' ‘flowing water' offense, defensive goals


The Kings (27-19) looked the part of a third-place Western Conference team Monday night with a dominant 133-100 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies at Golden 1 Center.

Like many games this season, Sacramento’s offense beamed bright. The Kings scored over 130 points for a league-high 11th time this season and for a sixth time in January. Six players finished in double figures, including reserve forward Trey Lyles, who led the team with a season-high 24 points.

The Kings tied an NBA record and set a new franchise mark by swishing 12 3-pointers in the opening quarter, including their first 10 attempts.

“It was beautiful to watch,” coach Mike Brown said after the win. “It was about as near perfect game offensively as we could have played."

Lyles was in the mix for that record-breaking quarter, as he knocked down two 3-pointers after checking in at the 4:31 mark. Harrison Barnes and Keegan Murray combined for eight triples, Davion Mitchell splashed one and Malik Monk had the record-tying trey with 2.1 seconds left in the quarter.

“Most of those shots that we made are shots that we preach and drill almost daily with the way teams are playing us," Brown said. "Our guys did a fantastic job just keeping the game simple offensively in that first quarter.”

“It’s like flowing water with us,” Lyles said of the Kings’ offense. “It looks natural. It’s fun to be a part of.”

Lyles wasn’t just contributing on the offensive end. He grabbed seven rebounds and created havoc on the defensive end, notching three blocks and two steals in 25 minutes on the floor.

With 9:34 to play, Lyles poked the basketball loose from Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane and slammed it home on the other end. On Memphis’ next possession, Lyles tipped an entry pass to Jaren Jackson Jr., which led to a thunderous dunk by Monk on the fastbreak.

The sellout Golden 1 Center crowd erupted in cheers. That sequence put the Kings up by double digits for good.

“His team defensive instincts within our scheme can help us get to the next level,” Brown said of Lyles. “If you have five Treys, you can be a pretty good defensive team. He’s going to bust his behind; he’s going to use his length. He’s not afraid to get hit in the nose. He’s going to try to rebound and get out and run.

“All those things get contagious. We need his presence because he’s not afraid.”

Lyles wasn't just gifted a spot in the Kings' rotation when Brown arrived in Sacramento, but the 6-foot-9 forward has been consistently on the floor for the last four weeks.

Lyles has played at least 18 minutes in 10 of the Kings’ last 16 games and is averaging 9.9 points and 5.4 rebounds on 45.1 percent shooting from 3-point range in that span. The shooting is a plus, but it's his improved defensive impact and hustle that have made the difference.

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"We got guys starting to fall in line that same way. That’s why I started playing him a month ago, and he hasn’t come out because he’s doing those little things," Brown said. "Sometimes he’s not shooting the ball well, but he’s doing those little things that don’t always show up in the stat sheet. We need that every night."

“I can’t control if the ball goes in," Lyles said. "I can’t control how many minutes I get. But I can control the effort I put forth. I’ve noticed when I play harder and faster and more aggressive, I play more. So, I just need to do that.”

Simple enough. 

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