Sabonis ‘proud' of Kings' effort in impressive win over Cavs


Sometimes, there is beauty in what some might perceive as ugly.

And in the Kings' 106-95 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, there was a lot of ugliness to go around.

Days after falling to the Milwaukee Bucks, Sacramento (14-10) -- without star guard De'Aaron Fox -- went to Cleveland (16-10) and proved that it could keep up with any team.

"It was ugly," Kings center Domantas Sabonis told Kyle Draper and Matt Barnes on "Kings Postgame Live." "It was ugly all game but I'm just happy those last five minutes we stuck with it, we got stops that we needed, we started sharing the ball and we got this win.

"I'm really proud of this team."

After holding a 15-point lead early in the second quarter, the Kings slowly allowed the Cavaliers to get back into the game, going up by as many as eight points with 4:50 remaining in the fourth quarter. 

However, Sabonis and the Kings decided that they were done playing ugly basketball. From that point on, Sacramento went on a 19-0 run to close out Cleveland and leave with the 11-point win.

Typically, runs of that nature would be spearheaded by a team's leader, which in this case is Fox. But with Fox sitting out with a foot injury, it was a collective effort from the rest of the Kings players to pull out the win.

"Everyone had to come and step up," Sabonis continued. "He's a big part of our team, he's the head of the snake, like coach says, and without him, I feel like Davion [Mitchell] came out big time, was clutch on defense and offense, moving the ball and I'm just proud of the team for those last five minutes."

Kings forward Harrison Barnes shared Sabonis' sentiment on how Mitchell and the rest of the team played to close out the Cavaliers. 

"You got to give credit," Barnes told reporters postgame. "I thought the way Davion just hawked the ball defensively tonight, Delly [Matthew Dellavedova] coming back here, after not being here for a while, just being ready to play, step in, make stuff happen.

"I mean all the little things that I think everyone did to just contribute to this win, I think it's a good team win where everybody had an impact."

Speaking of impact, though the Kings' win was a team effort, Sabonis undoubtedly was the engine that pushed Sacramento to a win. In 37 minutes, the 26-year-old filled up the stat sheet with 18 points, 18 rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks. 

Though he only shot 5-of-12 from the field, Sabonis frequently muscled his way into the paint and scored over Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley, the Cavaliers' two shot blockers. 

Not only that, but Sabonis found open players with a bevy of slick passes that some only could dream of making. 

"Domas was un-freaking-believable. He was amazing," Kings coach Mike Brown said to reporters after the game. "I still am amazed at how hard that man plays every freaking possession -- he doesn't take a possession off. 

"When you have that from one of your best players, if not the best player, it's contagious."

While praising Sabonis, Brown also noted the mental fortitude of his team as a whole for being able to get a grind-it-out win over the Cavaliers, who before Friday's contest were 11-1 at home. 

"We have to bring a toughness that the entire team brought throughout most of the game," Brown said. "To end the game with 10 straight stops, unbelievable.

"I take my hat off to the guys." 

Along with Sabonis, Barnes (20), Kevin Huerter (19) and Keegan Murray (18) all scored in double figures for the Kings, with Murray hitting a career-high six 3-pointers in the win, including a timely bucket to give Sacramento some breathing room. 

In all, Sabonis said that before the 19-0 run to seal the game, the Kings understood that they weren't playing their brand of basketball and needed to get themselves into gear. 

"We just knew all game, we just weren't playing ourselves -- it wasn't our defense or our offense," Sabonis continued. "Things were going great on both sides, seven minutes left, it's a lot of time in the NBA. 

"We just got to stick to our principles and keep going and I feel like we did that."

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Despite the ugliness of the game, the Kings found beauty in the form of a win against one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. 

Even if Fox might be sidelined for longer, he and Kings fans can rest assured knowing that the team can pick up the slack when Sacramento takes on the New York Knicks on Sunday for the third game of their six-game road trip. 

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