Coach Mike Brown summed up the Kings’ first playoff appearance in 17 years the very second he sat at the postgame podium.
“What a game,” he told reporters.
And man, he was right about that one. Guard De’Aaron Fox erupted for 38 points in his first playoff appearance, and the Kings edged the visiting Warriors by a 126-123 count in their first playoff appearance in 17 years.
Yeah, 17 years. And Sacramento leads their first-round series against the defending champions, 1-0.
Not a bad way to return.
Kings fans showed their appreciation by rocking the Golden 1 Center from opening tip to the final buzzer. There may not be a louder arena in these playoffs.
Fox returned the favor by lighting the postgame purple beam, that’s become a popular rite of passage after a victory this season.
“Sacramento showed out tonight,” Fox told reporters. “But doing this for the fans, just knowing the way that they support this team through thick and thin — really thin. It’s just a testament to the way they are.”
As for Fox’s performance on the court, he saved his best for the second half, when he scored 29 points after settling in to postseason hoops.
“You need guys like that on your side because they know everything that we’re throwing at them,” Brown said. “There’s no secrets. You have to have guys on your team that can go make plays and Foxy went and made plays tonight.”
Guard Malik Monk added a career-high 32 points off the bench, including a pair of free throws for the final crucial points with 2.9 seconds to go.
It helped overcome another fine performance from the likes of Warriors guards Steph Curry (30 points), Klay Thompson (21) and Jordan Poole (18). Andrew Wiggins also had 18 in his first game in nearly two months, though he missed a corner 3-pointer in the closing seconds that would’ve given the Warriors the lead.
“That first game is kind of a feeling out process,” Curry said. “We responded. That’s what we are capable of doing. It was a high energy game from start to finish.”
In other words, the Warriors remain confident. But it’s obvious that the new Kings on the block are pretty confident, too.
Yeah, it’s like this out here in Sactown. ? pic.twitter.com/6oT5MTQPAj
— The Kings Herald (@thekingsherald) April 16, 2023