West Notes: Kings, De’Aaron Fox, Grizzlies, Clippers


Point guard De’Aaron Fox tied a career-high with 44 points and the Kings coasted to an impressive road win over the Lakers on Wednesday, and frankly, coach Mike Brown is struggling to describe Fox these days.De'Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings, NBA

“He was amazing. I hate using that word because to me that’s who he is,” Brown told reporters. “It’s hard to score 44 points every single night, especially on the percentage that he did it at, but he is more than capable with his ability. It was a big game for him in a big-game environment.”

While all the focus has been on the Lakers, Western Conference teams such as the Kings are starting to show they are playoff-ready.

“Right now where the standings are, if we lose this game, we’re half a game in front of them rather than 2 1/2 like it is now,” Fox said. “So right now especially to play teams that are around us in the standings, those games mean a little more.”


The shorthanded Grizzlies outscored the shorthanded 76ers 34-16 in the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s win and coach Taylor Jenkins said the goal is just to keep the team playing hard — despite this being a lost season of injuries.

“If we don’t get the job done, a lot of times it’s that fourth quarter execution on both sides of the floor,” Jenkins told reporters. “Make the winning plays. That’s the thing I keep stressing. Luckily, they did the last two games and we get to carry hopefully some momentum back home and play a little better back at home.”

Along with star guard Ja Morant, Memphis has been trying to figure out rotations with the likes of guards Desmond Bane, Marcus Smart and Derrick Rose and forward Ziaire Williams also out injured.

“These guys have just been really hanging in,” Jenkins said. “There’s still a lot more basketball left to play in the season. We keep reminding them, here’s what’s in front of us, here’s our reality. What are we going to do about it?”


Talk about a comeback. The Clippers trailed the Rockets by as many as 20 points on Thursday and didn’t lead in the second until there were about 3 minutes to go in the game. Los Angeles, of course, held on to win.

That’s the type of resiliency coach Tyronn Lue has come to expect these days.

“In the first half it was like we were running in mud,” Lue said. “We couldn’t keep up with them. They got out in transition and we just couldn’t get back and get matched. So at halftime we made a strong point about that.”

Forward Kawhi Leonard led the way with 28 points and fellow stars Paul George and James Harden added 21 apiece.

“Just coming out with more energy,” Leonard said of the differences between the first and second half. “I feel like especially in the first quarter we were sluggish, thinking we were just going to win the game. Then we obviously started picking it up with our energy and started cutting and screening.”

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