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De’Aaron Fox hits winner as Kings stay hot

Jan 3, 2023; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Sacramento Kings guard Davion Mitchell (15) defends Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley (11) during the first quarter at Vivint Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Creveling-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Christopher Creveling-USA TODAY Sports

De’Aaron Fox drove for a go-ahead layup with four-tenths of a second remaining, Lauri Markkanen’s subsequent 3-pointer was overturned on review, and the Sacramento Kings moved into sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division with a dramatic, 117-115 victory over the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City on Tuesday night.

Domantas Sabonis chipped in with 21 points to complement game-highs in rebounds with 14 and assists with eight, helping the Kings — who have not won a Pacific Division title in 20 years, move a half-game up on the Los Angeles Clippers as the NBA season approaches its midpoint.

Markkanen had a team-high 28 points for the Jazz, but needed three more to prevent Utah from losing a fifth straight.

Seeking a third win in their last four games, the Kings trailed 98-96 following a Malik Beasley 3-pointer with 6:47 left before Fox took charge, scoring 16 of Sacramento’s final 21 points.

The last two were the most important, as they came after Markkanen was fouled on a 3-point attempt with 16.1 seconds left and cashed in all three free throws to produce a 115-115 tie.

After Fox’s hoop, the Jazz called a timeout to advance the ball, then hit Markkanen along the left sideline, just beyond the 3-point line. He quickly turned and immediately fired up a shot that sent the crowd into a frenzy, only to be disallowed when video review showed the ball was still on his fingertips as time expired.

Fox finished with a game-high 37 points for Sacramento, which had led by as many as 14. He also found time for six assists and two blocks.

With Fox hitting 15 of his 22 field goal attempts, the Kings outshot the Jazz 53.5 percent to 43.2 percent.

Harrison Barnes added 19 points, while Keegan Murray and Kevin Huerter chipped in with 16 apiece for the Kings, who beat the Jazz 126-125 in Sacramento on Friday.

Jordan Clarkson backed Markkanen with 24 points for Utah, while Mike Conley had 18 to go with a team-high seven assists and three steals, Beasley scored 16, and Jarred Vanderbilt scored 14 to go with a team-high nine rebounds.

–Field Level Media