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Domantas Sabonis carries Kings past skidding Rockets

Jan 11, 2023; Sacramento, California, USA; Houston Rockets forward Jae'Sean Tate (8) drives to the basket against Sacramento Kings forward KZ Okpala (30) during the first quarter at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Domantas Sabonis came within one assist of his fourth triple-double of the season, Trey Lyles saved 12 of his 20 points for a late surge and the Sacramento Kings held off a challenge from the visiting Houston Rockets for a 135-115 victory Wednesday night in the opener of a two-game, same-site series.

The clubs meet again Friday night in Sacramento.

Seeking just a second win in their last 14 games, the Rockets hung with the surprise Pacific Division leaders for three-plus quarters, and even stuck their nose in front at 101-100 on a 3-pointer by Garrison Mathews with 8:44 remaining in the game.

But Lyles countered with an interior hoop 22 seconds later to give Sacramento the lead for good, and when he combined with De’Aaron Fox for the next seven points, the Kings had begun to pull away at 109-101 with 6:27 to go.

Alperen Sengun had a pair of hoops to help Houston stay within 110-105, but Sacramento put the game away with the game’s next 12 points, eight coming on a pair of 3-pointers and an interior floater by Lyles.

Sabonis finished with 25 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists, the third time this season he’s missed a triple-double by either one rebound or one assist. The double-double was his league-leading 31st.

Fox chipped in with 24 points and Lyles 20 off the bench for the Kings, who won for just the second time in four games on a homestand that ends Friday. Fox also found time for a team-high-tying nine assists.

Harrison Barnes and Keegan Murray added 16 points apiece and Malik Monk had 11 for Sacramento, which used a 26-11 advantage in free-throw points to help create the double-digit victory margin.

Sengun recorded his first career triple-double with 10 points, a team-high 10 rebounds and a game-high 10 assists.

Jalen Green had a game-high 26 points for the Rockets, who lost their eighth straight, while Kenyon Martin Jr. went for 21 points, Eric Gordon 19 and Mathews 12.

The Rockets lost despite nearly matching the hosts in overall shooting percentage (47.9 to 45.8) and 3-point accuracy (39.6 percent to 39.0 percent).

–Field Level Media