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Kings-Hawks game features teams used to last-second drama

Jan 3, 2023; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Sacramento Kings guard De'Aaron Fox (5) shoots the ball over Utah Jazz guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker (6) during the fourth quarter at Vivint Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Creveling-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Christopher Creveling-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks are coming off a final-second loss in their most recent game while the Sacramento Kings won their latest contest in the last second.

The two squads will meet Wednesday night in Sacramento with the Hawks looking to bounce back and the Kings looking to ride the momentum of a dramatic victory.

De’Aaron Fox capped a huge night by scoring the tiebreaking layup with 0.4 seconds to play during Sacramento’s 117-115 victory over the Utah Jazz on Tuesday in Salt Lake City.

Utah’s Lauri Markkanen then caught a long pass and knocked down a 3-pointer, but a replay review showed the ball didn’t leave Markkanen’s hand in time.

That gave the Kings the victory on a night when Fox took over in the final quarter by scoring 22 of his 37 points. He was 9 of 10 from the field in the period.

“I was getting in a zone,” Fox said of the final-quarter splurge. “A lot of that was just picking where I wanted to get to and then getting there and shooting the shots you work on every day.”

Domantas Sabonis, who is playing with a broken right thumb, had a solid all-around game with 21 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists as Sacramento won for the third time in four games and moved into fifth place in the Western Conference.

Kings first-year coach Mike Brown has supplied a positive vibe for a franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs since the 2005-06 season. The Kings have a 20-16 record just five games before the midway point, and Fox, 25, has made himself a top candidate for his first All-Star Game appearance.

“We haven’t really been in this position before,” Brown said of the success. “We’re all learning and we’re all growing together, and Fox is at the forefront of it.”

The game against Atlanta will be the opener of a five-game homestand for Sacramento.

The Hawks opened a four-game trip with a 143-141 double-overtime loss to the Golden State Warriors on Monday. Kevon Looney’s putback of his own miss with 0.1 seconds left gave Golden State the victory and sent Atlanta to its fourth straight setback and 10th in the past 14 games.

It also was the second time in three games that the Hawks were on the wrong end of the last-second shot. Atlanta’s Dejounte Murray missed a 3-point try at the end of a 108-107 home loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Dec. 28.

“It’s tough to lose any game,” Hawks guard Trae Young said. “Whether it’s one (point) or 50, it’s a loss. That’s how I look at it. It’s tough to be on this side of a buzzer-beater, but we have been on the other side, too.”

Young pointed at Atlanta’s shaky first half at Golden State as the reason for the defeat. The Hawks trailed by 21 late in the second quarter and 17 at halftime before outscoring the Warriors 42-25 in the third period.

“I think we did a real good job in the second half, fighting our way back into it and making it a game,” said Young, “but that first half really hurt us.”

Young had 30 points, 14 assists and seven rebounds against the Warriors. Murray had 25 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, John Collins contributed 25 points and 13 rebounds, and Bogdan Bogdanovic had 21 points off the bench.

The Hawks have won the past three meetings with the Kings, including a 115-106 home victory on Nov. 23. Young recorded 35 points and seven assists for Atlanta in that contest, while Malik Monk scored 27 off the bench for the Kings.

Sacramento’s Kevin Huerter, who scored 13 points vs. the Hawks in November, spent his first four NBA seasons with Atlanta before being traded to the Kings in the offseason.

–Field Level Media