Fox boosts Clutch Player resume with signature night vs. Mavs originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SACRAMENTO — Domantas Sabonis fouled out of the Kings’ 133-128 victory over the Dallas Mavericks with less than two minutes to play in overtime in a three-point game.
The Kings’ All-Star center wasn’t too worried, though.
“When I fouled out, I was like, ‘[De’Aaron] Fox got this,’ ” Sabonis said after the game.
Sure enough, the other half of the Kings’ All-Star duo took care of business. Every time Mavericks newcomer Kyrie Irving made a huge play to inch Dallas closer late in the game, Fox was ready with an answer.
Fox, who led all scorers with 36 points, calmly knocked down all six free-throw attempts after Sabonis’ departure to the tune of “Light the Beam!” and “MVP!” chants at Golden 1 Center. Once again, he did most of his damage where his bread has been buttered this season: In the clutch. With the game on the line. When it matters the most.
Fox scored 12 points of his 36 points in the fourth quarter. He missed a potential game-winning 3-point attempt at the fourth-quarter buzzer but erased all memories of that misfired trey with an astounding 14 points in overtime.
That’s the highest total any NBA player has scored after regulation all season.
“He was also big defensively,” Kings guard Terence Davis said after the game. “He’s an All-Star. He deserves it.
“He’s just him, man. That’s all I’ve got to say. He’s him for sure.”
Fox’s biggest play of the night was on the defensive side of the floor. With 1:46 remaining in regulation and Dallas leading by one point, Mavericks star Luka Dončić found himself trapped near mid-court. He tried to slink out of harm’s way with a bounce pass to forward Reggie Bullock, but Fox sniffed it out.
Fox tapped the ball loose, took one dribble and threw down a thunderous dunk on the other end for a one-point lead — the Kings’ first since the final minute of the third quarter.
The guard’s triumphs Saturday night represented his 19th fourth quarter with double-digit points this season, the second-most in the league trailing only Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo (22).
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Fox has been atop the leaderboard in just about every offensive statistic in the clutch this season. He only widened the gap Saturday night, boosting his case to be the winner of the first annual Jerry West Clutch Player of the Year award.
“I’ve seen it on Twitter and Instagram,” Fox said about the Clutch Player of the Year award. “I’ll look at the comments and see what people say. I don’t know how biased people are, but I think just about every stat probably points towards me getting up.
“We’ll see what happens at the end of the season.”
It was looking like a forgettable game for Fox heading into the final quarter. He only had 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting over the first 36 minutes of the game.
The final 17 minutes? Twenty-six points on 8-of-14 shooting and a perfect 10-for-10 from the free-throw line.
And that’s why Fox is heading to Salt Lake City next week for the 2023 NBA All-Star Game.