EditorsNote: Corrects spelling of Redick
Fox’s game-winning jumper sends Kings past 76ers
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — De’Aaron Fox dribbled at the top of the key, saw the space in front of him, quickly eyeballed the rest of the floor and saw none of his Sacramento Kings teammates getting open.
He didn’t hesitate.
“That’s a shot that I’m very comfortable taking,” the rookie said.
Turned out, it was the shot that became his first game-winner. With no other options, Fox fired perfectly from 19 feet with 14 seconds left to produce the last of 21 lead changes and lift Sacramento to a 109-108 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday at the Golden 1 Center.
“It’s a really good win for us,” Fox said after the Kings (3-8) posted their second straight win. “The other night, we beat Oklahoma City, and that’s a great team. Philadelphia came in with a winning streak. This gives us a lot of confidence.”
Fox finished with 11 points and seven assists, and the Kings overcame a 105-100 deficit in the final 2:11 to snap Philadelphia’s five-game winning streak. The 76ers’ run of success was their longest since the 2011-12 season.
“We didn’t deserve to win,” Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said. “It’s as poor a first half as we’ve played. We had no teamwork or discipline defensively. ... We punched ourselves in the eye.”
Veteran Zach Randolph scored a team-high 20 points for Sacramento, and rookie Justin Jackson added 19. Jackson, coming off a 16-point effort against Oklahoma City on Tuesday, has set career bests for scoring in each of his past two games.
“Going out there and just trying to play,” Jackson said. “Early, I think I was trying to overthink it. Now I’m just playing, and thankfully coach (Dave Joerger) has been letting me stay out there a little more.”
Robert Covington scored 24 points and canned six 3-pointers, and Joel Embiid added 22 points and 15 rebounds for Philadelphia (6-5).
Philadelphia had one final chance to tie the game after Fox’s shot, but Embiid’s jumper for the win at the buzzer clanked off the iron. Brown declined to call a timeout before 76ers’ final possession.
“We’ve just got to execute,” Embiid said. “That was a broken play. Guys were kind of scrambling.”
Ben Simmons added 18 points, J.J. Redick had 14 and Dario Saric scored 13 for the 76ers. All five Philadelphia starters scored in double digits, but Sacramento’s bench outscored the 76ers’ reserves 56-17.
“You need to have a team effort, and we had some guys down. That happens,” Brown said. “That’s not what’s concerning. Locking that game down, like we have the last four to five games and being organized and disciplined to do that ... we let one go.”
Embiid emerged from a scare seemingly OK after collapsing on a drive toward the basket with 53.3 seconds left in the third quarter. Embiid appeared to turn his left ankle after picking up his dribble and was slow to get up after going down. The 76ers called an immediate timeout, and Embiid returned after the break and didn’t miss a minute of action.
Willie Cauley-Stein finished with 15 points, four rebounds and two blocks for Sacramento. He blocked a put-back attempt by Embiid with 25.1 seconds left and the Kings down 108-107 to set the stage for Fox.
“It was all five players,” Fox said. “We were all communicating, we all played hard and can attribute everybody to that win.”
NOTES: The 76ers have been carefully monitoring the minutes for F Joel Embiid, as they try to make sure he is on the court more than 31 games, his rookie-season total. He played a season-high 32 minutes against the Kings and is averaging 28 minutes. He has played more than 30 minutes only twice. ... Philadelphia sank 15 3-pointers, extending their streak of making at least 10 to seven straight games. ... The Kings have led after one quarter in only two of their 11 contests this season. They have not been ahead after the first 12 minutes in six straight games. ... Sacramento F Vince Carter (illness) was unavailable.