Tue, 21 Mar 2023

Rookie Keegan Murray powers Kings past Rockets

Field Level Media
07 Feb 2023, 13:40 GMT+10

Keegan Murray scored a career-high 30 points and drilled eight 3-pointers as the visiting Sacramento Kings rode a balanced attack to a 140-120 victory over the Houston Rockets on Monday.

Murray was one of six players to score in double figures for the Kings, who shot 58.4 percent overall while connecting on 21 of 41 3-pointers. De'Aaron Fox paired 16 points with eight assists in his return from a two-game absence, while Kevin Huerter also chipped in 16 points for Sacramento.

Domantas Sabonis (17 points, 10 assists) recorded a double-double, and Malik Monk supplied 20 points off the Kings' bench.

Jalen Green led the Rockets with 27 points while Eric Gordon added 16 points and a team-high eight assists. Kenyon Martin Jr. totaled 18 points and eight rebounds and Alperen Sengun posted 15 points, seven rebounds and seven assists as Houston dropped its third straight.

Trailing by 17 at intermission, the Rockets rallied to within five points courtesy of their sudden proficiency from behind the arc. Houston missed 10 of 12 3-pointers in the first half but drilled six over the opening 6 1/2 minutes of the third quarter, with Eric Gordon's triple making it 81-76 with 5:45 left to play in the period.

But the Rockets were on the wrong end of a critical swing when Jabari Smith Jr. missed a reverse layup and Murray responded with consecutive 3-pointers that extended the Sacramento lead to 87-76. When Monk stroked a 3-pointer off a Fox assist just before the buzzer, the Kings went up 99-88 entering the fourth.

Sacramento led by 20 just before the midway point of the final stanza following a 10-2 run, and the Rockets never seriously threatened from there.

The Kings turned five Houston turnovers and five offensive rebounds into a plus-11 margin in shot attempts in the first period, a key advantage behind their 31-24 lead by the conclusion of the frame. Houston continued to struggle in the second, particularly during the Kings' 18-7 run to close the first half.

--Field Level Media

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