The Sacramento Kings suffered a heart-breaking Game 4 loss against the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs. Forward Harrison Barnes had a chance to win it at the buzzer, but missed the shot to give the Warriors a 126-125 win. The series is now tied 2-2 and heading back to Sacramento for Game 5, where the Kings will look to replicate their success from the start of this series. Despite losing two in San Francisco, the Kings looked the part against the defending champions, especially guard De’Aaron Fox. Unfortunately, it is now reported that Fox suffered a broken finger in Game 4, and is now doubtful to play in Game 5.
Fox apparently suffered the broken finger during Game 4 and played through the injury, spectacularly at that. Fox finished with 38 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists, out-dueling Stephen Curry albeit the loss. Fox is now averaging 31.5 points per game this series, establishing himself firmly in the conversation of best guards in the NBA. Besides Fox, the Kings have had decent production across the roster. Malik Monk is averaging 17.5 points off the bench after averaging 13.5 during the regular season, shooting 35% from the 3-point line. Unfortunately for the Kings, All-Star big man Domantas Sabonis has seen his production fall off from the regular season; Sabonis averaged 19.1 points and 12.3 rebounds across 79 games this season, but is down to 16.3 points and 12.0 rebounds through Game 4 against the Warriors. As the Beam Team heads back to Sacramento for Game 5, Sabonis will look to return to regular season form.
Game 5 is a pivotal matchup for the eventual outcome of this series, as taking a 3-2 lead would do wonders for both of these teams chances of advancing in the 2023 NBA Playoffs. In terms of Sacramento, here are three bold predictions for the Kings in Game 5 vs. the Warriors.
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De’Aaron Fox plays through injury for the Sacramento Kings
The Sacramento Kings will go as far as De’Aaron Fox takes them in the 2023 NBA Playoffs. A broken finger is a devastating blow for a Kings team with high hopes, as the NBA Clutch Player of the Year has been fantastic in the series. With the biggest game in decades coming up in Game 5 for the Kings franchise, the injury blow could not be dealt at a worse time for Sacramento. However, Fox has shown elite leadership in this series, and the tenacity needed to win games throughout this season. The Kings star can be counted on to rise to the moment, and Game 5 will not be any different. Knowing the magnitude of this game, Fox will play through a doubtful tag and continue to dominate for the Kings in a crucial Game 5.
Returning home to the Golden 1 center will move mountains for this Kings team, as they arguably have the best home-court advantage in the entire NBA. This energy will motivate Fox and give him the needed adrenaline to suit up in Game 5, as he will be playing with a protective covering on his left index finger. Not only will Fox play through the injury, but he will continue to score at a clip of 31.5 points per game. Fox will transform from star player to Sacramento legend after Game 5, playing through a broken finger for one of the most dedicated fanbases in the league.
Domantas Sabonis breaks out against the Golden State Warriors
The aforementioned numbers for Domantas Sabonis have been nothing to write home about for the All-Star. He is still shooting the ball efficiently, however he needs to be more aggressive in creating his own opportunities and putting up more shots. The Kings should have the advantage in the paint in this series, and Sabonis is the primary reason for that. So far, Sabonis hasn’t exhibited this advantage, and the result is a tied series heading into Game 5. Sabonis understands the urgency for him to have a breakout game, and expect it to happen in Game 5.
Sabonis highest scoring output in this series came in Game 2, a 24 point effort on 8/12 shooting from the field. Despite the 24 points, he still only had 12 shot attempts, not enough for a player of his caliber in a series of this magnitude. Game 5 will all but guarantee the outcome of this series, and Sabonis needs to be more of a focal point for the Kings offense if they want to win. Sabonis will take some pressure off of Fox and his broken finger, putting up over 20 shot attempts. Once Game 5 comes to a close, Sabonis will have posted a 30 point effort for the Sacramento Kings.
The Kings light the beam for a 3-2 lead
The beam lit atop the Golden 1 center has captured the hearts of NBA fans globally this season. What started as a simple marketing technique has become a rallying call for an entire city, as Kings fans can be heard nationwide exclaiming their desire to light the beam after a Sacramento win. After lighting the beam twice in the first two games of this series, the Kings have been unable to illuminate the Sacramento skies in violet over the last two games. That will change in Game 5, as the Kings will go on to win and light the beam for a 3-2 series lead.
Over the first two games of this series, the Kings simply looked like a better team than the Warriors. However, home cooking was a factor over the next two games, as the Warriors played a more familiar Golden State brand of basketball on their way to evening the series. However, the Warriors now have to go back on the road, a place they have struggled mightily all season long. A road matchup in Game 5 will prove too much for the Warriors, and the Kings will hit them in the mouth early on their way to a win. Sacramento faithful can prepare to light the beam after Game 5, and be one win away from advancing in the 2023 NBA Playoffs.
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