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Domas lauded for ‘gladiator' mindset after Kings' win vs. Spurs

Domas lauded for ‘gladiator' mindset after Kings' win vs. Spurs originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

Game-time decision or not, Domantas Sabonis’ production and commitment for the Kings has been unquestionable this season – and it didn’t go missing on Thursday night.

In Sacramento’s chippy 127-122 win over the San Antonio Spurs at Golden 1 Center, Sabonis once again shined, posting a league-leading 19th triple-double as the Kings big man went toe-to-toe with rookie sensation Victor Wembanyama.

Unlike on other occasions this season, the Kings managed to cap off a stellar performance from Sabonis with a victory, earning him a fitting nickname from Kevin Huerter.

“He’s been sick, but he probably needs a rest more than any of us,” Heurter told reporters. “That guy is a gladiator. He’s in every night. He plays heavy minutes.

“He gets beat up. I wasn't sure if he was going to play today. We hadn’t seen him the last couple of days, and he showed up here ready to play.

“We weren’t expecting anything different. I think he got his lungs back in the first half. He was huge for us. Again, a typical night for him.”

In speaking to reporters, Sacramento guard De’Aaron Fox addressed the Kings’ need to capitalize on Sabonis’ prolific play while remembering to appreciate it.

“We’ve talked about it before, you don’t want to become numb to what he is doing,” Fox told reporters. “That’s not normal. It's only been done a few times in this game. The fact that he is available every night is big for us because he plays so hard, he plays so physical.

“He could easily be one of those guys that takes a few nights off. He came in today, and you couldn’t get him to not play today. He was a game-time decision, but he wasn’t not going to play. That’s leading by example.”

The words rest or quit are simply not in Sabonis’ dictionary.

“If something’s hurt, he’s like, ‘No, I’m fine. I’m going to go out there and give it my all. You live with the results,’” Fox added. “That’s what you want out of somebody who is one of the best players in the league.

“Who is an MVP candidate. I don’t know how many of those guys haven’t missed a game yet, but he’s definitely up there.”

In what was supposed to be a rest night, Sabonis decided to extend his double-double streak to 38 games, finishing with 22 points from the floor while adding 11 rebounds and 11 assists.

Gladiator, MVP candidate, triple-double machine - either one is appropriate to describe the Kings’ most reliable player this season.