Kevin Huerter, Domantas Sabonis show value of team play in Kings win

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Huerter, Domas exemplify value of team play in win over Jazz originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

For the Kings to put away the feisty Utah Jazz, they needed to be a cohesive team on both sides of the ball.

And in Sacramento's 126-125 win Friday at Golden 1 Center, the Kings proved to be just that.

"It took everything," Kings guard Kevin Huerter told Kyle Draper, Kenny Thomas and Morgan Ragan on "Kings Postgame Live" on what Sacramento needed to do to win. "This team wouldn't go away.

"Obviously we won this, it came down to the end, it was a huge home win for us."

With the Kings down two, 125-123, with under 20 seconds remaining, Huerter's backcourt mate, De'Aaron Fox, left a runner short off the rim.

Instead of giving up, Harrison Barnes gobbled up the rebound and passed it to Keegan Murray, who then passed it one more time to a wide-open Huerter.

Getting the ball with 11.3 seconds left, Huerter -- a few steps behind the 3-point line -- rose up and hit the go-ahead 3-pointer to give the Kings a one-point lead with 9.2 seconds left.

Huerter's clutch 3-pointer gave him a team-high 30 points on the night, which also happened to be a new career high.

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That said, nursing a one-point lead with 4.9 seconds remaining, the Kings played arguably their best defensive sequence as a team, with multiple players playing superb defense to sneak away with the win over the Jazz.

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After three players scored 30 or more points against the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday, Huerter was the only player to reach that mark Friday night. However, Murray recognized that Sacramento's ability to have multiple offensive weapons helps their chances.

"I think we just have more than one guy that can step up to the plate," Murray told Draper, Thomas and Ragan. "That's something that you need in a team that wants to get into the playoffs.

"I feel like a lot of guys are doing that now and that's all we could ask for."

Murray also noted that while his teammates don't necessarily mind individual accolades; what they're looking for are wins.

"I think we're just unselfish as a group," Murray continued. "It's just we're a unit, we're a team and I think it's special what we have so far."

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Kings center Domantas Sabonis, the embodiment of unselfishness as evidenced by his absurd assist totals this season, mentioned how the team fought together as one unit in the final possessions of Sacramento's win.

"And it just shows that we don't give up, we just keep fighting," Sabonis told reporters postgame. "A lot of times, you can just put your head down when things aren't going your way and we kept fighting."

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Despite filling up the stat sheet with 28 points on a perfect 12 of 12 shooting from the field -- with a broken thumb -- 11 rebounds and eight assists, Sabonis made sure to mention Huerter's "amazing" outing.

"He's been putting in work every day, he hasn't been shooting it as well lately, but we trust him," Sabonis said. "We give him the green light to take any 3 he wants."

Sabonis adds that Huerter "did a bit of everything," allowing the Kings to have more options on offense.

"I feel like this is normal for him so he's back."

While the Kings had to play as one to sneak out a win against Utah, what Sabonis has done individually over the last handful of weeks has been nothing short of historic.

The 26-year-old center became the first player since Wilt Chamberlain in 1968 to average at least 20 points per game, 14 rebounds and 7.0 assists on 65 percent shooting from field, finishing December averaging 21.7 points, 14.4 rebounds and 7.2 assists per game on 69 percent shooting from the field.

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Moreover, Sabonis' production Friday was the first time any Kings player had that kind of stat line since 1978.

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In the end, in spite of Huerter and Sabonis' individual performances, the former understands that the Kings wouldn't have won without the collective effort of all the players.

"It was a team effort," Huerter continued. "Just our activity in that last possession, offensive rebounds, keeping the ball alive, everybody really pitched in today."

Along with Huerter and Sabonis, Fox chipped in 24 points of his own, including a monster dunk over Kelly Olynyk.

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In all, the Kings are proving to be a cohesive team, one arguably that has not been seen in some time.

RELATED: NBA: Kings benefited from two missed calls in win vs. Nuggets

If Sacramento is able to keep playing together to dispatch tough opponents, it bodes well for their playoff chances.