What we learned as Domas, Barnes fuel Kings’ season sweep of Lakers

What we learned as Domas, Barnes fuel Kings’ season sweep of Lakers originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

SACRAMENTO — Domantas Sabonis recorded a triple-double and Harrison Barnes scored a team-high 23 points as the Kings beat the Los Angeles Lakers 120-107 in a pivotal Western Conference showdown Wednesday at Golden 1 Center.

The Kings (37-27) moved ahead of the Phoenix Suns by virtue of the tiebreaker into the Western Conference’s No. 6 seed with the win, while the Lakers (36-30) remain in ninth place, now three games behind Sacramento.

Lakers superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, both cleared to play before the game, finished with 18 and 22 points, respectively.

Kings star point guard De’Aaron Fox finished with 21 points, four rebounds, seven assists and one steal – and made franchise history along the way. With his field goal at the 8:31 mark of the third quarter, Fox passed Peja Stojakovic (9,498) for the fourth-most points in the Sacramento era.

The Kings secured their second-ever season series sweep of the Lakers, also doing so in 2015-16.

Here are the takeaways from the Kings’ win.

Keegan back like he never left 

Keegan Murray missed Tuesday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks due to an ankle sprain he sustained in Sunday’s loss to the Houston Rockets, but the second-year forward was good to go for the second half of Sacramento’s back-to-back.

Murray returned to Wednesday’s game like he never left, and his two-way presence was felt from the jump.

Earlier this week, the young forward dismissed the notion that his shooting efficiency is down this season because his focus has shifted to defense as he strives toward becoming an elite NBA two-way player.

That challenge has presented him with some of the toughest matchups, including defending Steph Curry, Luka Dončić and Donovan Mitchell.

Wednesday was no different.

Murray received the LeBron assignment, one he has handled well in the previous three matchups this season. But not only did Murray well defend one of the greatest players to ever play the game in the win, he shined on the other end of the floor as well.

The 23-year-old finished with 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the field and 5 of 10 from 3-point range, with 11 rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Another start, another win 

Keon Ellis extended his perfect record as a starter Wednesday, earning his second consecutive start and sixth of the season with Kevin Huerter out due to injury.

Ellis’ reliability, specifically on the defensive end, hasn’t gone unnoticed this season. The 24-year-old entered the season on a two-way contract and was rewarded with a standard NBA contract last month.

While he does a lot of the little things that might go under the radar at times, his confidence with the ball has risen since seeing more minutes.

Ellis now is 6-0 as a starter this season after contributing 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field and 3 of 5 from deep, adding two rebounds, three steals and one block in 28 minutes.

The undrafted guard out of Alabama certainly has shown he belongs in the NBA, and Wednesday’s showing continued to be proof of just that.

Domas dominates AD again  

So it lives on.

Sabonis’ dominance this season continued with his 48th consecutive double-double and league-leading 23rd triple-double — 17 points, 19 rebounds and 10 assists — but another streak extended Wednesday night.

Davis entered the contest 0-9 in his career against Sabonis, and the Lithuanian big man made it 10 on Wednesday.

Before the game, Davis downplayed being winless against the Kings big man.

“I’m all about the team,” he told reporters (h/t ESPN’s Dave McMenamin). “The 1-on-1 thing, it doesn’t bother me.”

While basketball is a team sport, Kings fans certainly are soaking in the competition – or lack thereof – against the Lakers star.

If the two star players meet again this season, it likely would be in a potential Western Conference play-in game in April.