With De’Aaron Fox sidelined by injury, Kings rookie guard Davion Mitchell has made the most of his opportunity as a starter for Sacramento, with his effort on Wednesday the latest example.
Mitchell paired 24 points with eight assists in the Kings’ 121-118 road win over the Houston Rockets, with the second of back-to-back meetings between the teams coming on Friday.
He became the first Kings rookie with five consecutive 20-point games since Tyreke Evans in the 2009-10 season. Mitchell is averaging 19.1 points and 5.9 assists in 14 starts this season.
But integral to the win over the Rockets were the contributions of forward Trey Lyles and center Damian Jones, both of whom matched Mitchell for team-high scoring honors.
Jones added nine rebounds, five assists and four blocks to his career-high scoring total while Lyles, who joined the Kings at the trade deadline, had seven boards and finished 10 of 12 from the free-throw line.
“He put in the work,” Kings coach Alvin Gentry said about Jones’ development. “The great thing about him is that he can go four games with a DNP and then the fifth game he’s going to play as hard and with confidence. He’s a joy to be around every time he comes into practice, a game, whatever, he’s always going to be smiling. He puts in the work and I think he’s gotten better.
“As far as Trey, everybody forgets that the first couple of games, Trey didn’t play. He just keeps himself ready and when we’ve stuck him in there, he’s played really good basketball for us.
After losing seven of eight, Sacramento has won three of four and is trying to conclude another losing season on a high note.
“We just continue to stack days,” Jones said. “We’re just trying to finish the season out playing hard.”
The Rockets’ young backcourt continues to excel, with rookie Jalen Green and third-year point guard Kevin Porter Jr. producing another exceptional combined performance in the setback.
Green drained six 3-pointers and matched his career high with 32 points, his third 30-point game of March and fourth overall. Porter notched his first career triple-double with a season-high-tying 30 points, a career-high 12 rebounds and a season-high-tying 12 assists.
At 21 years and 330 days old, Porter became the youngest player to record a triple-double in franchise history and joined LeBron James, Brandon Jennings and Trae Young as the only players in league history to record a 50-point game and a triple-double before turning 22.
“It shows a lot of commitment on his end working to get better,” Rockets coach Stephen Silas said of Porter. “Finding little successes along the way to gain confidence and have a big success where he had 12 assists but he only had three turnovers, which is great. He controlled the game most of the game; a lot of the shots Jalen got were as a result of Scoot (Porter) and his play.
“For him to have his first triple-double was great but I wish we could have done it in a win for him.”