The Golden State Warriors haven’t had much luck stopping De’Aaron Fox in their first-round series with the Sacramento Kings. An injury might do it for them.
Kings guard De'Aaron Fox fractured the very tip of his left index finger in Game 4, but there's still hope he will try and play Game 5 on Tuesday, sources tell ESPN. Fox would need to play with a protective covering on the finger. He will be listed as doubtful.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 24, 2023
Fox fractured the tip of his index finger some time in Game 4, though it didn’t prevent him from scoring 38 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter as the Kings came heartbreakingly close to a comeback and a 3-1 series lead. Now he’ll try to play through it with a protective covering on his hand.
The Kings All-Star guard is averaging 31.5 points in the series, along with seven assists and 2.5 steals. With Domantas Sabonis slumping offensively, Fox has been carrying the Sacramento offense. They’ve got options at guard, but Malik Monk is mostly an offensive weapon, and ace defender Davion Mitchell isn’t a scorer, though his rainbow shot is very pretty when it goes in.
And that folks, is the biggest shot of Davion Mitchell's pro career— Mark Schindler (@MG_Schindler) April 18, 2023
Incredible performance from him tonight pic.twitter.com/YUesaAk5V5
Mitchell was +6 in 49 minutes in Sacramento, and -25 in 45 minutes at the Chase Center. Role players play better at home! But even a limited Fox changes the way Sacramento can play, and the speed they like to do it at.
Woj reported that Fox would play with a covering on the tip of his finger, which can’t do much for his accuracy. It shouldn’t stop him from attacking the basket, but he’s leading the Kings with 13 three-pointers in four games, and he might not even be able to match his career 32.1% shooting mark with four-and-a-half healthy fingers.
It’s remarkably bad luck for the Kings, who have given the Warriors all they can handle for four games. The injury doesn’t rule them out, either. Sabonis is bound to play better at home, rookie Keegan Murray is playing like a veteran, and the Golden 1 Center might be at its loudest for Game 5.
But Fox is Sacramento’s best player, and the NBA’s first-ever Clutch Player of the Year. Their record without Fox reflects how important he is.
The Kings are 4-5 without De’Aaron Fox this season.— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpears) April 24, 2023
It’s hard to imagine Fox will sit out if there’s any chance at all of him playing. But it’s also hard to believe he’ll be the same player.