Kings chasing postseason berth in matchup vs. Pistons

The Sacramento Kings collected a valuable road victory in their quest for a playoff berth.

They'll try to keep moving up the standings when they open a three-game homestand against Detroit on Sunday.

The Kings defeated Memphis, the team they're chasing for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, 104-101 on Friday. Sacramento's fourth victory in its last five games was engineered by point guard De'Aaron Fox, who was a question mark to play due to an abdominal injury.

Fox wound up scoring a team-high 25 points, including some clutch baskets during crunch time. Sacramento moved within three games of Memphis in the standings.

"I saw him (Thursday) and he wasn't moving so good, so my whole prep coming into (Friday's) game was he's not playing," coach Luke Walton said. "He told me he wanted to play ... and for him to play through that, in a game that we need, it's important for us right now.

"They're all important, but it's important to finish off a good road trip. He showed a lot of good leadership and then went out there and played a very high-level game."

Fox felt he couldn't miss the pivotal game with the franchise desperate to make the postseason.

"I'm not 100 percent, but I can play," Fox said to the Sacramento Bee.

It remains to be seen whether Fox will play through the pain against the Pistons, who ended a seven-game losing streak by topping Phoenix on Friday, 113-111. The Kings also will host Washington and Philadelphia before heading to Portland on Saturday.

Fox scored a team-high 22 points against the Pistons in the teams' first meeting in January, but Detroit rolled to a 127-106 victory that day.

Forward Christian Wood led the Pistons with 23 points, while Derrick Rose had 22 points and 11 assists.

That duo also came up big when Detroit ended its slide on Friday. Wood had 19 points and Rose erupted for 31, including 13 in the fourth quarter.

"We know we only have 20-something games left, so we are trying to get better, trying to elevate our game and stay consistent," Rose said.

Coach Dwane Casey was encouraged by his team's performance. Rose is one of the few veterans remaining on a youth-filled roster.

"I feel good for the guys. They have been working their behind off," he said. "We basically have been having training camp the last few weeks with all the young guys coming in and the development has showed a lot of good things in a lot of different places, so I feel good for the players. I have been through this before, I know what phase of our program we're in, but (Friday) was a big step toward which way we want to go in the future."

The Pistons also got a boost from backup point guard Brandon Knight, who was acquired from Cleveland just before the trade deadline in early February. He scored 19 points, with 11 in the fourth quarter.

"Multiple playmakers, that's why we had Brandon and Derrick out there a lot (together)," Casey said. "I've always had success with multiple point guards in the game and it's very difficult for today's defense to guard."

--Field Level Media