The NBA playoffs are a months-long meat grinder that consumes tired NBA bodies and spits out the bones of all but one champion. Joel Embiid, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Ja Morant have all missed significant time in the postseason nursing injuries. The playoff meat grinder may have dealt a fatal blow to the Sacramento Kings in Game 4 when De’Aaron Fox fractured the tip of his left index finger in Game 4. According to ESPN’s NBA news courier Adrian Wojnarowski, Fox is listed as doubtful for a pivotal Game 5, but is considering playing through the pain with a protective covering over the finger.
Can the Sacramento Kings do damage in the post-season?
The injury appeared to have occurred with 4:35 remaining in regulation when Warriors center Kevon Looney made contact with Fox’s hand in an attempt to swat Fox’s floater. Fox can be seen instantly clutching his left hand, but continued to play without taking a pause.
Put simply, without Fox, the Kings are sitting ducks. Through the first four games of the organization’s first playoff series in 17 years, Fox matched Steph Curry bucket-for-bucket, registering 32.5 points and 7 assists per game against the defending champions. However, even if Fox is able to push through and play in Game 4, how his play will be impacted moving forward is a legitimate cause for concern. The Kings are fortunate the injury occurred on Fox’s non-shooting hand, which should mitigate the impact on his shooting ability, but will hinder his ability to grip and control his dribble using his off-hand.
During a breakthrough campaign, Fox established himself as the fulcrum of the league’s premier offense on his way to winning the inaugural Clutch Player of the Year award. If Fox is unable to go for Game 5 in The Golden One Center, the odds swing back in Golden State’s favor for the series and the Kings may be cooked in six when they head back to the Chase Center.