by James Ham & Jonathan Santiago

The Sacramento Kings came away with the victory, but they were far from happy about their performance.

The Kings closed the game shooting below 40 percent from the field while allowing the Clippers to shoot better than 47 percent in a 99-88 victory at Sleep Train Arena on Monday night.

Tonight’s win improves the Kings’ preseason record to 2-1.  They return to action on Thursday night at home against the Phoenix Suns.

Notes and Analysis

  • Without DeAndre Jordan or Blake Griffin in the game, DeMarcus Cousins was a force.  The Kings centerpiece finished with 31 point and 11 rebounds in 28 minutes of action.  The Kings have made a concerted effort to run the offense through their 23-year-old center and tonight, it paid off.  Cousins finished with three assists, but he easily could have had six or seven.
  • Greivis Vasquez played, but clearly he is not yet in game shape.  Playing against Darren Collison, the Clippers’ second team guard, Vasquez finished with two points, two rebounds and an assist in his first 11 minutes of action in a Kings uniform.
  • When Ben McLemore gets his sea legs, he is going to be fun to watch.  The rookie has a way of finding the weak spot in the defense and his teammates did a nice job of finding him.  McLemore brings instant energy to the game and his athleticism is otherworldly.  He finished with just seven points and five rebounds, but we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg with this kid.
  • Marcus Thornton put up solid numbers, but when he is in the game, the offense slows down dramatically.  I’m not sure if he realizes it yet, but Thornton is in a dog fight for minutes this year with McLemore.
  • Isaiah Thomas continues to look good in preseason.  The third-year guard scored 16 points and handed out four assists off the Kings bench.
  • The Clippers figured out a way to isolate Jamal Crawford on their big men and the veteran sixth man tore them up.  It’s always fun to Crawford match up with his protege Isaiah Thomas.  But it’s not fun to watch Chuck Hayes try to stay in front of Crawford.
  • The battle for the starting power forward position looked more like a pillow fight tonight.  Patterson did a better job rebounding, finishing with seven in 31 minutes, but Thompson put up 11.  The duo combined to shoot just 6-for-20 from the field.  With Carl Landry going down for 3-4 months, one of these guys needs to stand up and command the position.

Quote of the Game

Michael Malone on the fourth quarter

That was old Sacramento Kings basketball.  There was nobody playing together on either ends of the court.  There was no game plan or discipline.  One of the hardest things to do in the NBA is to play with a lead because all of a sudden guys start thinking it’s their time to shine and they do their own thing.  I didn’t like how we defended or how we ran our offense or how we turned the ball over.  We have to regroup a little bit.

Injury Notes

Carl Landry is out for three to four months with a torn left hip flexor muscle.  Luc Mbah a Moute did not play for a second-straight game due to soreness in his surgically repaired right knee.  He will continue to rest this week, but coach Malone hopes to have Mbah a Moute back at his disposal next week.

Video shot and edited by Tobin Halsey.