Ben McLemore on win: ‘We definitely needed this’
The early stages of tonight’s game were great to watch for the fans in attendance because they haven’t seen that type of start in over a week. Their three-game skid came to an end with Sacramento’s 114-106 victory.
Kings fans will have a good night’s sleep and not just because their team played well but because winning cures everything. Rudy Gay was the first to admit that tonight and Ben McLemore was also very relieved.
“Definitely — definite win, we definitely need it especially coming from a long, tough road trip,” said a relieved McLemore. “Mexico, Houston, OKC. We definitely needed this and needed to bring some energy from the jump and that’s what we did tonight.”
Sacramento started the game strong, going on a (12-0) run before the Jazz was forced to take a timeout after seeing their team quickly trail by ten. The defense was the biggest takeaway from the Kings’ loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder and they stayed on the attack in this game for the team to create this early lead.
DeMarcus Cousins demonstrated the team’s chemistry with a nice highlight pass and catch to forward Rudy Gay. Through quarter number one, the Kings finished with nine assists and only three turnovers. The team would lead 33-22.
At the half, Sacramento shot 57.5 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from beyond the perimeter. The numbers that kept them ahead was the team’s assist-to-turnover ratio, with the Kings racking up 17 assists and only giving up five turnovers.
Gay led the Kings in scoring with 11 first-half points. Rondo put together a solid line in his 18 minutes of action – six points, eight assists, and three rebounds.
The entire third quarter became a back-and-forth affair that saw both teams finishing with 32 points. Sacramento consistently gave up offensive rebounds and it gave the Jazz the ability to linger around, when the Kings should have tried to build on their lead.
Not only were the Kings giving up offensive rebounds, the team also continuously left three-point shooters open during drive and kick plays.
In the final quarter, Utah would continue to shadow the Kings and find ways to breakdown Sacramento for open baskets. With every offensive punch the Jazz threw, the Kings would return with a combination, creating a deeper hole for Utah to climb out of.
“Casspi has become a good 3-point shooter,” Utah coach Quin Snyder said. “I thought we got to him pretty well and didn’t give him open looks, but he was also making plays. … I think Casspi’s presence stretching the floor and being able to switch makes him a good player. He’s playing great.”
After struggling mightily over the three-game road trip, Cousins was back to form finishing with 23 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists.
The Sacramento Kings now improve to an (8-15) record and only 3.5 games out of the eighth seed of the playoffs. It’s been a rough couple of weeks for the Kings and it was good to come home and see a win. It reminded them that the season is not gloom and doom just yet.