CK Preseason Press Box Report: Sacramento Kings 107, Phoenix Suns 90

by James Ham & Jonathan Santiago

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DeMarcus Cousins once again dominated his competition while Jimmer Fredette shot the lights out of Sleep Train Arena. The Sacramento Kings center and guard combined to score 52 points en route to a 107-90 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Thursday.

The win improves the Kings’ preseason record to 3-1. They return to action on Sunday on the road against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Notes and Analysis

  • DeMarcus Cousins destroyed the Clippers on Monday, but that was without DeAndre Jordan or Blake Griffin manning the post.  Tonight in Sacramento, the Kings’ $60-million man went at a true NBA center in Marcin Gortat, and the results were the same.  Cousins finished the game with 29 points on 8-for-15 shooting and added nine rebounds in just 27 minutes.  If this is the Cousins we are going to see when the season opens, he is going to need to know how to handle a double-team.
  • Coach Michael Malone has left Jimmer Fredette on the bench for two of the Kings’ first four preseason games.  Tonight, he let the third-year guard out of BYU play, and Jimmer didn’t disappoint the Sleep Train faithful. It’s hard to sum up Jimmer’s career so far, other than to say he hasn’t really gotten an extended chance.  With the Kings’ new management team looking on, the former college player of the year scored 23 points, dropping in five of his seven long-range attempts.  Jimmer added five assists, but easily could have had another four or five if his open teammates connected on their shots.
  • Greivis Vasquez started for a second straight game and looked a lot more comfortable on offense.  He finished with 10 points and two assists in 15 minutes of action, and he is finding a groove with Cousins in the two-man game.
  • After a lackluster start to the preseason, John Salmons had a nice game for Malone off the bench.  The veteran wing scored 10 points and grabbed an uncharacteristic six rebounds in the win. When the Kings needed stability, they turned to Salmons and he settled things down.
  • Hamady Ndiaye played 13 minutes off the bench and is instantly becoming a fan favorite for his hustle.  His numbers weren’t great, but for a team lacking a true shot-blocker, Ndiaye may have done enough tonight to steal a spot on the end of the Kings’ bench.  He will always be raw, but he is going to give you six hard fouls and a defensive presence.
  • The Kings are still trying to settle on a rotation and starting line-up.  Tonight was Patrick Patterson and Travis Outlaw’s chance to start, but neither did much to distinguish themselves from the pack.  Patterson scored seven points and grabbed five rebounds in 31 minutes and Outlaw scored just three points in 20 minutes.
  • Stat of the Night:  Cousins isn’t just scoring and rebounding, his defense is much improved as well.  Tonight he grabbed six of the Kings’ 16 steals, blocked a shot and drew two charges on the Suns.

Quote of the Game

Michael Malone on Jimmer Fredette’s support from fans and teammates

“We’ve seen him in action before, and I know that he is a fan favorite. What was more exciting for me to be honest was not the fan reaction, but I think it’s a great sign when a guy is getting off in a game and his teammates on the bench are up supporting him. And everyone was up when Jimmer was making those plays, and I think that’s a great sign for our team. No one cares who gets the credit. We support each other. We believe in each other. We push each other in the right way and when we do that, good things are going to happen. So, I love how our team is coming together – on the court, off the court, we’re creating that chemistry, that bond we need.”

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