Multimedia: Not necessarily a sign of instability, but noteworthy
Video produced by Manny Vieites.
Cowbell Kingdom strives to provide the news objectively while providing Kings fans with frontline coverage. We published the entire Rajon Rondo interview in order to provide the full context. It is up to the public to create their own opinion.
(***UPDATE) (RONDO WAS JOKING AND WAS USING HIS DRY SENSE OF HUMOR)
Game recap written by Vince Miracle
It was a game of old rivals down in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Sacramento Kings (4-1) came out on top and handed the Los Angeles Lakers their fourth loss of the preseason 107-100.
The starting five for Sacramento was again something different: Rajon Rondo, Ben McLemore, James Anderson, Rudy Gay, and Kosta Koufos.
The game started off slow for the Sacramento Kings. No one could find their shot and it looked like the team was building a house with their bricks.
Rondo took the leadership role quickly in this game without DeMarcus Cousins on the floor (Took the night off).
For six minutes of the opening quarter, it was like you were watching the 2008 NBA finals all over again, as it was a Kobe Bryant versus Rondo showdown.
Rondo (who played the entire first quarter) left the court with seven points and three assists.
The Kings would end the first quarter with the advantage (31-27).
Big man Eric Moreland could be found everywhere on the floor during the second quarter. After being waived by the Kings earlier in the offseason, Sacramento made the conscious effort to bring him back.
From blocking shots, to grabbing rebounds, Moreland was proving his value as a bench spark. In six minutes of action, Moreland would leave the floor with six points, four rebounds, and two blocks.
Shooting guard Marco Belinelli made his presence known on the floor very quickly. In 12 minutes, the former champion was already in double-digits in scoring (13 points and 3-of-4 from 3-point range).
The Kings’ first half could be summed up in one word “effort.”
From the starters to the bench, the players were doing the little things to make up for the missing presence of their All-Star center.
The team was making the extra pass and the shots were falling. If the shots found a way to not drop, then Sacramento would round up offensive rebounds for second or third offensive opportunities.
Gay was just tremendous through the first half, finishing with two points and one rebound short of a double-double (eight points and nine rebounds).
To end the half, Collison would push the ball after a missed perimeter shot by the Lakers. After missing the layup, Koufos would be there to clean it up with 0.9 seconds on the clock and tap it home. The Kings lead by 12 after two (63-51).
The Kings started right where they left off in the first half. It was an up-and-down team with Rondo being the team’s vocal leader.
While number nine was guarding Bryant, a missed step lead to a knee to the calf of the future Hall-of-Famer. Bryant would ultimately have to leave to the locker room at the 7:29 mark of the third quarter and would not return.
McLemore finally came out aggressive for the first time this preseason. The third year guard started to drive to the basket, draw fouls, and do what he is supposed to do – shoot.
Although McLemore was not necessarily making the shots he was taking, the fact that he was commanding the basketball is at least a sign of light for the 22-year-old.
It was a game of tennis for the two teams during the third. No one seemed to really gain an edge over the other. If one team scored the other found a way to make it back up.
The ball movement was terrific for Sacramento the entire third quarter. The trial run of Collison and Rondo was in full effect and it seemed to be very effective.
Heading into the fourth, the Kings would continue to hold their lead (88-74).
The final quarter became the Moreland show with his high volume rebounding and defensive shot blocking abilities.
With two minutes left in the game, head coach George Karl decided to hit the cruise control button and put in all of his (lets be honest) Bighorn players.
Sacramento would come out victorious over the Lakers (107-100).
Player of the game:
The player of the game award goes to center Eric Moreland. Coming off the bench, Moreland would finish the game with 10 points, eight rebounds, and four blocks, in only 15 minutes of action.
With really only one spot remaining on this Kings roster, Moreland made a strong case for himself on why the franchise should continue moving forward with his development.
The Kings passing was amazing tonight and not only that, but they also limited their turnovers. The team would finish with 26 assists on the night and only 10 turnovers (their lowest all preseason).
The point guards for this Kings team are consistently showing that they can work together. Collison would lead the team with seven assists, but Rondo followed right behind tallying six assists.
With terrific ball movement all night, it led to seven players scoring in double-figures (Anderson, Gay, McLemore, Rondo, Belinelli, Collison, and Moreland).