Sacramento Kings overcome early struggles to win third game in Vegas Summer League
LAS VEGAS – Slow starts are nothing new for the Sacramento Kings. Overcoming them, however, is.
Playing against a group of D-League All-Stars, the Kings trailed by as many as 15 points in the opening quarter of their third summer league game. But they rallied to cut that deficit in half and never looked back, defeating the D-League Select Team 89-75 on Monday afternoon.
“I loved how we played after that first quarter,” Kings head coach Michael Malone said after the win. “Even the way we ended that first quarter. We got back in the game, cut it to six points after being down 15. You have to be able to withstand a run in the NBA. That’s gonna happen at some point.”
The Kings’ victory moved them to 2-1 in summer league action. Further notes and analysis of Monday’s game are down below.
- Welcome to Las Vegas, Ben McLemore. Last season’s first round pick struggled through the team’s first two games, turning the ball over a total of eight times while shooting 33-percent from the field. The turnover trend continued, but he looked like a completely different player for coach Tyrone Corbin. The 21-year-old guard finished with a team-high 18 points on 7-for-10 shooting and added six rebounds for the game. McLemore needed a game like this to get his confidence going.
- Ray McCallum continued to struggle with his shot, but rallied late to score 10 points on 3-of-8 shooting. While his scoring was off early, the coaching staff had to be happy with the way he ran the Kings offense. After four combined assists through the first two games, McCallum dished out 12 assists today in 29 minutes of action.
- Malone on McCallum: “I think Ray did a great job of running his team today. He was confident, he was aggressive, no hesitation and he made plays. He made everyone around him better, which is his job as our starting point guard.”
- Nik Stauaskas showed Kings fans a glimpse of what he can do today, dropping in three of his four 3-point attempts on his way to 15 points. Stauskas has made plenty of mistakes through three games, but he has shown a willingness to pass and even grabbed a few boards in this one. The rookie out of Michigan will open the floor up for DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay, but those two will also open up the perimeter for wide open long range shots. Without a true post player in summer league, we are seeing just a part of what Stauskas brings to the table.
- Stauskas on the Kings’ overall performance on Monday: “We started off real slow, but I think it was just the energy we brought the second, third and fourth quarters. Defensively, we really got after it and we kept it off the offensive glass, which was key for us. And then offensively, we started moving the ball more and we got a lot of open shots. Anytime you move the ball, it’s bound to happen.”
- For the first time this week, Derrick Williams came to play for Sacramento. The second overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft has a lot to prove in his fourth season in the league. Today, he was athletic and strong, finishing with 17 points on 6-for-10 shooting. There is no excuse for grabbing only one rebound in 26 minutes, but the Kings won the game and Williams looked much more engaged.
- Derrick Williams on what made the difference in his performance in Monday’s game: “I just wanted to be more aggressive. I wasn’t really happy with the way I played the first two games. I know I can knock down shots. Tonight, just try to be more aggressive, get to the free throw line, see the ball go in the net and I hit a few shots like that.”
- Eric Moreland built off of his strong debut, providing much needed post defense, shot-blocking and rebounding. He is raw on the offensive end and needs to add bulk, but he has a skill set that the Kings are desperately looking for. He is making the most out of his chance with Sacramento, finishing today with four points, 11 rebounds and a pair of blocks in 18 minutes.
- Quincy Acy put in another solid performance for Corbin, scoring 14 points and grabbing seven rebounds as an undersized center. If Moreland is the surprise of summer league for Sacramento, Acy has been the team MVP so far.
- Sacramento could do much worse than MarShon Brooks as a scorer off the bench. There will be competition for his services coming out of summer league, but with Isaiah Thomas moving on to the Suns, the Kings are going to need someone without a conscience from the perimeter.