When you look at the Chicago Bulls summer league team, they don’t have much in common with their regular squad. Well, other than they can’t keep a late, double digit lead. Much like last December, the Chicago Bulls lost their huge lead thanks to a remarkable run by the Sacramento Kings – spearheaded by Omri Casspi.
Down 17 with only two minutes or so left in the third, the Kings started their charge and eventually took the lead, their only lead of the game, with 1.8 seconds left thanks to a Tyrese Rice free threw.
The man of the past few days, DeMarcus Cousins was visibly gassed, playing his worst game of the summer league by far. Cousins struggled on the defensive end and only managed 10 points and 7 boards on 3 of 15 shooting. Undrafted Samardo Samuels continually beat him to the ball on both ends of the floor and it was obvious Cousins just wasn’t himself. Playing 5 games in 6 days and getting double and tripled teamed will do that to a person, especially a young guy who’s never played so many minutes in consecutive days as he’s done. I’m certainly not worried, though, Cousins will need to improve his conditioning before October rolls around.
Omri Casspi hit a big buzzer beater to end the third quarter and a nut check three to tie the game late in his best performance of the summer league. Mario Elie and the Kings staff have been trying to stress the importance of Casspi expanding his game, something that he’s struggled with in the first few games. Last night he looked much more comfortable mixing in the two styles and it resulted in 22 points and 5 boards, with the above mentioned clutch shots.
One guy I really like is Ryan Thompson. He made a solid defensive play which eventually put the Kings in a position to win the game and just plays the right way. He reminds me a bit of a Matt Barnes when he broke in with the Kings. Not so much from a similar game standpoint, but, more of a hard working, slashing, solid defensive playing type player. He definitely has a spot in this league, though, I’m not sure he fits exactly what the Kings need off the end of the bench – and that’s a shooter.
Last but not least, Dionte Christmas had another solid game on both sides of the court, something he’s done for most of the summer league. He hasn’t done anything incredibly impressive, he just plays and plays well. If he can keep his head in the game, much like Thompson, there is a spot in the league for him.
The Kings will finish up their summer league this afternoon with a matchup versus the Dallas Mavericks. It’s questionable if Cousins will take the court as most teams have begun to bench their early 2010 draft picks and with Cousins conditioning a serious factor, it makes a lot of sense for him to sit it out.
Kings – 76
Bulls – 75
Player Of The Game – Omri Casspi