And this is what the preseason is all about. It’s impossible to glean too much insight from Monday’s game, but still, a win’s a win. With Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan all on the sidelines, the Sacramento Kings did what they should have done. The Kings took advantage of the Clippers reserve-laden lineup, pulling away for an easy 99-88 victory.
COUSINS DOMINATES LESSER-KNOWNS – The absence of Griffin and Jordan on the Clippers frontline gave DeMarcus Cousins (28 MIN, 31 PTS, 11-18 FG, 9-11 FT, 11 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL, 2 TO) a clear advantage. Against Byron Mullens and Lou Amundson, Cousins went to work and punished the reserves. Even against lower caliber players, it was good to see Cousins get down low and establish himself inside, rather than settle for the outside shot.
CRAWFORD-MCLEMORE SQUARE OFF – Ben McLemore (23 MIN, 7 PTS, 3-9 FG, 5 REB, 0 TO) got a nice test, as the Kings rookie was matched up against Jamal Crawford for most of the game. Crawford, who never shies away from a shot, relished the role of being the Clippers main option and surely wanted to show the first-year McLemore a thing or two. The pair went back and forth at times — McLemore held his own offensively, again showing great movement off the ball and working in some nice pump fakes to utilize his athleticism. Defensively, McLemore had his hands full with the ultra-talented Crawford, but in a game devoid of much excitement, this matchup was a fun one.
GREIVIS HITS THE COURT – As announced prior to the game, Greivis Vasquez (11 MIN, 2 PTS, 1-2 FG, 2 REB, 1 AST) saw his first action, playing most of the first quarter before packing it in. It was a small sample size, but you could see some benefits to his presence. Vasquez made some nice passes, but more importantly, he commanded the offense. There was no question about where the ball should be. Sacramento showed a willingness to reset and let Vasquez restart the offense. The priority should be getting him fully healthy for the opener; the Vasquez-Isaiah Thomas combo should be a strong one for the Kings.
OTHER OBSERVATIONS – Speaking of Thomas (30 MIN, 16 PTS, 4-8 FG, 8-8 FT, 5 AST, 4 REB, 1 STL, 3 TO), it was a solid appearance off the bench for the Kings mighty mite. Isaiah attacked the rim and moved the ball. Perhaps a look into his future role as a reserve? … Patrick Patterson (31 MIN, 9 PTS, 4-11 FG, 1-4 3FG, 7 REB, 3 AST, 2 TO) is rebounding well, but he’s yet to find the consistent touch from the perimeter. P-Pat’s role expanded greatly Monday with the news of Carl Landry’s 3-4 month recovery from hip surgery … The Clippers attempted 35 three-pointers, 12 alone from Mullens … Sacramento outrebounded Los Angeles, 53-29 … Ray McCallum picked up the Kings only blocked shot of the night.