Apr 13, 2014; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings guard Ray McCallum (3) dunks the ball during the fourth quarter of the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Sleep Train Arena. The Sacramento Kings defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 106-103. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Kings impress with defense, team ball to advance to semis

Since the offseason began, the Sacramento Kings front office has been preaching a new brand of basketball, predicated on defense and offensive ball movement. After Saturday’s win over No. 1 seed Chicago, it appears the Kings have achieved that goal on the Summer League level.

The Kings cruised to an 80-61 victory over the Bulls, setting them up for Sunday night’s semifinal in the Las Vegas Summer League. In perhaps the team’s most impressive performance of the campaign, the Kings were an energetic bunch, frequently swarming the ball on defense and keeping an uptempo, pass-friendly style offensively.

Sacramento had five players in double figures, led by 11 points apiece from Ben McLemore and MarShon Brooks. The Kings hit 49.3 percent from the floor, including 46.3 percent (7-for-15) from long range. Defensively, the Kings blocked 8 shots and held the Bulls to just 30.7 percent shooting.

Eric Moreland again stood out as a catalyst on defense. The Oregon State rookie blocked 3 shots and grabbed 8 rebounds in 20 minutes off the Kings bench. More importantly, Moreland kickstarted several Kings fast breaks, as Ray McCallum excelled in pushing the ball quickly up court and getting his team into quick offense.

The Kings balanced attack featured few standouts but many contributors. Nik Stauskas connected on 3-of-5 from the floor, including both of his deep attempts. Quincy Acy finished strongly around the basket and was his typical active self. The Kings also got strong performances from lesser known reserves Brendan Lane and Ra’Shad James, who combined for 17 points in 36 reserve minutes.

Sacramento is finishing the Summer League on a tremendous high. Looking past the strong team play, a rarity in these short-season settings, the Kings have seen solid development from their own players and have unearthed at least two players — Moreland and Brooks — who deserve training camp invites.

The Kings semifinal matchup takes place Sunday night on NBATV. A win would send them to Monday night’s championship.

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