April 4, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings guard Ray McCallum (3) looks on against the Golden State Warriors during the third quarter at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Kings 102-69. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kings big first half propels them to Vegas title game

It’s easy to joke about playing in the Summer League championship, but truth is, when you’ve endured as much losing as the Sacramento Kings have in the past eight seasons, you have to start winning somewhere.

The Kings youngsters and roster hopefuls continued their run of solid hoops Sunday, taking down the No. 4 seed Washington Wizards, 74-62, to advance to the Las Vegas Summer League championship. Sacramento will take on the Houston Rockets squad for the title 6 p.m. Monday.

Sacramento took quick control of their semifinal game, opening up a 43-17 lead behind their now typical Vegas recipe — crisp ball movement and swarming defense. MarShon Brooks scored all of his team-high 14 points in the second quarter, and the Kings took a 21-point lead into halftime.

The Wizards made a second half run as Sacramento got sloppy with the basketball. Lazy turnovers turned into Washington offense, and the Kings once large lead was trimmed to single digits.

Luckily, the run for Washington was short lived. Ray McCallum, who had a few careless giveaways of his own, recovered late, draining two critical jumpers to bury the Wizards. McCallum played a solid game, tallying 11 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists in 28 minutes. His management of the Kings offense was really the main difference between Sacramento and Washington, who struggled with shot selection.

The Kings shooting guard tandem had a quiet game. Nik Stauskas seems to be fatigued, missing most of his shots short (1-for-6 from three-point range), though he did showcase his vision with some nice passing. Ben McLemore was even more ineffective, scoring just 6 points on 2-of-8 shooting with 3 turnovers.

Brooks has clearly earned a strong look from Kings management, and at this rate, they probably won’t be the only team to inquire about his services. Sacramento would be wise to at least bring Brooks in for a training camp look, as his ability to score in a variety of ways could be a boon to the Kings bench. Fellow standout Eric Moreland again excelled, ripping 12 boards and blocking 3 shots en route to a “+20″ rating.

With their fifth straight win, the Kings improved to 5-1 with Monday’s championship looming.

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