Preseason Overreaction: Raptors Defeat Kings 99 – 94


In case you missed it (and you probably did, considering it wasn’t on TV in Sacramento) the Kings had their first preseason game last night. It was a decent game considering the circumstances, and now I have the glorious opportunity to overreact to everything we saw last night.

Michael Malone noted throughout training camp that he was going to be playing different lineups during the preseason, and the starters in game one won’t necessarily be the starters once the regular season begins. With that being said, the Kings started the game with Darren Collison, Ben McLemore, Rudy Gay, Jason Thompson, and DeMarcus Cousins. No real surprises there.

That unit didn’t play particularly well, especially in the first half. They looked like a team that didn’t know what they wanted to do offensively. Cousins didn’t get the ball nearly enough. Collison was in early foul trouble, but you could tell that he was making a conscious effort to promote ball movement with his play. This may sound like a positive, and it is to some degree, but he didn’t make himself an offensive threat. We all like the idea of a passing point guard (Collison isn’t necessarily that, but he played that way last night) however, Collison passed up a few shots he probably shouldn’t have. Ben McLemore also struggled early, missing a few jumpers the Kings are going to need him to hit, and his defense could have been better. Rudy Gay was hardly noticeable. I actually thought Jason Thompson was the Kings best starter in the first quarter. Like I said, not a great start.

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  • Ramon Sessions, Nik Stauskas, and Reggie Evans were the first Kings in off the bench, and that unit played reasonably well. Sessions had an immediate impact with his ability to push the ball in transition and either finish strong inside, or get to the free throw line. He hit eight-of-nine free throws as a bench guard. Not bad. Like McLemore, Stauskas struggled a bit defensively, but unlike McLemore, he looked like a real shooting threat. He had eight first half points, including two three-pointers. I’m looking forward to seeing Stauskas get an opportunity to play with the starters.

    Reggie Evans was a monster on the boards, as usual. He played a bulk of his reserve minutes with Carl Landry, who had a few nice offensive moments inside. It’s good to see Landry back and (apparently) healthy. I will say that despite how well Reggie Evans rebounds the ball, he and Landry isn’t an ideal bench pairing. They struggled at locking down the paint at times. Malone gave Ryan Hollins a few bench minutes to give the Kings a little more size inside, and I thought he did his job effectively.

    The original starting unit looked a lot better in the second half. Rudy Gay was more involved with the offense, and while he did force a few jumpers, at least he was active. DeMarcus Cousins got his game going inside, and Ben McLemore started to make plays happen with his movement off the ball. Darren Collison came out more aggressive offensively, and that helped balance the offense out.

    Sacramento would end up losing this one in the final few minutes of the fourth quarter. Most of the starters were out of the game at this point, and the defense, in particular, struggled down the stretch.

    The Kings had 27 turnovers. You can chalk some of that up to sloppy preseason basketball, but that is the real reason why the Kings lost this game. Jason Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins led the team with five turnovers each. To put a somewhat positive spin on it, Darren Collison only had one of those turnovers, and he finished the game with six assists.

    I have no idea what this team is yet, but I’m having a good time trying to figure it out with the rest of you. The Kings next preseason game is on Tuesday, October 7th, at 7:00 PM. We’ll see you then.