Notes From the Sacramento Kings’ Fourth Preseason Game


So here we are after the Sacramento Kings’ fourth preseason game and their second battle with the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night, and for the third time this preseason Sacramento came out victorious. If we learned a bit about the Kings last game, we got even more info this time around.

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For the third straight game, Willie Cauley-Stein and DeMarcus Cousins shared the frontcourt to start things off. It seems that George Karl is really planning to start them together this season which I think is a great idea. Both big men played well again in this game.

Cousins totaled 16 points, seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block, making a typical Boogie impact across the board. Willie Trill scored seven points to go along with nine rebounds and a steal. The two of them shot efficiently and looked good together–the future is bright in the Sacramento frontcourt.

Rudy Gay had the night off against the Blazers coming off of a great two-game run, and Caron Butler got the start in his absence. The veteran looked rough against Portland, managing just four points and a rebound in his 16 minutes.

Oct 10, 2015; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings guard Ben McLemore (23) drives in against Portland Trail Blazers forward Noah Vonleh (21) during the fourth quarter at Sleep Train Arena. The Sacramento Kings defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 94-90. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Ben McLemore found himself on the bench due to his terrible performance in the first three games, and he didn’t do much to alleviate concerns about his game on Saturday. He managed eight points, two assists and a rebound in 18 minutes. His shooting stroke continues to be a concern–five of his eight points came from the charity stripe.

Darren Collison‘s great play so far this preseason got him in the starting lineup alongside Rajon Rondo for this game, and he continued to play well. He made half of his shots both from the field and three-point territory and managed to score 18 points to go along with seven rebounds, three assists and three steals.

Rondo continued to be just okay, contributing four points, four assists and three rebounds in his 21 minutes. He showed a quick flash of terrible Rondo on Saturday, throwing up this doozy of a free throw miss.

Collison seems like the by-far best guard on the roster right now–it may come down to a battle between Rondo and McLemore to see who gets to start next to him. I know Rondo is getting paid and McLemore might be the future, but Karl wants to win now and Collison is seriously balling.

Marco Belinelli stopped trying to be a dynamo scorer in this contest, taking just eight shots in 27 minutes. He was good in that limited role, ending with eleven points, three assists, two rebounds and a steal. Kosta Koufos continued to be solid yet unspectacular, managing six points, five rebounds, two blocks and a steal in his 25 minutes.

Quincy Acy, Omri Casspi and Seth Curry all turned in pedestrian performances on Saturday, with none of them making more than 40 percent of their shots and Casspi leading the group in scoring with just ten points. They weren’t terrible, but they didn’t look great either.

The biggest things I’ve taken from this preseason so far is that George Karl is still partially undecided on this starting lineup. It seems Willie Cauley-Stein is now favored to be the starter alongside Boogie Cousins, and Rudy Gay is going to be the three, but the backcourt is up for grabs.

Darren Collison got himself a spot through great play, and he backed up the decision with more good basketball on Saturday. It’ll be fascinating to see how Karl decides to use him, Rondo and McLemore as the season progresses.

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