Sacramento Kings: Notes From Game One


The Sacramento Kings are finally back in action. Although they lost to the Los Angeles Clippers 104-111 on Wednesday night, there were a lot of positives–and some negatives.–to take from this game.

The first positive had to be how close this game was. Down the stretch it seemed like the Kings were actually going to start their season off with a win–with four minutes left Sacramento had the lead and all the momentum, but ultimately the Clippers prevailed.

The first thing that jumps off of the stat sheet is DeMarcus Cousins‘ night. He had a typical great game as far as points and rebounds go and was fairly accurate, but there was a fascinating new part of Boogie’s game that really surprised me–his three-point shooting.

Cousins taking more shots from beyond the arc seemed like more of a joke than a reality this preseason, but the results spoke for themselves against L.A. Boogie made more three-pointers than the rest of his teammates combined, ultimately ending up making four of his five threes.

He ended with 32 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and a block. The stats weren’t all good though–Boogie fouled out with less than a second left and also turned the ball over eight times.

Although the shooting and otherwise good game from Cousins was great to see, it was obvious throughout the game that Boogie’s occasional poor attitude is still going to be a thing this season. Especially on defense sometimes, it seemed as though Cousins was disenfranchised and annoyed with everything happening around him.

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Losing games isn’t easy, but Cousins needs to keep his head in the game. Close games are up to franchise players like Boogie to win for their team–if he isn’t as involved as he could be, he could end up costing the Kings when things get tight.

DeMarcus needs to realize he’s going to get hacked pretty much every time–it’s part of the game for great big man. He needs to accept that the referees can’t call it every time, and make the most of the opportunities he does get down low.

As far as the rest of the team, unfortunately not many players really stood out. Kosta Koufos had a great game–he looked sharp on defense and was ultra efficient, scoring ten points and only missing one of his six shot attempts. Koufos also added seven rebounds, two blocks, and assist and a steal.

Rajon Rondo looked a lot like Rajon Rondo–he didn’t score well or often, but he did tally a lot of assists and rebounds. Rondo ended with four points, seven rebounds, four assists and a steal in his Kings debut.

Oct 17, 2015; Lexington, KY, USA; Sacramento Kings guard Ben McLemore (23) passes the ball against New Orleans Pelicans forward Dante Cunningham (44) in the second half at Rupp Arena. Sacramento Kings defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 107-98. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

So much for James Anderson getting a start. Ben McLemore started but unfortunately continued to struggle, although he did notch a nice steal followed by a fast break dunk in the third quarter. Still, his night wasn’t great, as evidenced by his five points and a steal–McLemore just isn’t making much of an impact right now.

Rudy Gay may have still been distracted by the birth of his second child–his shot was a bit off all night, although he did end up with 16 points, six rebounds and three assists.

Darren Collison continued to look like one of the best players on the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday. DC turned in 13 points, six assists, one rebound and one steal.

One other thing to note about Collison’s game–he played most of the crunch time minutes when Sacramento looked to be mounting a game-winning comeback in the fourth quarter.

It’s only one game, but it’ll be interesting to see if George Karl has problems trusting Rondo in clutch situations in the coming months.

Omri Casspi continued his scoring troubles (he totaled just five points), but did manage to add nine rebounds. Casspi was impressive in a weird way in that regard–he found ways to help his team despite his own shots not falling.

Caron Butler and Marco Belinelli were both solid off of the bench, scoring eight and nine points, respectively. Belinelli struggled from the field, shooting just 25 percent, but he did add seven assists, two rebounds and a steal to the Kings’ tally.

Nobody else on the bench managed to have much of an impact. Willie Cauley-Stein and James Anderson got minutes, but scored a combined two points in just eleven total minutes. Seth Curry and Quincy Acy didn’t play, and Eric Moreland and Duje Dukan were inactive.

And although many Kings struggled, it would’ve taken a flawless game from Sacramento to stop Blake Griffin on Wednesday. Griffin ended with 33 points, eight rebounds and four assists on an incredible 70 percent field goal percentage.

This team will have to come together and play much better in their next game, but at least the matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers will give Sacramento a chance at victory. The Clippers were just too tough for the Kings, which isn’t really surprising considering their contender status.

Despite the Sacramento Kings not looking great in this game, fans shouldn’t be too discouraged. It’s not ideal that the team started their season 0-1, but against a top team like the Los Angeles Clippers victory requires a near perfect game–the Kings just aren’t at that level yet.

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