The Sacramento Kings improved to 3-1 in the preseason with a dominant showing against the Phoenix Suns. DeMarcus Cousins continues to be on a roll, following up a 31 point effort against the Clippers with 29 points in just 27 minutes against Phoenix. 23 of Cousins' points came in the first half alone. DeMarcus shot 8-15 from the field and made 13-18 free throws. In comparison, the entire Phoenix team shot just 7-20 from the line. Cousins added 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 6 steals and a block in a great all around performance. His sole deficiency tonight was 5 turnovers.
Cousins wasn't alone though as Jimmer Fredette busted out with a big performance, scoring 23 points on 9-15 shooting and 5-7 from downtown. Fredette got the start as Coach Malone continued to give his guards more looks in the preseason. Fredette looked very comfortable with the ball, particularly in the second half. In perhaps the most exciting sequence of the night, Jimmer stole the ball from Kendall Marshall and took it to the other end of the court to drain a pull-up three. Fredette also had 5 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 steals in his game-high 32 minutes.
The Suns kept it kind of close in the first half but suffered big time from turnovers. Phoenix committed a whopping 28 turnovers, which led to 34 Kings points. Sacramento had just 14 turnovers. In an unfortunate turn of events for the Suns, guard Goran Dragic went down late in the game with what appeared to be an ankle injury on a contested drive to the basket. He had to be helped off the court.
The Kings next play Sunday in Portland before returning home on the 23rd to face the Warriors.
- Marcus Thornton did not look all that great tonight and he hasn't really all preseason. Jimmer Fredette's performance tonight may have put him on notice a little bit. We will see how Coach Malone handles the rotation over the next three preseason games. He's indicated that the next three games will feature the regular season rotation he's planning to go with.
- Sacramento tried to get Greivis Vasquez going offensively early, which was surprising. I'd much rather see Vasquez dump the ball into Cousins than Cousins into Vasquez. Vasquez did look smooth shooting the long ball though, hitting 2-3.
- Hamady N'Diaye got his most significant burn yet as he tries to prove that he's worth a rotation spot. His time on the court was not pretty. He was trying to do a little bit too much and while he had a few good moments, the bad seemingly outweighed the good. There was talk in the paper today about how N'Diaye had developed a jumper over the summer. His sole jumper tonight would have crossed the English channel.
- Isaiah Thomas had a rough night shooting the basketball but that doesn't matter because he almost posterized Alex Len. It was one of the best almost-dunks I've ever seen. I'm still rooting for a regular season Isaiah dunk.
- McLemore didn't get as much time as in other games due to Fredette's performance. He had good and bad moments. He was off on his shot tonight, but he did well in the fast break with a couple of highlight dunks, one from a nice lob pass by Vasquez. Defensively there were a few times where he was caught not being in a stance and had his man go right by him. That's rookie stuff though, and I'm confident he'll be a good defender one day. He's got the length, athleticism, and seemingly the will.
- Ray McCallum didn't come in until the second half but looked pretty good. 4 assists, 3 steals and 2 rebounds in just 14 minutes.
- The new delay of game rule is stupid. It does more to delay the game than what they are actually calling the delay for. For those who don't know, the NBA is trying to enforce a new rule that you are not allowed to touch the ball after you've made a basket so that the defending team can inbound quicker. That means no grabbing the ball and handing it to the refs either, which is almost a habit for many players. This new rule enforcement results in 4 or 5 delay of game whistles a game and it's stupid and annoying and I hate it.
More from Sactown Royalty:
- The Sactown Royalty Show Ep 19: Tom Ziller talkin' preseason
- Kings vs. Suns preview: Another chance for Jimmer Fredette
- Ben McLemore continues to show improvement
- Minutes, ESPN player rankings, and your Sacramento Kings
- Kings vs. Clippers score: DeMarcus Cousins drops 31 on L.A.'s D-List, Sacramento wins 99-88