The Kings were dressed in home white but they were a long way from home as they dropped their first of two preseason games against the Brooklyn Nets in China, 97 to 95. Ben McLemore had a chance to send the game into overtime but missed the driving attempt at the buzzer.
Sacramento was led in scoring by Ramon Sessions, who had a very efficient 18 points on 7-12 shooting and a surprising 3-5 from beyond the arc. Sessions also had 4 assists, 3 rebounds and a steal to his name after playing a game-high 30 minutes. Sacramento's other Point Guard, Darren Collison, was the only other Kings player to finish in double digit scoring with 15 points. Collison also had 4 assists and 3 rebounds.
The Kings had no answer for Brook Lopez, who scored 18 points for Brooklyn on 6-13 shooting to go with 6 rebounds. Deron Williams added 12 points and 6 assists, and both Mirza Teletovic and Jarrett Jack scored 10 for the Nets. Teletovic hit the go-ahead three for Brooklyn in the final minute that would end up being the game winner.
Neither team shot particularly well, with Sacramento going just 42.5% from the field and Brooklyn at 44.4%, and both teams shot around just 60% from the free throw line. Blame the jet lag. The Kings were better about taking care of the ball though, as they had just 11 turnovers on the game.
Sacramento now gets a couple days off before playing the Nets one more time, this time in Beijing on Wednesday.
- DeMarcus Cousins played just 14 minutes and in what has been a trend so far in preseason, he has played like someone who doesn't want to be there in the first half and then come alive in the third quarter. Cousins' night ended after he picked up a technical foul while standing at the Free Throw line, his second so far in preseason. Like his other one, it didn't seem warranted, but you be the judge.
- The Kings ran the Collison/Sessions backcourt lineup to good effect throughout the game and it's a lineup that I would not be surprised to see a lot more of throughout this season.
- Rudy Gay still hasn't found his rhythm in preseason, going just 3-10 from the field. I'm not too worried... yet.
- Derrick Williams is getting closer and closer to being a lost cause. He should be playing with a real sense of urgency given how well Omri Casspi is playing. Even though Casspi didn't have the best night, shooting just 3-10, he was able to contribute in other areas. Williams just seems lost when he doesn't have the ball, and when he does have it, it doesn't usually translate into anything positive. For all the talk about how much shooting he's done this summer, it has yet to translate into actual results in a game.
- Nik Stauskas had an off-shooting night just 4 points on 2-6 shooting (and I think it was actually 2-7 and the stat sheet is wrong) but he also kept on playing his game and not letting the misses get to him. His first four shots of the game were all misses, but they were wide open and shots that you'd expect him to make with consistency. In fact, his two makes were actually pretty tough, with defenders real close. Nik also showed off some nice vision but none of his passes turned into assists.
- Ryan Hollins only saw 12 minutes but managed to score 8 points on 4-4 shooting with 8 rebounds and 2 blocks. He was also part of this sequence, my favorite of the game.
- I had absolutely no issue with the Kings putting the ball in McLemore's hands with the game on the line. It's preseason, so we might as well give the young guys some responsibility when the result doesn't matter too much. I thought Ben had a good game, even though he finished just 2-7 from the field. He still has trouble finishing at the rim, but he's also been showcasing a newfound ability to actually get to the rim, something he couldn't do with any sort of consistency last year. His hard work this offseason on his ball handling is definitely paying dividends.
- NBA TV's announcers were bad. Like, really bad. How do you confuse Rudy Gay with Ryan Hollins? Rudy Gay dribbles more in one possession than Ryan Hollins has dribbled in his entire life, that should never be a case of mistaken identity.