The Sacramento Kings looked as though they were going to end the preseason on a sour note, falling to the Lakers by double digits late in the game, but Ray McCallum and Sacramento's bench led a big comeback that included a 15-2 run and a game-winning tip shot by McCallum at the buzzer to win 93-92. McCallum only played the final 4 minutes and 12 seconds of the game but was a +14 for the Kings as he both tied the game and won it in the final minute.
DeMarcus Cousins was about the only real positive for Sacramento for the first three periods, scoring 21 points on just 11 shots in 26 minutes to go with 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks and just 2 turnovers. The Lakers had no answer for Cousins all night. Ramon Sessions, Derrick Williams and Nik Stauskas were the only other Kings in double digits with 14, 13, and 10 points respectively. Sacramento was leading at halftime but fell apart in the 3rd quarter where they were outscored 28 to 15 and scored just 6 points in the first 7 minutes of that period.
Sacramento's offense was the worst it's been all preseason, shooting just 41%. Meanwhile the defense continued to be bad as the Lakers shot 46.3% and made a preseason-high 7 three pointers. The Kings did end up getting to the line a lot more than the Lakers (31 attempts to just 16) and that proved to be a difference maker in the game.
The Kings also lost Rudy Gay and Ben McLemore to injuries in the game. Gay got hit in the face by an errant Julius Randle elbow in the second quarter, re-injuring his jaw. The severity of that injury is not currently known but he will have x-rays on his return to Sacramento. McLemore also got hit in the face late in the 4th quarter by Wayne Ellington and cut his face open, also knocking him out of the game. Per James Ham, he suffered a laceration above his eye and will need stitches.
The Kings now have four days off before starting the season with a visit from the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday.
- Julius Randle looks like he's going to be a very good player in the NBA for years to come. He's already got a very advanced offensive game, both inside and out. He actually reminds me a little bit of DeMarcus Cousins as a rookie.
- Nik Stauskas needs to get more touches on offense, especially when he's the only shooter on the floor. It's not like he needs the ball a lot, but I'd rather see the offense run through him up top than Reggie Evans trying to play the high-low game.
- Ben McLemore airballs more jumpers than any other "shooter" that I know. Great jump shooters can't be doing that. He did not have a good game before he was forced to leave to injury, shooting just 1-7 on the night. Consistency continues to be an issue for Ben.
- Speaking of missing shots, Ramon Sessions seemingly missed at least 3 open layups. He can get to the rim at will but needs to be able to finish.
- Carl Landry played alright but shot way too many jumpers for my liking. That was his issue last time in Sacramento. To be fair most of the jumpers he shot were pretty open and he's proven he can hit those.
- McCallum is too good to be a third string player.
- Trey Johnson got some playing time after McLemore's injury. I wouldn't be surprised if he makes the team as a sort of injury insurance like Hamady N'Diaye did last year.
- Reggie Evans doesn't just have a nose for getting rebounds, it's like he's got his own personal tractor beam to make the balls come to him. Reggie had 16 rebounds in just 20 minutes, and while his offense was pretty bad (several point blank misses including a dunk and layup), the Kings would not have won without his efforts on the board. In fact it was his offensive rebound and putback attempt that set up Ray Mac's game-winning tip in, so tip of the hat to Reggie.