In a game the Sacramento Kings needed, they responded. From the opening tip, the Kings stepped on the Lakers' throats defensively, causing all kinds of turnovers and running out to an early 20 point lead that they never relinquished. With varying levels of defensive intensity and halfcourt efficiency, the Kings lead fluctuated between 15 and 30, but the Lakers never mounted a serious challenge. Here are some quick thoughts:
- Welcome to the NBA Willie Cauley-Stein! The Kings sixth overall pick was everything he was advertised defensively and was incredibly active on the offensive glass. He even flashed some ability in the post in garbage time, which is great to see.
- Rajon Rondo walked onto the court and set up camp in DeAngelo Russell's head. That was a vintage Rondo performance on both ends of the court. He should have had more assists but the Kings could not shoot from the outside paint.
- Ben McLemore struggled with his shot again but was incredibly active on the court, which is probably the best way for him to stay involved in the game. His chances to score are going to be limited, but if he doesn't want to just become a spectator he needs to do the dirty work on defense and be energetic.
- The Kings, as mentioned above, struggled from three point range today, which I felt bogged down the halfcourt offense at times. Luckily their defense was great at forcing turnovers so those issues were somewhat subdued.
- Only Rudy Gay and Cauley-Stein reached the 30 minute mark, which is great considering a brutal back-to-back on the road tomorrow against the Clippers. Depth!