What a first game of Kings basketball! After a very sloppy first half, the Kings rallied in the second half thanks to strong performances from their bench players, namely Marco Belinelli and Darren Collison, and ended up turning what had been a 17 points deficit to a 4 point overtime victory. Belinelli finished with a game-high 32 points on 12-18 shooting, with most of that coming in the fourth quarter and overtime. Collison chipped in a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds and DeMarcus Cousins had 22 points and 7 rebounds for Sacramento.
Omer will have a more detailed recap in the morning, but for now here are some of my quick observations from the game:
- The Rajon Rondo / DeMarcus Cousins pick and roll is going to be a fantastically deadly weapon. Rondo was slicing up the Blazers to find Cousins rolling to the rim for easy buckets.
- Speaking of Cousins, he tried the outside shot a few times tonight, but went 0-3. None of the attempts were particularly close. Let's get these out of the system while the games don't matter.
- Willie Cauley-Stein looked great in his first stint, with good activity on defense and solid finishing on pick and rolls and putbacks. He was decidedly more down to earth in his following stints. He needs to be a better rebounder as he gave up a lot of second chance points to Noah Vonleh and the Blazers.
- Ben McLemore was largely invisible for most of the game. Wasn't a good look for Ben.
- Kosta Koufos put up a quietly impressive 12 points, 8 rebounds and a block with very solid defense. That seems like something we can rely on.
- Rudy Gay couldn't get anything going tonight offensively, shooting just 2-11 from the field. He was pretty good on the glass though with 9 boards in the first half alone.
- Marco Belinelli and Darren Collison were fantastic as the team's scoring punch off the bench. Belinelli in particular was a revelation. The Kings haven't had a shooter like him in a long while. I knew he was a fantastic spot up shooter but he also showed a great ability to create his own shot as well.
- James Anderson played 17 largely unimpressive minutes. He airballed a corner three. I'm still not totally sure why we signed him.
- Kings started Rondo, McLemore, Gay, Cousins, Koufos. Definitely looks like there will be some spacing issues with that lineup if McLemore can't find his shot.
For those of you that were unable to watch, here's a few highlights courtesy of the Kings YouTube page: