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Kings 98, Suns 102: Still a lot to work on

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Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

For a second there, it looked like we were going to get overtime for the second preseason game in a row but Darren Collison opted for a long three point attempt and an early exit as the Kings fell to the Suns 102-98.  Rudy Gay had a game-high 30 points on just 13 shots, but it wasn't enough for a Kings team that struggled to take care of and share the ball for most of the game.  Sacramento finished with 21 turnovers and just 14 assists with most of those miscues coming from the bench.  Jon Leuer and T.J. Warren led the Suns off the bench with 17 points apiece.

Omer will take you more in-depth tomorrow, but for now, here's a few of my own takes.

Quick Observations:

  • Willie Cauley-Stein started in Kosta Koufos' place as Karl opted to rest Koufos and I really liked the look.  Cauley-Stein is quicker on both ends of the floor and Rondo already seems to have a good rapport with him offensively in Pick and Rolls.  While Koufos is the better player, I think Willie could end up being the better fit as a starter, even though he's just a rookie.  This also allows the Kings to have a good rebounder on the floor at all times with Koufos off the bench.  Cauley-Stein is also already so good on defense. He doesn't look like a rookie at all on this end of the floor.  I'm not sure I've ever seen a rookie look so natural on that end of the floor.
  • The Kings started off the game looking like they've played with each other for years.  Rondo was connecting on a ton of passes, they were active on defense and they couldn't miss from three.  Even Boogie hit his first three!  Unfortunately that first 6 minutes was the only time we saw the Kings play cohesively all game.  Still, it was a nice glimpse at the potential.
  • Ben McLemore was far more active and involved tonight.  He didn't put up big numbers but he looked much better, especially on defense.
  • As good as the bench looked in Portland, they looked terrible in Phoenix.  In the first half in particular, Darren Collison looked as bad as he's ever been in a Kings uniform, turning the ball over five times.  He and Casspi combined for 9 of Sacramento's 14 first half turnovers.
  • Eric Moreland got the call tonight and while I wouldn't say he was great, he did look better than Quincy Acy looked Monday in Portland and definitely looked deserving of a roster spot.  He had trouble with the bigger Alex Len, but he was active on the glass and on defense.  Now if only he could catch the ball on offense...
  • The Suns had no answer for Rudy Gay.  He was making shots from everywhere and was particularly good beyond the arc.  He finished with an incredibly casual 30 points on just 13 shots. How's that for efficiency?
  • Caron Butler didn't look all that good and I'm not too upset.  As Carmichael Dave said on Twitter, anything we get from him on the court is really a bonus as he's here mostly for the locker room presence.
  • Belinelli will let it fly no matter hat.  He went 1-10 from three by himself.
  • I was a little miffed that we didn't get to see some of the end of bench guys like Seth Curry or Duje Dukan.  This is preseason, and I'd rather see them get at least a little bit of game action than heavy minutes from a guy like Caron Butler who you already know what you're going to get.

Highlights: