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Kings 135, Maccabi Haifa 96: Kings get first preseason win

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The first professional basketball game played at the Golden 1 Center was a win for the Kings

It doesn’t really mean much, but the Sacramento Kings wrecked their Israeli league opponents Maccabi Haifa 135-96. Ty Lawson had a terrific game all-around game getting the start at point guard with 13 points (5/6 FG, 3/3 FT), 8 assists, 7 rebounds and only 2 turnovers in 18 minutes of gametime. DeMarcus Cousins was just physically impossible to matchup with by Haifa’s undersized frontline, comfortably notching 14 points (5/7 FG, 4/5 FT) 4 rebounds and 3 assists. Ben McLemore led the Kings in scoring, breaking loose for an 18 point (7/13 FG, 2/6 3P, 2/2 FT) outing in 24 minutes.

The Kings jumped on Haifa early with a 39 point quarter and never looked back. They led by as many as 46 points, assisted on 30 of their 53 field goals, and shot 67% overall from the field and 53% from three point range. They forced Haifa into committing 24 turnovers with 15 steals. Encouragingly, the rookies came in and held strong as well, with Skal Labissiere (10 points) and Malachi Richardson (9 points) both making their mark. Even George Papagiannis was perfect from the field in his limited playing time.

Some negatives? Haifa isn’t an NBA team so you can’t draw too many conclusions from the wreckage. Cousins also damn near fouled out at halftime, with 5 in his 17 minutes. That’s just not going to cut it. Haifa also did shoot way too well from three point range for my taste, hitting 15 of their 36 attempts (42%). The Kings will have to drill their bad habits of sagging off three point shooters if they want to be a good defense.

The Kings next play the Lakers on Thursday at 7:30 in Las Vegas.