Fellow fans, we have our first winning streak of the season! In a back and forth affair, the Kings outlasted the Wizards behind big games from DeMarcus Cousins and Darren Collison. With Rudy Gay (as well as Greg Monroe and Michael Carter-Williams), Ty Lawson (personal reasons), Garrett Temple, Matt Barnes, and Arron Afflalo taking the night off, Dave Joerger employed a unique starting lineup in Darren Collison, Ben McLemore, Skal Labbissiere, Willie Cauley-Stein, and DeMarcus Cousins. Although he got the starting nod, the Haitian Sensation didn’t stick on the court very long as he was replaced by Omri Casspi four minutes into the game. Even though the Kings shot well overall (60%) and from three point range (47.8%), their 27 turnovers enabled Washington to take 27 more field goal attempts. Boogie acounted for a large portion of those miscues as he coughed the ball up seven times.
Turnover struggles aside, DeMarcus dominated yet another game under Joerger’s offensive scheme. His line of 22 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists is even more encouraging considering he shot 9/13 from the field. Cousins’ field goal percentage is a scorching 75% in the preseason (27/36) which is astronomically higher than his career average of 46%. Clearly, facing up to the basket is increasing his efficiency as most Kings Fans have theorized over the past couple of years. Darren Collison also had a solid showing as the starting point guard with 22 points, 8 assists, and only 2 turnovers. It’ll be interesting to see if a point guard battle ensues between Lawson and Collison once Darren returns from his suspension in November as they both have played well in the starting role.
The Wizards had a pretty balanced scoring column with seven players scoring in double figures. Andrew Nicholson led Washington with 19 points while Kelly Oubre Jr. chipped in 15 points of his own and Trey Burke came off of the bench and recorded 10 assists. The Wizards were in the passing lanes all night as they ended the game with 21 steals.
- Willie Cauley-Stein had a another encouraging performance. For the second game in a row he put up 12 points (5/6 FG) while pulling down 5 rebounds as well as recording 4 steals and 1 block in 22 minutes. I believe the starting PF position is between Tolliver and Trill at this point and if WCS can increase his rebounding numbers, he may claim the starting spot.
- Ben McLemore’s box score was not encouraging. He will almost assuredly be behind Arron Afflalo and possibly Garrett Temple in the rotation. In 29 minutes he scored 8 points (2/6 FG) and grabbed four rebounds. Hard work and coachability only get you so far if you can’t produce when minutes are available.
- Anthony Tolliver’s ten minutes were the third lowest on the team tonight. I believe this is more due to Joerger understanding what he has in Tolliver rather than him losing minutes within the rotation. In his short time he scored five points (1/1 FG) and corralled five boards. The Revolver seems to be finding his rhythm within the schemes and he’s my candidate to start on opening night.
- The Kings next preseason game is against the Clippers and will (finally!) be televised on ESPN. LA presents a tough opponent and it may be a good time for Coach to begin running his normal lineups that he’ll be using in the regular season.
For the opponent’s perspective, visit Bullets Forever.