Balanced Attack Fuels Kings
Five players scored in double figures as Sacramento earned its first Summer League win.
En route to their first win of Summer League play, the Kings used a balanced offensive attack and swarming defense to stifle the Charlotte Hornets to earn a 72-65 victory.
Sacramento, which now stands 1-1 in Las Vegas, outscored Charlotte in three out of four quarters and held the Hornets to a 28.6-shooting clip from the floor.
Five players finished in double-figures, including RaShad James – who had a team-high 12 points – Ben McLemore (11), MarShon Brooks (11), Nik Stauskas (10) and Quincy Acy (10).
“[After] the disappointment from the second half of our last game and coming back tonight, we wanted to put a 40-minute game together,” stated Assistant Coach Tyrone Corbin. “[I was happy with] the way the (team) stayed together and understood how we had to finish quarters off.”
The Kings limited the Hornets to just nine points in the first quarter by holding Charlotte to just 16.7 percent from the floor as just two players in teal and purple connected on field goals.
“We were definitely excited [about that],” said McLemore, who helped the Kings to a 16-9 first quarter lead. “We were on a string together on the defensive end and we [were all] trying to help each other. If one person made a mistake, we [were there] to help.”
Sacramento’s Summer League invitee Sim Bhullar saw his first action Sunday during the opening period and tallied one block in three-and-a-half minutes.
Afterwards, Corbin heralded the 7-foot-5 center’s progression.
“It’s exciting,” stated the newest member of the Kings coaching staff. “He’s worked so hard to get himself in NBA shape and to get an opportunity to get on the floor. I thought he had good minutes – he blocked a shot in there and got his hands on the ball, so we’ll continue to work with him, but it’s always exciting to see a young guy get an opportunity and do well.”
Charlotte put up a fight in the second quarter, outscoring the Kings 20-16, but Sacramento was able to maintain a three-point lead at intermission, 32-29.
Stauskas led Sacramento’s balanced offensive attack in the first half with 7 points, while Acy and McLemore chipped in with 6 points apiece.
Midway through the third quarter, Charlotte tied the game at 39-all thanks to a three from P.J. Hairston.
After a solo McLemore free throw, the Hornets took their first lead, 42-40, after a Rion Brown triple.
The lead was short lived, however, as Brooks, James and Eric Moreland teamed up to score Sacramento’s next 8 points and reclaim the lead, one the black-and-purple would not relinquish.
“Our bench came [up big] tonight,” stated McLemore. “MarShon came off the bench lighting it up and played well, and RaShad came off the bench too. We needed it to help us… get the momentum and take the win.”
Brooks, who scored eight second-half points, pointed to improved ball movement and precise passing as keys to the win.
“In the third quarter, everybody loosened up and we started sharing the ball,” said No. 0. “I think in the first half… we had two assists – we can’t win like that, no matter who we’re playing. We have a [very] talented team, but at the same time, we have to drive and make the right play and make some passes.”
Taking his advice to heart, Brooks used a fast-break opportunity to loft a perfect pass to James, who laid the ball off the glass for an easy score near the end of the third quarter.
“The game’s a lot easier when the ball’s moving from side-to-side and you can just attack guys on the closeout,” admitted the Providence alum. “I think it’s what we did in the second half, I think it’s why we won the game.”
The Kings scored 22 points in the final period with 10 coming from James.
No. 20 scored all 12 of his points in the second stanza, including back-to-back threes with less than six minutes to play which all but sealed Sacramento’s victory.
The Kings close out Summer League pool play Monday against the NBA D-League Select team at 1:30 p.m. at Thomas & Mack Center.