Kings Stave Off Select Team
Coach Malone, McLemore and Stauskas dish on Sacramento’s second-consecutive Summer League victory.
Tipping-off against premier players of the NBA D-League, Sacramento overcame a slow start Monday to earn its second-consecutive victory, 89-75, inside the Thomas & Mack Center.
With the win, the Kings improve to 2-1 in Summer League play and have now won eight quarters this season. The team now awaits seeding to see who they’ll face as the tournament continues in Las Vegas.
For the second time in as many games, the Kings had five players score in double-figures. Both Ben McLemore and Derrick Williams posted their best outings of Summer League to date. McLemore tallied a team-high 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting, while Williams added 17 on 6-of-10 shooting. Ray McCallum also tallied a double-double with 10 points and 11 assists.
“Ray did a great job of running his team today,” said Kings Head Coach Michael Malone. “He was confident, he was aggressive, no hesitation, and he made plays and he made everyone around him better, which is his job as our starting point guard.”
On the opposite end of the court, Devin Ebanks – who tallied a team-high nine points on 4-of-5 shooting in the first ten minutes – carried the D-League Select to an early 22-16 lead.
“To start off the way we did and get down by as many as 15 in that first quarter was not the way we wanted to start, but in a way… I’m almost glad we did to show [our] resiliency,” added Malone.
During the second period, the black and purple exploded from its slump knocking down 10 field goals on just 11 attempts before halftime.
“We started off real slow,” said first-year guard Nik Stauskas. “But I think it was just the energy we brought in the second, third and fourth quarters – defensively, we got after it and we kept them off the offensive glass, which was key for us. Then, offensively, we started moving the ball more and we got a lot of open shots.”
Two minutes into the second quarter, the Kings were swinging the ball from sideline to sideline and began to light it up. Trailing 26-16 at the 7:39 mark, Sacramento used a 14-4 run to tie the game at 30-30.
Quincy Acy jump-started the run with a layup in traffic thanks to an assist from McCallum. No. 5 added a trio of free throws and Stauskas drained a three and connected on a layup before McLemore tied the game with a jumper at the 4:37 mark.
“My confidence has been building every game,” stated No. 16. “I’m just trying to get better as a player, work on my game and work different things into it.”
The Kings finished the opening half strong and held a 41-40 lead at the break.
Stauskas led the way for Sacramento with three field goals and eight points in the second quarter, while McLemore led all Kings players with 10 points at intermission.
“I was just trying to let the game come to me,” said McLemore. “I think [in] the first two games, I was too anxious… and not playing my game. Today … I was aggressive, going to the line, going to the basket, and I knocked down some shots – I was just playing my game.”
After a few minutes of back-and-forth play in the third quarter, the Kings started to pull away.
Sacramento held the D-League Select scoreless for two minutes and went on a 7-0 run. Three minutes later, the Kings tallied another offensive burst adding 10 points before the buzzer sounded for the third period.
Looking to maintain their lead and seal the win, the Kings turned to McLemore, who drained back-to-back buckets – the second of which was a three from the corner – as the fourth period got underway.
His hot hand put Sacramento in front by double-digits and the team never looked back.
“You have to be able to withstand a run in the NBA,” stated the Kings second-year coach. “It’s going to happen at some point. I thought Ray McCallum had his best game by far – 12 assists, three turnovers – he was terrific, to see Ben and Nik both shoot the ball as well as they did tonight was encouraging, Eric Moreland’s minutes and energy off the bench was inspiring – so [there were] a lot of positives.”