Sacramento Scores Spot In Finals
Kings players react following a win over the Wizards and a shot at the Summer League championship.
Sacramento had one goal in mind come Sunday night – just win.
With a trip to the Summer League championship game on the line, the Kings jumped out to a fast start and held a 21-point lead at halftime. Despite a valiant comeback from fourth-seeded Washington, the purple and black rode their wave of momentum to a 74-62 semifinals victory.
“We didn’t come this far to lose,” stated Summer League invitee Eric Moreland, who tallied 12 rebounds, six points and three blocks.
Thanks to another big night, No. 40 now ranks among Summer League's top three in blocks per game and in the top 10 in rebounds per game.
“That’s what the team wanted, that’s what they asked for and that’s what I’m going to give them,” said the 6-foot-9 forward.
Moreland’s enthusiasm and energy ignited the team on Sunday. Through the first 20 minutes, Sacramento couldn’t be stopped.
The team shot 66 percent from downtown and 44 percent from the field. Rookie Nik Stauskas led the team in the first period with 7 points, while MarShon Brooks provided a boost off the bench adding 14 points in the second quarter.
“In the first half we played with a tremendous amount of energy on both ends of the floor,” said Assistant Coach Tyrone Corbin. “We shared the ball on the offensive end and I thought defensively we had some great possessions. We had a lot of activity, [the] guys [were playing with] active hands, we rebounded the ball as a group, which allowed us to get out in transition and move the ball and get some easy baskets.”
The newest member of Sacramento’s coaching staff watched the offense light up the scoreboard, while the defense shut down one of the most prolific scorers in Summer League action.
Glen Rice Jr. – who was later named Summer League MVP – was held to 1-of-6 shooting and just two points through the first 10 minutes of action. It wasn’t long, though, before Washington’s young playmaker found his stroke.
Trailing 45-24 at halftime, the Wizards used intermission to their advantage, as they outscored Sacramento, 24-13, in the third quarter. Rice had 11 of those points and helped his team pull within 10 at the final quarter break, 58-48.
After turning to the bench for a spark, the Kings reinserted their starters to close out the game, as Quincy Acy, Ben McLemore and Ray McCallum all notched critical fourth-quarter buckets.
“When you go through battles with guys, it makes you tougher,” admitted McCallum, who tallied 11 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals. “It makes your bond that much stronger.”
The Kings outscored their opponent down the stretch (16-14) and dominated the boards (44-30) to punch their ticket to the finals. The team will now face Houston on Monday at 6 p.m. on NBA TV with the winner taking home the Summer League trophy.
“Our goal is to win the whole thing,” said McCallum. “We’ve made it to the championship game, we’ve been here for 16 days, we want to finish it out on a high note and win the tournament.”
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