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Kings Advance With Offensive Showcase

McLemore and Brooks share reaction after combining for 41 points in Game 4 of Summer League action.
by Steven Wilson
Writer, Digital

Picking up where he left off after Monday’s 18-point performance, Ben McLemore was on fire against Minnesota on Thursday inside Cox Pavilion.

Sacramento’s second-year guard scored a team-high 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field, tallied six boards and dished four assists as the Kings defeated the Timberwolves, 100-86, to advance to the Summer League tournament’s quarterfinals.

“Overall, I just let the game come to me and I played my game,” said the Kansas product. “I went out there with confidence… and my team did a great job helping me with it. We came out together with that mindset – just play our game and play unselfish basketball.”

Chicago and Philadelphia are set to tip-off Thursday at 7 p.m., to determine whom Sacramento will face in its next contest, Saturday at 5 p.m.

“To get 100 points in a Summer League game [in] 40 minutes is great,” said Kings Head Coach Michael Malone. “It’s the kind of pace we like to play with, but it’s all predicated on our defense.”

Sacramento’s offense thrived off crisp passing. Both Nik Stauskas and Ray McCallum finished with five assists, while the team tallied 18.

“One thing we were trying to stress a lot was that when we do get stops and we do rebound we want that ball to move up the floor with the advance pass,” said the Kings leader. “Not dribbling up. The ball will move a lot quicker up the floor if you throw it ahead. We had a lot of those tonight.”

The team’s fast pace helped it climb to a seven-point lead after one period of play.

More impressively, Minnesota’s 7-foot-1 Kyrylo Fesenko – who posted back-to-back double-digit scoring outings coming into the game – was held without a basket in the first quarter.

Kings forward Quincy Acy helped set the tone defensively as he rejected Glenn Robinson III just three minutes into the game. The fourth-year pro says despite having a slender stature, he can use it to his advantage.

“You have to use your quickness,” said No. 5. “Those are some big [posts] out there – you can’t get in a wrestling match because you’re going to lose that every time.”

As a team, the Kings tallied five blocks and forced nine turnovers.

“I give Alex Oriakhi, Dwayne Jones, Sim [Bhullar], Quincy and all of our bigs credit,” stated Malone. “They met that challenge. [Minnesota was] able to hurt us a little on the offensive glass – especially Gorgui Dieng – but as the game went on, I thought we did a good job of limiting their effectiveness in the post.”

The Timberwolves pulled within two early in the second period, but Sacramento rallied with another offensive barrage from No. 16 and Co.

Jared Cunningham began an 11-5 run which pushed the Kings lead back to eight, 43-35. In all, the young point guard tallied seven points on 3-of-4 shooting in the second quarter.

MarShon Brooks was also active on the offensive end totaling eight points in the period on 3-of-4 shooting.

“Every time they made a run… we handled it,” said Malone. “We showed a little bit of resiliency, we didn’t get down on ourselves, [we] kept on playing and we were able to build a lead again.”

McLemore added five points to his total to give him a team-high 14 at halftime on 5-of-8 shooting. Afterwards, he said the game is starting to slow down for him.

“Coming into the league, everything is so fast,” admitted the St. Louis native. “Especially when you’re a rookie. [Now,] I’ve been able to slow things down to my own pace and control it… When I do, great things happen for me.”

The purple and black built a double-digit lead early in the second stanza, but the Timberwolves wouldn’t back down.

Minnesota finished the third quarter on an 8-2 run to pull within five, 74-69, but Sacramento withstood the charge.

McCallum and McLemore hit back-to-back shots before Brooks added two buckets of his own. In all, No. 0 finished second on the team with 19 points – 11 of which came in the final quarter.

“You can put MarShon Brooks in any gym in the world and he’ll score,” said the Kings second-year coach. “He’s a professional scorer – that’s what he does.”

Thanks to Brooks’ stellar offensive outing, Sacramento’s bench combined for 40 points on Friday. The Long Branch, N.J. native boosted his team to a 26-17 advantage in the final ten minutes, which ultimately sealed the victory.

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