Kings Show Depth in Preseason Opener
Throughout the offseason, Kings General Manager Pete D’Alessandro searched for depth to add to a Sacramento Kings squad that finished 28-54 in 2013-14 and featured two top-tier talents – DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay – in the starting rotation.
In Sacramento’s first preseason game, the team’s new additions were quick to make an impact.
Reserves Nik Stauskas, selected in the 2014 NBA Draft, and Ramon Sessions, acquired as a free agent, paced the team in scoring in the first half with eight points apiece. Sessions also tallied three assists for a team preaching more ball movement.
Fellow newcomer Ryan Hollins also generated immediate impact, blocking a shot in the first half and altering several others. Hollins is a welcome addition to a squad that finished 27th overall in blocked shots per game a season ago.
Following the lead of their new teammates, Sacramento turned to its two stars in the third quarter and used a 33-21 spurt to take a 75-68 lead into the fourth. Cousins tallied nine of his 13 points, while Gay added seven in the frame.
The Raptors started the fourth quarter on a 13-2 run until Stauskas’ driving layup with 5:26 remaining stemmed the tide.
Derrick Williams nailed a jumper with less than four minutes to play, giving the Kings a two-point lead, but Sacramento was unable to slow Toronto’s final attack.
Two Tyler Hansbrough free throws with 1:53 to play followed by a 3-point-play from Lou Williams put the game out of reach, as the Kings were outscored 31-19 in the fourth quarter.
Stauskas Starts Hot:
Kings rookie Nik Stauskas, known for his lights-out shooting, proved just that as he began his Sacramento career with three consecutive buckets.
The first two came from long distance as No. 10 dialed in from 25-plus-feet on a beautiful feed from Derrick Williams, then several possessions later on a find from Darren Collison in the corner.
Cousins and Rudy’s Big Third:
Kings Head Coach Michael Malone knows he’ll need to lean on his talented duo over the course of the upcoming 82-game season. The Kings leader opted to play Cousins and Gay sparingly, as both saw less than 24 minutes of action. In the short time the gold-medal pair did see action, they combined for a team-high plus-15.
Reggie Stills Owns the Glass:
Twelve-year veteran Reggie Evans remains ageless when it comes to grabbing rebounds. The Pensacola native pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds in just 21 minutes.
The Kings head home to host a rematch with the Raptors in Sacramento’s preseason home opener Tuesday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. at Sleep Train Arena.