Young Kings, Bench Thrive in Victory
Seventy-two points by the Kings reserves made the difference in an emotional post All-Star Game victory over Denver. With three new faces, a revamped starting lineup and a sold-out Golden 1 Center, Sactown leaped to a fast-paced start thanks to their bigs. The trio of Kosta Koufos, Skal Labissiere and Willie Cauley-Stein combined for 20 of the team’s 29 first quarter points, rebounding from an early eight-point deficit.
By the second frame, the Cauley-Stein show was in full swing. The Kentucky product converted 5-of-8 field goal attempts en route to an 11-point quarter. Trill showed off an array of moves throughout the period and more importantly, the game – displaying an impressive handle, soft touch and mid-range jumper. Meanwhile, rookie Buddy Hield entered and immediately contributed for the Kings, scoring seven second quarter points while showcasing his smooth shooting stroke. Holding Denver to just 6-of-17 from the floor, Sacramento built off a narrow advantage to pull away by as many as 20 prior to halftime.
The momentum would carry over into the final half, with Sactown holding onto their double-digit lead for most of the final 24 minutes. Ben McLemore stepped in with eight third quarter points, Tyreke Evans returned to the team to score eight in the final frame and No. 00 scored 10 in the second half to complete the W.