CK Preseason Press Box Report: Sacramento Kings 91, Golden State 90

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The Sacramento Kings overcame a 17-point third quarter deficit to beat the Golden State Warriors 91-90 in front of a wild Sleep Train Arena crowd.

Isaiah Thomas came off the bench to score 21 points and six rebounds, but it was his defense on the hot shooting Stephen Curry that changed the outcome of this game.  John Salmons buried a 3-pointer with less than eight ticks on the clock, helping the Kings to improve to 4-2 on the preseason.

Notes and Analysis

  • Isaiah Thomas was the lone Kings player that seemed to care whether the team won or lost after halftime.  Coming off the bench, Thomas led the Kings with 21 points, including 10 in the pivotal third quarter.  Sacramento came out the half flat and trailed by 17 just minutes in.  Thomas entered the game and went at Steph Curry, even getting in his face at one point.  The Kings would have lost by 20 if it wasn’t for the effort of no. 22.
  • It was a tale of two halves for veteran John Salmons.  After going scoreless in 17 first half minutes, Salmons dropped in 14 in the second, including the game-winning 3-pointer with just 7.6 seconds remaining. While he isn’t flashy, Salmons appears to have locked up the starting small forward position yet again this season.
  • DeMarcus Cousins struggled with foul trouble the entire game, playing just 22 minutes before fouling out.  The big fella finished with 11 points and nine rebounds, but he has to know that this team goes as far as he can take them.  Andrew Bogut did everything in his power to take Cousins out of the game and eventually, he won out.
  • Rookie Ben McLemore came alive in the fourth quarter, scoring seven of his nine total points off the Kings bench.  We keep saying this, but it’s going to be very difficult to keep this kid off the floor as the season progresses.  Coach Malone had enough confidence in the first year player to stick with him in a tight ball game down the stretch and the 20-year old didn’t disappoint.
  • Jimmer Fredette got the start and looked great in the game’s first four minutes when the Kings took an early 13-2 lead.  But it all unraveled after that.  The Kings got sloppy, Curry got hot and Jimmer looked solid, but he has to stay aggressive on the offensive end.  A three point, three assist, three turnover game did not help his chances of starting on opening night.
  •  Patrick Patterson started at power forward and really opened up the floor for his teammates.  While his shooting percentage wasn’t great (4-for-13), he made a concerted effort to rebound the ball (8) and was a couple of open makes away from having a huge night.
  • Jason Thompson made a solid contribution playing with the second unit.  He finished with nine points and six rebounds in 24 minutes.  Like the shooting guard position, there is no clear cut winner at the power forward spot with one preseason game remaining.  What is clear is that teams are going to go at Cousins, and Thompson is going to have to play both big man positions for this team to have a chance.
  • Stat of the Night: If the Kings had lost this game, it would have been because they turned the ball over 25 times.  But because Sacramento held the Warriors to nine points on 15.8 percent shooting in the fourth quarter, they didn’t lose.

Quote of the Game

Isaiah Thomas on what the Kings did differently in the fourth quarter.

Just energy – a lot of energy. We got stops, we kind of settled down on turnovers and we got out running. I think we’re better when we can get out and run after we get stops because we’ve got some talented guys that can put the ball in the basket.

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