Sacramento Kings jump all over Washington Wizards to earn summer league title berth

by Jonathan Santiago and James Ham

Ray McCallum and Nik Stauskas talk during Wizards/Kings Summer League match-up (Photo: Jonathan Santiago)

LAS VEGAS – Depth has not been an issue for the Sacramento Kings at Las Vegas Summer League. Led by Jared Cunningham and MarShon Brooks, the Kings reserves bolstered a second quarter surge that led Sacramento to a 74-62 victory over the Washington Wizards in the Summer League semifinals on Sunday.

“The ball moved,” Kings summer league coach Tyrone Corbin said after the win.  “We wanted to push the pace a little bit early.  We did a good job of sharing the ball.  We got a little stagnant that second half, but that second quarter – really the first half – I thought we did a really good job moving the ball.”

Cunningham and Brooks combined to score 19 of the Kings’ 28 points in the second period. The Kings stole all the momentum away from the game before halftime, limiting the Wizards to just 24 points on 28.6-percent shooting from the field.

“MarShon is a crazy scorer,” Cunningham said of his Vegas league teammate following the win.  “He can score anytime on the floor.  Once you get him open and he sees a good look, he’s gonna take it.  I feel like I played off of him and he played off of me and we both created for each other.  The score went up and before you knew it, we were winning by at least 30.

The victory means the Kings have earned a berth in the second-annual NBA Summer League championship game. They’ll take on the Houston Rockets in tomorrow’s grand finale at the Thomas & Mack Center. Game time for Monday night’s title game is at 6 pm PT.

Notes and analysis of today’s game can be read down below.

  • MarShon Brooks went crazy in the second quarter and scored all 14 of his points during a 10-minute stretch before halftime. Brooks’ strong play during summer league will earn him a spot in the NBA next season.  However, the better he looks, the less likely it becomes that he will ink with the Kings.  Sacramento has young guards and Brooks could find a nice niche off Michael Malone’s bench, but someone is going to come calling with an offer and the Kings are against the luxury tax.
  • Nik Stauskas got it going early, scoring seven quick points in the first quarter, but his shot went cold in the second half.  The rookie out of Michigan looked more assertive after taking just three shots last time out, which is a good thing, but he never hit another shot.
  • Corbin on Stauskas’ recent struggles: “It’s a lot of learning man.  It’s a long process for those guys getting drafted.  Finishing their college career and getting drafted, coming right into training camp and learning the NBA game compared to the game they were playing previous years.  He’s doing a good job though.  He’s still fighting though.”
  • Eric Moreland continues to show flashes of being a defensive stopper for the Kings in the post.  At this point, it would be shocking if the rookie out of Oregon State didn’t get an invite to training camp.  Moreland is now averaging 8.6 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in 19 minutes per game for Sacramento.
  • Ray McCallum has had a quiet summer league.  The Kings are counting on the second-year guard out of Detroit to play substantial minutes at the point this season, but where he’s really excelled in Vegas is off the ball.  He can shoot, handle, rebound and play defense.  If you are judging him just on his numbers, you will be disappointed.  If you are judging him by wins and losses, he has led his team to the championship game.
  • Ray McCallum on the Kings’ balanced scoring effort their last two games:  “That’s one of the great things about this team.  We got a lot of guys who can score the ball.  But we got a lot of guys who can make plays for one another as well and that’s something that you seen.  (It’s) double-figures, but it’s low.  It’s (guys scoring) 10, 11, 12, maybe 15 might be the most.  We’re just sharing the ball, playing for one another and it’s (us) playing as a unit and everyone’s having some success and it’s carried us to the championship.”
  • Jared Cunningham has joined the conversation after a very suspect start to the summer league.  The former first round pick needed a big game to get an invite to training camp and he finished with 10 points and two assists in 12 minutes of action.
  • Cunningham on how he’s been able to find his rhythm after not playing much in the Kings’ first three games:  “Just getting minutes.  I think just getting comfortable once I get those minutes and just scoring once I seen the ball go in the basket.  That was good for me and just helping my teammates and that’s something we’ve been doing this whole tournament.
  • After a very strong set of games, Ben McLemore melted in the Vegas heat today, finishing with just six points on 2-of-8 shooting.  The second-year guard showed major growth this week, but he still needs to work on giving the same effort each night out.
  • Quincy Acy has earned his 2014-15 contract, but that means absolutely nothing in the NBA.  The 23-year-old forward will find out his fate with the Kings later this week.  In the meantime, he has been the defensive leader of this summer league squad and brought his “A” game each time out.  It’s a numbers game that Acy may lose, but he will play in the league with someone next season if Sacramento chooses to cut him loose.
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