Due to some scheduling conflicts, I didn’t go to the Kings first pre-season game last night. But there are a few people who did and did a fine job recapping the action. So check out the highlights and then the links after the jump:
Jason was probably the MVP of this game from Sacramento’s perspective. He was the only one that was effective when the Kings were struggling, and he was just doing it all: rebounds, defense, points, you name it. His go-to move is quickly becoming a fade-away jumper on the baseline, and its been going down consistently. He has less luck with shots around the basket however, getting some of the unluckiest bounces I’ve seen. On defense I was especially pleased to see him alter shots consistently, in addition to his three blocks. He also managed to find his teammates consistently as well, including a couple nice pick-and-rolls with Beno. After the game he mentioned how at halftime, he and DMC decided to have a contest to see who would get 10 rebounds first, even though JT only had 4 at the half and Cousins had 8. Still they both did, and the two of them together had more offensive rebounds than Phoenix combined. He did manage to collect 5 fouls, always a problem with him, but a couple of those fouls were really questionable.
Cousins said the way Westphal used him was fine as he eases into the NBA game.
“He wants to throw me in the fire, but he doesn’t want to just leave me out there and have me playing the whole game,” Cousins said. “I really think for the regular season, he just wants me to get a taste and get a groove going with the whole game and see it.”
But for now, he is tempering his impatience and following a rehab routine that includes cardio work, stretching and yoga, while trying to shed the additional weight that is most noticeable in his biceps.
“It just feels uncomfortable,” admitted Dalembert, who packed an additional 15 pounds onto his lanky 250-pound frame. “When you are in Haiti, you are running around, talking to people, but the closest gym is like three hours from my father’s house. You have to take dirt roads. There is bad traffic. You are eating and your conditioning is not good. I would come back to the United States and push, push, push myself (on the weights). Too much.”
The defense improved throughout the game. The Suns shot a ridiculous 66.7 % in the first quarter but finished the game shooting only 48.5%. The Kings won the turnover battle 15 to 23, the rebounding battle 47 to 36 and the steal battle 11 to 6. The Kings also held the Suns to 2 of 16 from three for a stellar 12.5%. There is a lot to like about the way the team played. Thursday night, the team will be tested again against the Clippers. DeMarcus Cousins versus Blake Griffin- a rookie of the year showdown?
Here are the Kingsflix post-game interviews: