There were signs during the preseason the Kings could open the season the way they did Wednesday.
Kings coach Michael Malone said the team needed to treat the last two preseason games like regular-season contests.
In both cases, the Kings’ core players found themselves outplayed by backups and players who would soon find themselves playing in the D-League.
Then that core, like it had in the second half of the last two preseason games, fell apart in the second half of their 95-77 loss to the Golden State Warriors at Sleep Train Arena.
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It happened again against the Warriors in the third quarter, just as it did during the preseason.
Here’s coach Michael Malone on that dreadful third:
“I think it was that 5:40 minute in the third quarter when we were up by one, and we turned into the Keystone Cops. They went on a 15-2 run and we couldn’t even get a shot off. Our offense, or lack thereof, was really bad tonight. The turnovers – we talked about those in the preseason. We were 28th in the preseason for turnovers per game, and to come out here against that team and turn the ball over 27 times for 26 points – well, you’re not going to beat anybody, especially not one of the best teams in the Western Conference. Offensively, it was a disappointing effort. We played really selfishly and did not move the ball. We pounded the ball. We looked very similar to the Sacramento Kings of last season.”
Four of the five starters were starters last season. Darren Collison is the only change.
Off the bench, Derrick Williams and Reggie Evans still saw time as did Carl Landry. Landry, however, only played 18 games last season so he’s essentially a new piece.
Still, that’s seven holdovers in the top 10. Ramon Sessions, Nik Stauskas and Collison are the new players in the top of the rotation. Omri Casspi figures to play more at some point, but that’s still only four new players in the group that plays the most.
If the Kings are going to change how they play, it can’t be on Collison or Sessions to change it all because they play point guard.
It will take many familiar faces to make that happen.
▪ In case you were like me and wondering who the Keystone Cops are, here they are:
▪ Collison had a solid debut (13 points, eight assists, five steals) even if he shot just four of 12. He set a good tone, or at least tried to, on both ends of the floor.
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Landry (eight points, seven rebounds) was also solid off the bench. They were the two Kings who filled their roles the best against the Warriors.
Sessions played just 10:14, so he didn’t have much time to make an impact. Surprising he played so little.
▪ The Kings need more from their shooting guards. They combined to shoot three of 15. Ben McLemore missed all five of his shots and did not score. Stauskas had nine points in his NBA debut.
▪ The Kings’ 27 turnovers were the most since March 19, 2006, at Minnesota.