SACRAMENTO -- The Kings did what was expected, dispatching a non-NBA opponent, by defeating Maccabi Haifa 91-59 in front of 10,128 fans at Sleep Train Arena on Saturday night.
Sacramento led by as many as 32 points at one point but it wasn’t particularly pretty.
Maccabi Haifa jumped out to an early 8-4 lead, making four of their first five shots
But Sacramento responded with a 12-0 run to give the Kings a 16-8 lead with 1:58 to go in the first quarter.
The Kings ended the first quarter with excellent offensive execution on a 1-4 flat set with Ramon Sessions driving to the basket before finding Carl Landry for a layup with 3.2 seconds to go give Sacramento a 22-12 lead.
A sluggish second quarter ensued, which probably wasn’t unexpected as the Kings returned from China on Thursday night and Maccabi Haifa bussed to Sacramento from Portland after last night’s 121-74 loss to the Blazers.
Maccabi Haifa did bounce back with a 10-6 run causing a Michael Malone timeout with the Kings clinging to a precarious 28-22 lead with 6:43 to go in the second quarter.
However, Sacramento outscored the visitors 17-16 in the second quarter, for a modest 39-28 halftime lead, fueled by a +12 rebound margin while holding Haifa to 33 percent shooting from the field.
DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings with eight first half points.
Sacramento extended the lead to 20 points at the end of the third quarter and never looked back.
Veteran point guards Darren Collison (who started) and Ramon Sessions (who came off the bench) combined for 23 points and nine assists to lead the Kings offense.
The duo only had four turnovers for a 2.25 assist to turnover ratio, matching Collison’s ratio with the Clippers last season.
Demontez Stitt scored 17 points to lead Maccabi Haifa while Hector Hernandez chipped in with 11 points off the bench.
A 12-4 start to the third quarter created separation. Sessions then scored five consecutive points as Sacramento built a 59-43 lead with 1:36 to go in the third quarter.
Ultimately, Nik Stauskas drained a three pointer via a Sessions behind-the-back dish with 28.5 seconds to go in the third to extend Sacramento’s lead to 20 points at 65-45 at the end of the third stanza.
Rudy Gay did not play due to a sprained left ankle that he rolled in practice on Friday.
DeMarcus Cousins started after sitting out the second game in China vs. the Nets due to a sore Achilles. Cousins suffered a cut on his hand and bloody nose in the first quarter but played through both minor knicks.
Sacramento is at San Antonio on Monday before facing the Lakers on Friday in Las Vegas in their final two exhibition games before opening the season at home vs. Golden State on Oct. 29.