SACRAMENTO -- For head coach Michael Malone it’s difficult to gauge the Kings' progress playing against Maccabi Haifa.
“We’re not going to measure ourselves against Maccabi," Malone said following Sacramento's 91-59 win Saturday night. "We have to hold ourselves to a higher standard, knowing very well that we have two games to try and get this right—going into opening night against Golden State, and then we have Portland right after that at home. We still have a lot of work to do.”
Sacramento did take care of business getting the 91-59 win while fighting through the lingering effects of jet lag returning from China on Thursday night after dropping two games to Brooklyn, and also fulfilling the public relations obligations of the NBA Global Games.
The Kings defense must be taken with a grain of salt allowing just 59 points.
“No disrespect to them because they’re not an NBA team, but to hold them below 20 points every quarter and 28 percent from the field, that’s a lot more to my liking as a coach,” Malone said.
Notwithstanding his nine turnovers, DeMarcus Cousins produced a 15-point, 12 rebound effort. His rim running and work in the post was noticeable as a point of emphasis for the Kings offense.
Point guards Darren Collison and Ramon Sessions combined for 23 points and nine assists and were on the floor simultaneously at times.
"Me and Ramon, we were playing exceptionally well, not just individually but together," Collison said. "When he’s on the court with me it just seems like the game is going a lot faster and smoother. It’s always good to have two good point guards on the court and be able to make plays.
"You see that the NBA is starting to transition into that. You want to be able to know that you have those weapons and we do."
Twenty-five Sacramento turnovers, including nine from Cousins who acknowledged this weakness.
“Myself personally, horrible game," Cousins declared. "Nine turnovers so got a lot to fix. Can’t have that same type of effort in San Antonio."
Perhaps Malone summed it up best:
"That was a tough game for me to watch and I’m sure it was for all of you, as well. It was sloppy. We still have a lot of work to do, but we got the win tonight and nobody got hurt. We did some good things defensively, and at times we did some good things offensively.”
After Friday’s practice, Malone alluded to tightening the rotation and getting a “truer picture” of what the Kings will look like in the regular season.
With Rudy Gay, who didn’t play Saturday night due to a sprained ankle sustained in the aforementioned Friday practice, back in the lineup vs. the defending champion San Antonio Spurs on Monday and the Lakers on Friday, that “truer picture” will be more identifiable in anticipation for the season opener against Golden State at Sleep Train Arena on Oct. 29.