Ben McLemore’s runner was no good and partially blocked by Sergey Karasev as time expired, and the Kings fell to the Brooklyn Nets 97-95 Saturday in Shanghai as part of the NBA Global Games in China.
The Kings, now 1-2 in the exhibition season, gave up 55 first-half points and missed 14 free throws.
Sacramento performed well relative to their fourth quarter goal of giving up 20 points or less, as the Kings held Brooklyn to 22 points in the final stanza -- and actually held them to just 42 second half points. However, as the first half demonstrated, the defensive woes continued.
Kings coach Michael Malone noted, ''We played much better defense in the second half but missed a lot of free throws. You go 22 of 36 from the foul line in a close game, that's going to make it very hard to win.”
Rookie Nik Stauskas drained a shot to give Sacramento a 95-91 lead but the Kings couldn’t seal the deal over the final 2:23 of play.
Mizra Teletovic’s 3-pointer with 56.2 seconds left in the game -- on an assist from Jarett Jack -- propelled the Nets to the lead at 97-95.
Worthy of note in the Kings' final possession: Sacramento was operating in front of the Nets bench without instruction from the coaching staff. While McLemore’s gumption to take the final shot is commendable, the second-year guard’s proficiency at creating off the dribble is still suspect.
Ramon Sessions was on the floor for the last possession and his ability to get to the basket and create is uncanny.
During film session, Malone will undoubtedly reiterate the need for the ball to be in Sessions’ hands in crucial possessions to create opportunities and finishes.
THE GOOD: Sacramento committed only 11 turnovers -– a precipitous drop from the 29 and 20 turnovers respectively in the Kings first two exhibition games versus Toronto.
Ramon Sessions had only two turnovers in 30 minutes of action producing a team-high 18 points off the bench and added 4 assists. Collison, who started, had zero turnovers and chipped in 15 points to go along with 4 assists. Both veteran point guards had stints on the floor together increasing the pace and efficiency of the Kings' offense.
A late costly turnover notwithstanding, Ryan Hollins was 4-for-4 from the field, finishing with eight points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots.
THE BAD: Allowing 55 first-half points doomed the Kings. Brooklyn shot 54.5 percent, scoring 29 points in the 1st quarter, with 11 by Brook Lopez, who finished the game with 18 points to lead the Nets.
Sacramento missed 14 free throws.
In 16 minutes, Jason Thompson did not attempt a field goal, finishing with two points and a pair of rebounds.
Derrick Williams struggled for nearly 21 minutes, going 2-of-7 from the field and 1-of-4 from the free throw line.
DeMarcus Cousins picked up his second technical foul in three exhibition games. Cousins' goal is five technical fouls over the 82-game regular season. He was tied with Blake Griffin and Kevin Durant last season for the league lead with 16.
Final possession: Given the five on the floor at the time, Sessions has to have the ball to create.
THE TAKE: DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay were not on the floor in the 4th quarter, so as with all exhibition games, the outcome needs to be taken with a grain of salt.
However, Michael Malone, while pleased with the poise on offense -- just 11 turnovers -- he needs to see similar progress on defense.