The Sacramento Kings went on the road their first preseason game of 2013 in Oakland on Monday night after their future in Sacramento was uncertain after their season ended.
The Golden State Warriors couldn’t have been a better choice to be the Kings’ first opponent.
Former Warriors minority owner and the Kings’ new chairman and majority owner Vivek Ranadive was celebrating his 56th birthday and former Warriors coach Mike Malone made his preseason head coaching debut for the Kings.
To top things off, DeMarcus Cousins was given a four-year, $62 million contract extension, solidifying his position as the franchise’s cornerstone.
For Sacramento, a new era was beginning.
The Kings raced to a 21-12 lead in the first quarter but their lead wouldn’t last long as the Warriors pushed back. The Kings’ turnovers started to pile up and Golden State’s poise was able to shine through late in the game as Sacramento lost 94-81.
Isaiah Thomas finished with 15 points and had six assists with six turnovers to match. “Overall, I thought we played pretty well,” Thomas said after the game. “Other than stretches in the third and fourth quarter, then it kind of blew it apart. Other than that, our defense was pretty good throughout the game.”
Malone’s reputation of improving defenses seems to have impacted the Kings like his time as an assistant with New Orleans and Golden State. “I was very encouraged,” Malone said about the start of the game. “We were able to run, get some run outs off their defense. We’ve been stressing ball movement and unselfishness.
“We just have to do a much better job of valuing the basketball.”
Kings rookie Ben McLemore had a good preseason debut 13 points and three rebounds in 24 minutes.
The Warriors’s Stephen Curry had 23 points and six assists and his brother, Seth, made his only two points on a buzzer-beater to end the game.
The Kings will play the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday in their annual preseason match-up in Las Vegas before playing their first home game on Monday against the Los Angeles Clippers.