After trailing by as many as 15 early, the Kings turned up their defensive intensity and made a game of it during Monday’s Las Vegas Summer League action. The end result was a gritty 105-100 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.
Milton Doyle caught fire, scoring a team-high 22 points on 8-for-13 shooting from the field and 3-of-5 from long range. 18 of his points came in the fourth quarter as the Kings pulled away.
James continued his aggressive defensive play and added 10 points and two assists in 22 minutes. He needs to get stronger, but he’s looking more comfortable with each game.
Semaj Christon is making a case for a possible training camp invite, posting 15 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Big man Eric Mika chipped in 11 points, eight rebounds and a block.
Cameron Payne went off for Dallas, lighting the Kings up for 32 points on 7-for-12 shooting from behind the arc. He hit a series of 3-pointers during the fourth quarter to keep the Mavs in the game.
During halftime, Harrison Barnes, fresh off signing a new four-year, $85 million contract with the Kings, stopped by and spoke to NBATV’s Jared Greenberg about his decision to rejoin Sacramento.
“We’d been talking with the Kings and got feedback from around the league,” Barnes told Greenberg. “I felt that I could be able to add my defensive presence, I’ve been a proven scorer before and I’m really looking forward to just building with these young guys.”
Barnes isn’t the only Kings player in Las Vegas to support the Summer League squad. Newly signed Dewayne Dedmon, Cory Joseph and Trevor Ariza swapped off sitting courtside with general manager Vlade Divac. On Divac’s other side was Harry Giles, followed by Marvin Bagley, and Buddy Hield was in the gym as well.
In Vegas supporting the Summer League team. 👑 pic.twitter.com/NLoPdcFkkR— Vivek Ranadivé (@Vivek) July 8, 2019
“We just want to continue to build that culture of family,” Barnes said. “Letting these young guys who are here see that it’s not just you playing here in Summer League.”
The core group of players on the roster showed up in force during the California Classic in Sacramento last week. A team-first mentality is the focus of the franchise as they attempt to snap the franchise’s 13-year playoff drought.
As for the Kings' chances of building off last season’s 39-win season and possibly jumping into the postseason picture, Barnes seems confident.
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“We have a lot of guys with a lot to prove,” Barnes added. “We’re a group, a team, a city that’s excited to get the ball rolling and get to work as soon as possible.”
Barnes, along with free agent acquisitions Joseph, Dedmon and Ariza, are scheduled for an introductory press conference in Las Vegas on Monday afternoon. Center Richaun Holmes will not be in attendance, but plans to sign his new contract with the Kings at a later date.