• The Kings got off to a solid start at the California Classic in Sacramento, defeating the Los Angeles Lakers 98-93 on Monday.

    The Kings got off to a sloppy start offensively, but it didn’t take long for the youngsters to get into the swing of things and make some big plays. No. 2 overall pick Marvin Bagley scored seven quick points out of the gate, including a 3-pointer and this monstrous throwdown:

    Sacramento came back down to earth after that, as the sloppy play returned and the Lakers built a 24-18 lead. Finding a rhythm on offense can take time, especially in summer league, and that was certainly the case with the Kings in the first quarter.

    The Lakers built a 12-point lead early in the second quarter, but the Kings’ offense managed to settle down and make some plays. Defensively they made some adjustments, too, led by former West Virginia product Daxter Miles Jr., who played great defense on Josh Hart.

    The Kings cut the deficit to 54-48 at halftime, and it would have been closer had Hart not hit a buzzer-beating three. Bagley had nine points to lead the Kings, while Harry Giles had seven. Giles displayed some impressive defensive tendencies, both in the post and on the perimeter. His quick feet and long arms allows him to keep smaller players in front of him and that’ll be huge if it translates to the NBA.

    De’Aaron Fox took over on both ends in the third quarter. He was making shots all over the floor and was playing some pesky defense on the other end. His lateral quickness is impressive and it’ll be a real asset come next season.

    Fox had 15 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals through three quarters, and helped the Kings tie it up at 67 heading into the fourth.

    After a shaky first half, Sacramento settled into the game nicely and looked solid in the second half. They had the superior talent in this game and they were able to take over accordingly. Second-year players Fox and Frank Mason got better as the game went on, and Bagley and Giles had good first outings, too. It wasn’t a comfortable victory by any stretch, but a summer league win will be satisfying for the team regardless.

    Fox finished with 23 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals on 9-of-15 shooting for Sacramento. As was noted when the California Classic roster was announced, Fox will not play in Las Vegas, so he’ll likely be playing heavy minutes over the next few days.

    Bagley totaled 18 points, six rebounds and three blocks on 6-of-11 shooting (1-of-2 3PT). His biggest knock coming out of college was his defense but he did an admirable job tonight. Blocked shots don’t always signify a good defensive player but he moved his feet well and showed some upside there. Bagley got knocked around when backing down players on offense and that’s slightly concerning, but we’ll take everything as a grain of salt at this stage.

    Giles posted 13 points, three rebounds, one steal and one block in 25 minutes of work. He shot 6-of-10 from the field and hit a 3-pointer, too. He played with energy on both ends and displayed a smooth looking jumper. It’ll be interesting to see how much he actually plays out on the perimeter once the regular season rolls around, but having that in his arsenal would only lead to good things.

    Mason had a great second half to finish with 16 points, two rebounds, nine assists and two steals. He shot 4-of-7 overall and 2-of-3 from deep. Mason’s two 3-pointers both came in the fourth quarter and they were contested looks over much bigger players. They were shots you don’t ideally want him to take, but he made them so you can’t complain too much there. Mason’s nine assists were a game-high, and he turned the ball over just twice.

    Finally, Justin Jackson didn’t have a promising outing for the Kings. He played 32 minutes and scored just five points on 2-of-6 shooting. With a gaping hole at small forward, playing time is up for grabs and nothing is guaranteed for Jackson. There’s nothing stopping the team from bringing in a guy to start at small forward, and they might just do so if Jackson can’t find some consistency.

    Sacramento will be back in action tomorrow night against the Golden State Warriors at 8 pm PST.

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