Ray McCallum hadn’t been a big-time scorer through six summer league games.
That changed Monday night.
McCallum scored a game-high 29 points, including nine in the pivotal fourth quarter as the Kings overcame an eight-point deficit to defeat the Houston Rockets 77-68 in the NBA Summer League championship game.
McCallum, the game’s MVP, had been praised throughout summer league for his willingness to run the team and allow his offense to take a back seat.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Sacramento Bee
But he saw the Kings needed a boost, and he provided it with a 9-of-15 shooting night and nine rebounds.
“There was a lot of times I did turn down some shots I could have shot,” McCallum said of previous games. “I watched a lot of film, and my mindset was just to be aggressive.”
That’s also been an emphasis for McCallum since his rookie season. The Kings don’t want him so worried about making a mistake that he becomes timid.
McCallum was looking to attack the Rockets at both ends of the floor.
“I’ve been saying that all along – offensive end, defensive, and (Monday) I just got in a rhythm, finding my spots, finding my shots, and my team needed it,” McCallum said. “I was just trying to find a way to score the ball, make plays and help us win the tournament.”
Ben McLemore struggled shooting most of the game but scored seven of his nine points in the fourth quarter to help the Kings complete a comeback after falling behind 58-50 with 7:20 to play.
McLemore missed eight of his first nine shots and finished 4 of 13 from the field.
“That’s perseverance, and that’s being resilient,” Kings head coach Michael Malone said of McLemore. “I think that he showed (that) during the season as well. He struggled at times, but he maintained his composure and kept on working hard and played better.”
Sacramento outscored the Rockets 13-3 over the final 2:53.
The Kings won six games in a row after losing their opener.
Ra’Shad James added 12 points off the bench for the Kings. Nik Stauskas, with 10 points, was the only other starter to score in double figures. Eric Moreland had 10 rebounds off the bench and blocked three shots.
Nick Johnson led Houston (5-3) with 17 points.