Ray McCallum is living by the creed that if he stays ready, he won’t have to get ready to play.
McCallum played only 9.8 seconds last Friday in Phoenix but was pivotal as he contested a three-point attempt by Isaiah Thomas at the end of regulation.
McCallum was in for a little more than that Tuesday as he backed up Ramon Sessions at point guard when the Kings played the Dallas Mavericks.
Sessions started for Darren Collison, who missed the game with stiffness in his left shoulder.
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Sessions has struggled with his shot to start the season, but the Kings have stayed with him as Collison’s primary backup. He was 6 of 9 from the floor and scored 18 points Tuesday.
McCallum is popular with fans after he showed he could play well at the end of his rookie season and was MVP of the Kings’ summer league championship game.
The Kings signed Sessions to a two-year deal worth $4.2 million the week before training camp, pushing McCallum down the depth chart.
When McCallum has played, the Kings have liked his defense, but he entered Tuesday averaging 5.4 minutes in five games.
“Mentally, physically I always have to be ready because you never know when your name might get called,” McCallum said. “I know they need me for defense so like I’ve always said, whatever the team needs me to do, when my name is called I’m going to go in there and compete and play my heart out and do whatever’s best for the team.”
McCallum played 12 minutes in relief of Sessions. He finished with three points and one assist.
“I feel like I have a good feel for the game,” McCallum said. “I’m sitting there watching the game constantly. I know the flow, I’ve seen what’s going on, so when I get there I have that understanding. Sometimes I might have to come in and be aggressive, but normally when I come in, I come in, play the right way and good things will happen… .
How much McCallum would even play Tuesday was uncertain until about 90 minutes before tipoff.
Before being ruled out, Collison tried to warm up to see if his shoulder would loosen up enough for him to play.
“Expect the unexpected, prepare and be ready,” McCallum said. “I always prepare myself before the game like I’m going to play.”
Moving up – Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki moved into ninth place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 8:56 to play in the fourth quarter.
Nowitzki entered the game needing 17 points to pass the 26,946 scored by Hakeem Olajuwon.
Nowitzki and the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant are the only active players in the top-10 all-time scoring list.
Brief appearance – Derrick Williams has fallen out of the rotation behind Omri Casspi as the backup to Rudy Gay but played for the first time in three games.
In 39 seconds, Williams was called for three fouls, all against Nowitzki. Williams also missed his only shot.