The Kings haven’t used a backcourt of Rajon Rondo and Darren Collison much during the preseason. But on Saturday night, coach George Karl started his top two point guards against the Portland Trail Blazers at Sleep Train Arena.
Collison had a team-high 18 points with seven rebounds and three assists in 33 minutes. Rondo registered four points and four assists in 21 minutes. Perhaps the most important statistic was the duo combined for just three turnovers in the Kings’ 94-90 win.
“We haven’t used it in training camp yet, either, just because we’ve been playing against each other more,” Karl said. “I can see it being very effective. I thought our ball pressure was better because of it. ... We’re turning the ball over at a high rate, but our defense is also creating a lot of turnovers, so that’s a good thing.”
3 Combined turnovers by Kings starting guards Rajon Rondo and Darren Collison
The Kings (3-1) had at least 21 turnovers in each of their first three preseason outings but had just 13 Saturday.
That, along with 16 points and seven rebounds from center DeMarcus Cousins, helped the Kings get by the Blazers (1-2), who rested star point guard Damian Lillard. C.J. McCollum had 30 points in Lillard’s place.
Forward Rudy Gay was given the game off, so Caron Butler started and scored four points in 16 minutes.
Karl used different reserves for extended minutes Saturday. Seth Curry played 16 minutes and Quincy Acy 21, helping the Kings close out the game in the fourth quarter.
Omri Casspi, who left Thursday’s game with flu-like symptoms, had 10 points, four rebounds and two assists off the bench.
“At the end of the game, we could’ve put our first unit back in and probably won the game easier, but it was fun to see our second unit do a good job,” Karl said. “They got the momentum going, created a lead and played well.”
Saturday’s was the last preseason game ever at Sleep Train. Sacramento will play the Los Angeles Lakers in Las Vegas on Tuesday and the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday in Lexington, Ky. The Kings are scheduled to move into the downtown Golden 1 Center next season.