Queta, Ford lead Sacramento Kings to win in Las Vegas Summer League opener
Jul 7, 2023, 10:06 PM | Updated: 10:13 pm
(Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images)
Even during Summer League, the Sacramento Kings have a knack for pulling out close games.
Sacramento picked up an 80-76 win over the Atlanta Hawks during Friday’s NBA 2K24 Summer League opener in Las Vegas, Nevada to begin another push for a Summer League crown.
The Kings received contributions from multiple players on Friday, but center Neemias Queta and local product Jordan Ford took over in the fourth quarter to help Sacramento put things away late.
Although the Hawks opened up the fourth quarter on a 12-o run, the Kings answered right back with a 12-0 run of its own–with Queta scoring nine-straight points during that run–to regain the lead for good.
Neemy out here playin bully ball 💪
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) July 8, 2023
Sacramento’s offense took some time to find its footing without reigning All-Rookie First Team forward Keegan Murray, as the Kings shot just 28 percent from the field and 13 percent (two-of-15) from three-point land during the first half.
While the offense was non-existent, you couldn’t knock Sacramento for its defensive effort early as they held Atlanta to 28 percent shooting from the field and 16 percent from deep over the first two quarters while swiping six steals and forcing 15 turnovers.
Thanks to Ford’s offensive awakening in the second half, the Kings mounted a nine-point lead as play neared the fourth quarter. Atlanta punched back to make it a five-point game entering the final period, setting the stage for a close finish at Cox Pavilion.
Ford’s impact late in the game helped reignite the Sacramento offense, which was a welcome sight following the 23-year-old last showing.
After scoring 18 points in Monday’s California Classic opener, Ford lost his stroke on Wednesday against Miami, scoring just two points on one-of-five shooting over 22 minutes.
Ford regained his offensive firepower on Friday the Folsom native scored 20 points on eight-of-14 shooting from the field and two-of-five from three-point land over 29 minutes, doing so in a variety of ways–fancy up-and-under lay-ins, fast-break scores, and step-back jumpers.
The high-scoring guard continued to solidly himself as a worthy candidate for Sacramento’s third-string point guard spot.
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) July 8, 2023
With Ford leading the charge and pushing the pace, Queta could operate out of the high-post in set offenses where he would find his teammates or go to the basket and attempt to score on Atlanta defenders.
Queta used his physicality to battle in the post against Hawks forward Mfiondu Kabengele, scoring 13 points to go along with 12 rebounds, three assists, and two steals over 27 minutes.
Sacramento’s passing wasn’t a positive during the win (13 assists against 14 turnovers), but Queta’s clutch assist to rookie guard Colby Jones acted as the final nail in the coffin for Atlanta.
Jones, who finished the night with 12 points on four-of-11 shooting while swiping two steals during his first start of the summer, drilled a triple off Queta’s cross-court dish that gave the Kings a six-point lead with less than two minutes to go.
Queta came through when Sacramento needed a difference maker during the game’s closing minutes, and the G-League MVP runner-up showcased why he could be in the market for a full NBA roster spot this summer.
Just in the last 5 minutes, the broadcasters have compared Neemias Queta to Shaq and Jokic… pic.twitter.com/gAGxxXFztG
— Chris Watkins (@ChrisMWatkins) July 8, 2023
It wasn’t a perfect Las Vegas debut for the Summer Kings, but a win is a win.
Sacramento’s defense was a positive as they forced Atlanta into 21 turnovers and held the Hawks’ offense to 33 percent shooting from the field and 29 percent from beyond the arc.
With Murray sidelined, Ford, Queta, and others needed to prove that they could win without the sharpshooting forward.
They got the job done and did so while handling a close-game situation late.
Rounding Out The Box Score
After missing all eight of his three-point attempts during the California Classic, Kessler Edwards found his stroke on Friday.
Edwards finished the night with 14 points on three-of-six shooting from three-point range while also blocking a shot over 26 minutes.
Keon Ellis stuffed the stat sheet for Sacramento, getting the job done on both ends of the floor. The second-year guard scored 11 points, grabbed five rebounds, handed out three assists, and swiped five steals over 26 minutes.
All five of the Kings’ starters finished in double-figures during the win.
Slawson ➡️ Ellis pic.twitter.com/evFlPc00qg
— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) July 8, 2023
Kings In The House
Members of the Sacramento Kings showed up in numbers on Friday night, as owner Vivek Ranadive and general manager Monte McNair sat courtside with several–and former–members of the roster.
Along with Ranadive and McNair, recently signed forwards Trey Lyles and Sasha Vezenkov joined Davion Mitchell, Kevin Huerter, Keegan Murray, and former Kings guard Matthew Dellavedova for Sacramento’s Las Vegas opener.
Head coach Mike Brown and associate head coach Jordi Fernandez were also in attendance at Cox Pavilion.
Sasha Vezenkov, Keegan Murray, Kevin Huerter, Davion Mitchell, Trey Lyles and former Kings PG Matthew Dellavedova in Vegas to watch the Kings summer league squad. pic.twitter.com/NBqiytAiDY
— Deuce Mason (@DeuceMason) July 8, 2023
Sacramento will take the weekend off before playing the first game of a back-to-back on Monday night.
The Kings will face the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday and the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday in what will likely be Sacramento’s lone back-to-back of the summer.
Be sure to get all of your Kings vs. Clippers coverage right here on Sactown Sports 1140 with live tweets, a postgame recap on the website following the game, and analysis the following morning on The Carmichael Dave Show with Jason Ross.
Sacramento Kings NBA 2K24 Las Vegas Summer League Schedule
- Monday, July 10th – Sacramento Kings vs. Los Angeles Clippers – 7:30 PM PST – NBA TV
- Tuesday, July 11th – Sacramento Kings vs. Chicago Bulls – 7:00 PM PST – ESPN 2
- Thursday, July 13th – Sacramento Kings vs. Minnesota Timberwolves – 6:30 PM PST – NBA TV
- Final game TBD based on performance in first four games
Sacramento Kings Offseason Schedule
- Thursday, July 6 – Free Agents can begin signing deals
- Friday, July 7 –Monday, July 17– NBA Summer League in Las Vegas
- August TBD – 2023-24 NBA regular season schedule release
- September TBD – Sacramento Kings training camp begins
- October TBD – Sacramento Kings preseason begins
- October TBD – NBA regular season begins