The San Diego Kings start the 2019-20 Season right with a 113-112 victory over the Phoenix Valley Outlaws in the Season Opener of the ABA’s 2019-20 Campaign.
Captain Manny Perez led the Kings with 21 Points and 9 Rebounds, hitting ¾ from beyond the arc. The Kings controlled the tempo early by forcing turnovers and converting in transition allowing them to jump out to an 11-2 led by two smooth pull-up jumpers from Braxton Smith and a timely 3 from Damian Elam. But the Outlaws started to heat up and eventually regained the lead 26-25 to end the first quarter. The Second Quarter is where the Kings started to separate themselves. You saw a lot of the bench for the Kings create that separation, led by guard Ray Williams who finished the night with 10 points and 4 Steals.
"It’s important for us to get out and run,” Williams said. “It suits our team better, but if we need to slow it down, we can because we have good Point Guards that have high basketball IQ’s and will run offense to get us the best shot on the floor.”
Big man Markus Bell scored 6 of his 10 points in the second, dunking on a defender in the post off a nice pass from Williams and ripping the ball from an Outlaw player to take it coast-to-coast for another dunk. The Kings got 51 points out of their bench and were able to mix and match their lineups to keep their momentum going throughout the Second and Third Quarter. First-year assistant Rod Cooksey said this year’s bench is as good as its ever been for the Franchise. “We have a really deep bench and it was very big to see players come in and contribute for the entire
game,” Cooksey said. “Our bench guys rose to the occasion tonight and that’s encouraging to see.”
The Kings went into the Fourth with a 16-point lead, but sloppy possessions on offense created more opportunities for the Outlaws to get in transition and force foul calls on the Kings. The 16-point lead that the Kings had in the beginning of the fourth was now cut to 2 with 2:05 left in the Fourth. Second Year Swingman scored 4 of his 9 points in the last two minutes and two clutch free throws from Elam helped secure a 113-109 lead. But an Outlaw hit a buzzer-beater 3 to make it a 113-112 win for the San Diego Kings. “We lost the lead because of careless turnovers and not sustaining our level of intensity.” Said Cooksey. “It has to be better next game.”
By Damon Sloan