For much of the game last night, the Kings looked out-talented and out-sized.
While the Hawks back-court tandem of Mike Bibby and Jamal Crawford wont be stopping anybody soon, both Josh Smith and Al Horford anchored the defense well, keeping the Kings out of the paint through the majority of three quarters – until the fourth quarter rolled around. Consistently down by an average of 13-20 points throughout most of the game, the Kings put their foot on the gas peddle late (also aided by a lax Hawk team with a large lead) in the third and into the fourth, putting up a 39 point quarter in the final period of play. Unfortunately for the Kings, they simply ran out of time once momentum had swung in their favor and ended up dropping the game by 6 thanks to some last moment free throws for Atlanta as the Kings attempted to extend the game.
It was a pretty poor showing for the Kings in the first half (and a good half of the third quarter), but, the team did a complete reversal and would have been in position to win the game had there been about 50 minutes of game time, not 48.
Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins both had quiet nights until each exploded in the fourth quarter, at one time, both players becoming unstoppable scoring 21 consecutive points for the Kings. Evans finished with an impressive 29/4/8 line to go with five steals and two blocks, while Cousins ended the night with 24 points, 7 boards, 2 assists, 2 steals, and a block. Omri Casspi also had a solid game, wrangling in 11 boards despite his 4 of 12 night from the floor.
From an injury standpoint, Beno Udrih clearly looked hobbled throughout the night and it showed in the box score – hopefully some extra rest will get him back to full strength. Tyreke Evans also admitted this morning that he had some issues with his feet Tuesday during shootaround but said it felt fine once game action began.
Despite the early blowout, it’s nice to see the Kings playing hard, fixing some of their mistakes and competing once again.