Well, the Kings did everything they could to lose this one. In a typical track meet between these two teams, it was Sacramento who sprinted out to a double digit lead in the second half. However, the Kings went flat. The offense stopped moving, the defense fell asleep and the Warriors reserves evened the score. Luckily in overtime, it was Sacramento who made it happen. Clutch/lucky shots by DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans and questionable Golden State personnel moves helped the Kings nab a 114-106 win.
SMART’S DISAPPEARING ACT – Sorry, but even with the win, Keith Smart does not get a pass for this one. The coach seemed to lose a handle on his team as Golden State stormed back late in the game. What worked for the offense — namely Marcus Thornton — was suddenly being neglected, and guys like Travis Outlaw and Chuck Hayes were all of a sudden getting significant run with the lead melting away. Smart needed to assert himself, get the team into some sets and stop the bleeding. Defensively on the final possession of regulation, Smart said he told the guys not to leave outside shooters, so you can’t pin the Klay Thompson corner three on coaching. But for the offensive disorganization, he deserves blame, and he got bailed out tonight by some solid overtime shooting.
BIG MAN PRODUCTION – The combined stat line for the Kings PF/C combo, Cousins and Jason Thompson, is unbelievable: 36 points and 36 rebounds. The 36 boards equaled the output of the entire Golden State team. Did not feel like Cousins had a particularly strong game — lots of sloppy possessions, forced shots and unnecessary fouls — but Boogie battled. He didn’t take plays off, fought for every loose ball and unlike last year, he kept his cool when calls didn’t go his way. What more can be said about JT? Just someone who has become Mr. Reliable this season. So many key rebounds or tap-backs that gave the Kings extra possessions. And when a basket is needed, Thompson is finishing around the basket, which was the biggest weakness in his game through his first three seasons. The Kings twin towers are becoming quite the duo, two real battlers who are a joy to watch.
THE ENERGY OF JOHN SALMONS – Put aside the fact that John Salmons (14 PTS, 6 AST, 3 REB, 5 STL) is actually making some shots here in the last two games. His energy level has reached uncharted levels. Maybe his rediscovered shooting touch is sparking the rest of his game, but it’s so refreshing to see the guy actually hustling. He spent much of the game chasing around the quick guards of the Warriors and every time they caught the ball, it seemed Salmons was in their hip pocket. Salmons was an absolute zombie through the season’s first month, and he deserved all the criticism he received. The last two games he’s been a huge part of team wins on both ends of the court.
OTHER OBSERVATIONS – Thornton went nuts in the third quarter and finished with a team-high 28 points … Curry and Ellis sat for much of the fourth quarter, then returned for overtime and did nothing while the team that brought Golden State back sat and watched … Tyreke (26 PTS, 9 AST, 4 REB, 3 STL) had some lapses defensively but all in all, he made some pretty huge shots, none bigger than the final dagger three-pointer with the shot clock winding down … The Warriors shot 16-for-29 from downtown, which kept them in the game.