One of those nights that just makes you proud to be a Sacramento Kings fan.
Anytime the city comes together, from the politicians, to the former stars, to the Twitter universe, to the families in the nosebleeds, it just adds such a special vibe to the game. ARCO was clearly rocking for this one, and that trickles to the court. Bryan wrote a great piece about the enormity of this night yesterday, and the result surely didn’t disappoint.
Against a team as good the Thunder, it takes a Herculean effort from every man who steps on the court. And the Kings got that.
Start it at the top with DeMarcus Cousins. Taking on four Thunder for a rebound. Corraling wayward passes and finishing. The big man had plenty of chances to lose his cool — Serge Ibaka was volleyball spiking nearly every shot in the paint, the game was as physical as they come and DMC picked up three quick fouls. These things would have buried the old DeMarcus. But the new Cousins has thick skin. He shurgged off the difficulties and saved his best plays for the end. His rebound and subsequent free throws in the closing seconds iced the game and sent the crowd into mayhem. If he stays on the path he’s currently on, we’re looking at one of the top 20 players in the NBA in a couple years.
Tyreke Evans can be the point guard of this team. I am convinced of that. Evans has become so much better with his floor awareness and when he gets it in his head that he’s taking it to the rack, try to stop him. Reke is so clever with the rock. Against OKC, Tyreke had to get creative to avoid Ibaka. So he pulled out his best Euro steps, ball fakes, reverses and dips to continually lead the Kings back when it looked like the Thunder would finally pull away.
Keep going down the line. Jason Thompson was the Kings best player in the first half, delivering his now typical A+ effort and newfound calm demeanor on offense. John Salmons had his moments, shadowing Kevin Durant the best he could and knocking in some key shots. Marcus Thornton went from being the reason the Kings might lose the game due to his silent night to being one of the game’s biggest heroes, burying two crucial long balls in the final minutes. Jimmer stroking a long ball. Donte fouling out Ibaka and pestering Durant. Isaiah providing the on-ball defense and bursts of offense. Chuck Hayes finding some offense in the first half with DMC in foul trouble. You couldn’t find fault with one guy out there today. This game showed what kind of team we could have with a little seasoning.
The only hope is that we put together some more of these #HereWeStay, #Blackout nights. There is nothing like being inside ARCO — or watching on TV, for that matter — when the place is ROCKING. No other feeling in sports. When something amazing happens on the floor, and you think the roof might pop off. That’s SACRAMENTO Kings basketball. No way we can lose this team.