These Kings really make you wanna put your fist through a wall sometimes. So much talent, so many positive aspects to their play, but yet at the end of games, they just fritter it away. Like most battles with their NorCal rivals, this game featured lots of offense and an equal amount of sloppy play. The Kings withstood blistering Golden State shooting in the first half and were right there at the end. But then the old Sacramento reared its ugly head, and the Warriors escaped with a 111-108 victory.
BLUNDERS GALORE – Let’s see…how many mistakes could the Kings pack into the final minute? You’d swear the team misplaced their brains at the end of the game. The team runs two plays where they pass to a slashing Chuck Hayes…why? John Salmons the sleepwalker gets caught in the air and gives the ball away, then follows it up by reacting slowly to a loose ball right in front of him on the other end. New King Terrence Williams (7 MIN, 5 PTS, 2 REB, 2 TO) makes a great block on one end, then totally botches the fast break. An unmolested Isaiah Thomas (12 PTS, 5 AST) dribbles the ball out of bounds. And DeMarcus Cousins evidently forgets which basket to defend, allowing the nail-in-the-coffin layup. It was a disgusting display to be honest, but we’ve become so used to seeing it that you’re almost numb to it. You lose these games by three points or less and can point to at least a half dozen stupid plays down the stretch. It can’t continue.
BACK TO THE ROTATIONS – Coach, coach, coach…I’m a fan. But can we please get some order in our rotations? Yes, the defensive unit the Kings employed in the fourth quarter was strong, but that doesn’t justify leaving Thomas or Marcus Thornton (16 PTS, 5 REB, 2 AST) on the bench until just two minutes remain in the game. Keith Smart has said that he doesn’t like to bring guys in cold after they’ve been sitting for long stretches. If that’s the case, he waited way too long to bring back the Kings starting guards. A possibly cold Thornton missed his only three-point attempt after returning, and Thomas had the costly dribbling turnover with the game on the line. Francisco Garcia (17 MIN, 4 PTS, 2-7 FG) could have been benched and Terrence Williams, as much as I enjoy seeing new players get a chance, probably should have been replaced for someone more comfortable with the team.
SPEAKING OF T-WILL – It was an interesting spot to give Williams his first minutes with the team, as Smart debuted the Kings new swing man in the fourth quarter. Williams provided a mixed bag. He clearly is an elite athlete and defensively, he proved he could stay in front of Klay Thompson, who had killed the Kings all night. But offensively, he ran into problems, and it’s understandable for a guy making his first appearance. Williams was aggressive, especially taking the ball to the basket. He missed one perimeter shot and turned the ball over twice. Williams is an intriguing guy to take a look at, but it’s hard to determine a role for him. The Kings have eight guys capable of playing the swing spots, and Williams will have to work hard to establish himself.
OTHER OBSERVATIONS – Salmons (17 PTS, 7-12 FG, 6 REB) played well outside of his late-game brain farts. Maybe should have stepped up more down the stretch … DeMarcus Cousins (28 PTS, 18 REB, 5 AST, 3 BLK) was a load for the Warriors all night and really excelled across the board. But he had some mental lapses (some blatant goaltends and the poor defense at the end) that proved to be costly … Solid first-half stint from Hassan Whiteside. Nice rejection and a strong post move that showed how much he’s been working on his game. Great to see progress from Hassan … No Jimmer tonight. Not sure why.