From the high of last night’s tough road win in Utah to tonight’s complete embarrassment against one of the NBA’s worst. Such is the season for the Sacramento Kings. Whatever you want to attribute it to — fatigue, playing down to your competition — it stinks. The Nets are a crummy basketball team with talent clearly inferior to that of the Kings. But there New Jersey was, taking it to the Kings in nearly every facet of the game. The result was a disgusting 111-99 loss for the Kings.
SECOND UNIT FAIL – Let’s face it: The second unit has generally been garbage of late. The fingers of blame get pointed at the weak frontline of Chuck Hayes and Donte Greene and the complete disappearance of Francisco Garcia. I hate to harp on the Hayes factor, but seriously, the guy is bringing zero to the table right now. Against New Jersey, it literally was zero: 0-3 shooting, zero points, zero assists, zero rebounds, two turnovers. Hayes makes up a suddenly small bench frontline, joined by Donte Greene or Travis Outlaw. And that combo is getting the Kings killed on the boards. Meanwhile from the outside, the Kings lack scoring punch. Since his injury, Cisco has been terrible. After a 1-for-3 performance against the Nets, Garcia is just 5-for-21 in six games since returning. No consistent shot-making and terrible inside play makes the second unit a disaster right now.
DROOPY DMC – Last night’s hard-fought battle with Al Jefferson clearly took its toll on DeMarcus Cousins (27 MIN, 14 PTS, 4-12 FG, 9 REB, 2 BLK). The Kings big man was a step slow all night and appeared winded during his 27 minute stint. Say what you want about Kris Humphries, but the guy is a scrappy player who knows how to rebound. He did a solid job of disrupting Cousins in the paint, and even the much-maligned Johan Petro provided seven-feet of resistance. Keith Smart clearly recognized Cousins’ struggles, as DMC was on the bench for much of the fourth quarter with the game basically out of hand. With Cousins fatigued and the bench big men failing, the Nets had their way with Sacramento under the basket.
TWO COME TO PLAY – The Kings made it interesting for about five minutes in the fourth quarter, and it was thanks to the efforts of Tyreke Evans (35 MIN, 23 PTS, 9-15 FG, 6 REB, 5 AST, 4 STL, 4 TO) and Terrence Williams (23 MIN, 8 PTS, 4-9 FG, 3 AST). Really the two guys you couldn’t quarrel with on the night. Evans re-entered the game with 10:27 left and Sac down 12, and he immediately looked to push the tempo and ignite a flat team. Evans scored 10 points through the end of the game, attacking the rim as well as setting up teammates for open looks (if only they could make a shot). Terrence Williams, fresh off his now full-season contract, played another solid game off the Kings bench. T-Will can play a similar game to Reke: strong defender, more comfortable attacking the rim, willing to set up teammates, aggressive on the boards. Williams contributed some great plays in the paint and got the crowd back in it with a sweet steal, fastbreak and dish to Garcia for the layup. Williams and Evans took turns swooping a rebound and driving it the length of the court. Some help from one other person may have been enough to come back against New Jersey.
OTHER OBSERVATIONS – Travis Outlaw (2 PTS, 1-3 FG, 2 BLK) had a dreadful nine-minute shift. Fumbled away rebounds, easy passes, still cannot consistently make shots and watched rebounds drop into the Nets hands despite his presence as the team’s “power forward” … Marcus Thornton (32 MIN, 13 PTS, 5-11 FG, 8 REB) continued to be a rebounding machine but stayed relatively quiet on offense. The 11 shot attempts were his lowest total since March 14 … Isaiah Thomas (25 MIN, 11 PTS, 4-9 FG, 6 AST, 3 REB) again found himself at the mercy of Keith Smart’s untraditional rotations. The Kings sparkplug was a non-factor down the stretch … The Kings made just 3-of-17 from downtown. Nets sharpshooter Anthony Morrow doubled that alone, nailing six triples.