Let’s be honest: There’s no way in hell the Kings should be losing to a team like the Hornets. Sacramento boasts a talented lineup, especially when compared to the Hornets injury-depleted, conference-worst roster. But here we are again, talking about an embarrassing loss in which the Kings lacked passion, effort and seemingly any interest in the basketball game. Letting New Orleans shoot 55.9 percent without three starters (Eric Gordon, Jarrett Jack, Trevor Ariza) is inexcusable. The Hornets withstood the Kings early run before outscoring Sacramento by 18 points in the middle frames and taking a 105-96 win.
COUSINS M.I.A. – DeMarcus Cousins was a total non-factor. One night after posting one of the better all-around games of his career in Dallas, Boogie laid an egg in New Orleans. You can only hope it was the rigors of the NBA grind because at times Cousins looked lost and appeared to be disinterested. 20 minutes, 3-of-12 shooting, just four boards, four turnovers and had two shots blocked. It was an ugly game from the Kings center and you can accept a few of those, if the effort is there. But it seemed like Cousins was out of it from the beginning.
T-WILL OVERTAKES I.T. – You never want to see Isaiah Thomas (21 MIN, 2 PTS, 1-5 FG, 7 AST) out of the game for an extended period, but tonight, it may have been somewhat justifiable. Terrence Williams (23 MIN, 16 PTS, 5-11 FG, 5 REB) was a force offensively off the Kings bench and earned his late playing time. T-Will had the jumper working, and it was good to see him show confidence and stay aggressive with it. The only possible move Keith Smart could have made was going super-small, playing Williams, Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton and Jason Thompson, and replacing Chuck Hayes with Thomas. But with the Kings being beaten on the boards all night, it wasn’t feasible.
TRADE REVISITED – Marcus Thornton (25 PTS, 9-19 FG, 4 REB, 3 STL) returned to his home state and filled it up for the Kings. Early in the game, Thornton showed his passion for getting out in transition and taking it strong to the rack. Later, he found his shooting stroke. Meanwhile, Carl Landry, the player dealt to New Orleans for Thornton, came off the bench and played 21 below-average minutes. It was too bad it didn’t work out for Carl in Sacramento because he had such a great attitude and showed great promise. But the trade to get Thornton is one feather in the cap for Geoff Petrie, who otherwise has been fairly mediocre in the trade/free agent market in recent years.
OTHER OBSERVATIONS – Jimmer Fredette (23 MIN, 4 PTS, 1-5 FG, 3 REB, 2 TO) had no shooting touch. Four misses in five attempts, and most weren’t close … Tyreke Evans (39 MIN, 19 PTS, 7-15 FG, 8 AST, 5 REB) posted a nice stat line and finished with zero turnovers, but it would have been nice to see him perform better in the clutch when the Kings needed an igniter … The Kings brutal defense made Jason Smith look like a perennial all-star. 10-of-12 shooting for 22 points for the Hornets starting power forward … The Kings are currently the fourth-worst team in the NBA, for lottery purposes.