At least this one had moments of entertainment value, but in the end, it was the same old story for the Sacramento Kings. After battling back from an awful start — a 38-18 scoring advantage for Indiana in the second quarter alone — the Kings managed to force extra time. But the offensive troubles reared their ugly head yet again, and it was the Pacers who escaped with a 106-98 win in double overtime.
SWEET STENCH OF BAD OFFENSE – It was a third straight game of garbage offense from the Kings. Even as they battled back from the early hole, you never got the sense that their offense was smooth or coming around. It reached a breaking point in overtime when things completely fell apart. Reminiscent of last season, the Kings turned to isolation ball. Despite their poor production, Tyreke Evans (44 MIN, 14 PTS, 5-15 FG, 9 REB, 4 AST, 4 TO) and DeMarcus Cousins got nearly all the touches, while Marcus Thornton, who had already buried multiple triples to keep them in the game, was shunned. It makes no sense. Keith Smart has got to be more vocal. And if he’s OK with how things are going, he’s not the right man for the job. The Kings scored a total of seven points in the two overtime periods — that’s atrocious.
COUSINS’ LACK OF IMPROVEMENT – Three games in and it’s hard to see much improvement from DeMarcus Cousins (42 MIN, 21 PTS, 9-27 FG, 3-6 FT, 13 REB, 4 STL) on offense. It’s a small sample size, but Cousins was nowhere to be found for a Kings team that desperately needed baskets. He certainly was given plenty of chances but his lack of post moves was clearly evident. Cousins had no way to beat the much bigger Roy Hibbert. We know he can hit a 15-foot jumper but the Kings will need him to score at the rim. Sacramento is devoid of post scoring, and when they’re not hitting jumpers (which is often), it’s on Cousins to provide the interior lift.
PRAISING CHUCK HAYES – That was arguably Chuck Hayes’ finest game as a Sacramento King, and Sac’s big man was one of the few positives in an otherwise ugly game. Hayes (34 MIN, 2 PTS, 1-2 FG, 6 REB, 4 AST, 3 BLK) took on the challenge of guarding David West and did a great job staying in front and contesting every shot. On offense, Hayes had three gorgeous passes to set up big baskets, one coming in the closing seconds of regulation for a Thornton long ball. More importantly, the successful dishes didn’t entice him to throw his typical careless passes. He protected the ball and was actually an asset on the floor.
OTHER OBSERVATIONS – Saturday marked the return of “Buckets” Thornton (42 MIN, 26 PTS, 9-21 FG, 4-10 3FG, 6 REB, 4 AST, 2 STL). A great sign for Sacramento; you can’t keep him off the floor for long because he’s the Kings biggest shot maker … The second half primarily featured a lineup with Cousins, Hayes, Evans, Thornton and Aaron Brooks running the point. Brooks (35 MIN, 11 PTS, 4-11 FG, 3-7 3FG, 5 REB, 2 AST, 2 TO) provided mixed results with seemingly an equal amount of made shots as errant passes down the stretch … Thomas Robinson’s 11:39 stint included a brief run at small forward that ended quickly when he fired a 20-foot airball. That said, it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see Robinson (9 PTS, 3-6 FG, 2 STL) move into the lineup soon (couple weeks?). Smart may soon be looking for an energy boost and Jason Thompson’s (24 MIN, 4 PTS, 2 REB, 3 BLK) starting spot is really the only one up for grabs.