The spectacle that is the Miami Heat made its annual trip into Sacramento on Saturday night, and the result for the Kings was as to be expected. Sacramento fell into an early hole and a clear discrepancy in talent took a comeback out of the picture. Fans were treated to some pretty plays by the Heat, but they didn’t get a competitive performance from the home squad. The Heat cruised to an easy 128-99 win, snapping a two-game losing skid.
SMOKING CHALMERS – The Heat were scorching from downtown, and point guard Mario Chalmers led the way. As a team, Miami connected on 17-of-37 from three-point land, and Chalmers contributed 10 made triples. It was truly a dominating performance from an unexpected source. The Kings were no slouches from the perimeter, hitting on 50 percent of their attempts for three (9-of-18). But it seemed like every loose ball, every penetrating move, every rebound ended up with the ball in the hands of a Heat player behind the arc. And for the most part, they converted these chances.
THE WADE-LEBRON SHOW – As two of the best open court players in NBA history, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are always a load for opposing defenses. The Kings proved to be no match for the duo. James and Wade got out onto the break seemingly at will, turning every turnover or defensive rebound into a quick opportunity on the other end. The pair only needed to attempt a total of 15 shots in this one, but a majority of these were at the rim. James made the Kings defense look silly on more than one occasion, simply overpowering helpless defenders.
ISAIAH SHOWS OUT – The one Kings player who brought his A-game was Isaiah Thomas. Thomas (33 MIN, 34 PTS, 13-22 FG, 6-8 3FG, 5 AST, 3 TO, 2 REB, 1 STL) was clearly motivated by a chance to play against the defending NBA champs. Sacramento’s point guard focused on attacking the basket in the first half, testing a stout Miami defense. In the second half, Thomas caught fire from the perimeter, burying four triples alone in the final two minutes of the third quarter. The game was well out of reach, but it was still encouraging to see Thomas find his offense. He’s had an up-and-down season, and the Kings really rely on him to set the tone for the team.
OTHER OBSERVATIONS – There’s still no semblance of a rotation plan in the backcourt. With Aaron Brooks out with the flu, reserves Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton and Jimmer Fredette all ended up playing more minutes than starter Francisco Garcia … Evans (25 MIN, 8 PTS, 2-9 FG, 7 REB, 2 AST, 3 TO) had a particularly hard time finishing at the basket against the Heat’s tough defense … Thornton (21 MIN, 5 PTS, 2-8 FG, 1-4 3FG) made his first shot and appeared aggressive in the first half. You were hopeful he was getting his legs back, but he faded, making just one of his final seven attempts … DeMarcus Cousins (33 MIN, 11 PTS, 4-11 FG, 8 REB, 4 AST, 3 TO) was ineffective. It seemed like he would have been better off relying on his jumper, rather than force the issue in the paint. He had two shots blocked and missed seven of 11 attempts.