So how about that second quarter, huh? After Monday’s momentous, last-second victory in Washington, you thought the Kings might come out with a little energy. But alas, it was the Sacramento team that has reared its ugly head far too often this season. And Wednesday’s game in Boston featured several bizarre plays, all seeming to come in the second quarter. A lead at the end of the first quarter quickly evaporated as the Kings went dumb. The Celtics trounced the Kings in second quarter, and it was smooth sailing from there, as Boston took a 99-81 victory.
SECOND QUARTER FROM HELL – Wow, that was bad, even by Kings standards. There was just a general lack of effort and propensity for making stupid decisions that was extremely disappointing. Things started snowballing and by the end of the quarter, you almost had to wonder if the Kings even cared. Trying to fling full court outlet passes through three defenders (DeMarcus Cousins), failing to get back on defense after a stoppage in play (Marcus Thornton), missing point blank two-footers (pick a player)…it was a meltdown. Sacramento’s defense afforded the Celtics countless open looks and they didn’t miss, literally. Boston made their first 14 shots in the quarter, and outscored the Kings 37-14 in the frame.
THE STRUGGLES OF COUSINS – Make that four straight duds for Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (33 MIN, 13 PTS, 4-12 FG, 5-8 FT, 6 REB, 4 AST, 5 TO) after Wednesday night. Based on his postgame comments Monday, he won’t take responsibility for his poor play. Interesting take, because I could have sworn that was DMC winging the ball all over the court without discretion, missing shots at the rim, getting down on himself and arguing with Jason Thompson on the court. While Cousins effort and production can’t be questioned too vigorously over the past two months, it’s clear he has a ways to go in the attitude department. Own up to your mistakes. This is a team-wide problem, and that includes Cousins.
WHO SHOWED UP – A couple of Kings kept fighting and helped Sacramento outscore the Celtics in the second half. Tyreke Evans (41 MIN, 19 PTS, 7-15 FG, 11 REB, 2 AST, 4 TO, 3 STL) was clearly not impressed with his team’s performance and shouldered the scoring load in the second half. Evans attacked the basket, and while he wasn’t always successful, you couldn’t question his motives as none of his running mates were viable weapons. Tyreke hit the glass and looked to push the ball off his own rebounding. Another Kings player who showed up was Thomas Robinson (21 MIN, 11 PTS, 4-5 FG, 4 REB, 2 TO), who continues to put forth the effort. Offensively, T-Rob showed off a sweet spin move and hovered around the hoop for some easy baskets. Defensively, he showed great instincts flashing on the pick and roll, and he’s quick enough to stick with guards in a pinch, coming away with a nice steal of Avery Bradley in the final seconds. Robinson is raw, but he’s starting to show some skills that can be developed.
OTHER OBSERVATIONS – Isaiah Thomas (24 MIN, 8 PTS, 2-10 FG, 3 REB, 1 AST, 3 STL) couldn’t build on his terrific game in Washington. He missed his first six shots and sat out the final 18 minutes … Jimmer Fredette (18 MIN, 2 PTS, 1-4 FG, 2 AST, 1 TO) relies on screens to get free but it doesn’t seem like that’s a point of emphasis when he’s on the floor. Seems like he’s having to work way too hard to get open … The Kings five-reserve lineup was again a nightmare in the awful second quarter. But by now, odds are that’s a fixture of Keith Smart’s coaching strategy … Quiet night from Francisco Garcia (21 MIN, 6 PTS, 2-6 FG, 2 REB, 3 TO), who started for the sick John Salmons.