A call to all tank enthusiasts out there: are you having fun yet? It doesn't get much tank-ier than this. If a 49-point loss to an injured Utah Jazz team isn't enough for you, then you are impossible to please! Whether you are pro- or anti-tank, we have now come upon a game that erases this divide and unites us all. No matter how dire the situation, we can all agree that a day where the Sacramento Kings beat the Los Angeles Lakers is a damn good day. And, in finding the thinnest of silver linings, a day where they don't just puts more fuel in the tank to get us to lottery day. So let's see how they did:
Outcome: Kings win, 110-106
Sacramento Kings: 110 PTS, 45.3% FG, 36.4% 3 PT, 90.9% FT, 29 AST, 17 TO
Los Angeles Lakers: 106 PTS, 50.6% FG, 25.0% 3 PT, 71.4% FT, 24 AST, 21 TO
It's a damn good day!!! I don't care what anyone says - there is still a deep rivalry between these two teams, even if it only resides in the darkest crevice of my own heart. The Kings finished with seven players in double digits and held LeBron James to 16 points to make my Friday night one to celebrate.
The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
- The BIGS: Richaun Holmes. Chimezie Metu. Damian Jones. I want to take all of their collective energy, somehow infuse it into some of Morgan Ragan's crystals, and pack those into every locker room the Kings walk into. We are used to Richaun leaving his heart on the floor every night - he finished with 22 points and nine rebounds. Chimezie left the game after a scary fall in the second quarter, but spent his 13 minutes venting out his frustrations from Wednesday's loss. From the start, Chimezie looked confident, aggressive, and undeterred by his matchup against Anthony Davis. He finished with 10 points and one big put back slam that we've all come to love from him. Damian brought even more fearless energy as he tried to murder everyone who got in his way when attacking the rim. He was also active on the offensive board, staying active and getting tips to get the Kings extra possessions. Marvin Bagley III also contributed an efficient 11 points in his first game back. The bigs came up big in body, energy, and physicality for the Kings tonight.
- Hali + Holmes Hype: The two-man game between Tyrese Haliburton and Richaun Holmes is my favorite movie and I could watch it on an endless loop for the rest of my life. Tyrese is so exceptionally crafty at finding his bigs on penetrations, often sending lobs up across his body. Tonight, Richaun was on the receiving end of a handful of these lobs and as usual, finished the play with an emphatic slam or athletic lay-in. This combo play was the go-to offense down the stretch for the Kings and was just enough to secure them the W.
- Embracing the Flames: After spending a long Wednesday night burning in basketball hell, the Kings could have easily smoldered. Instead, they embraced the flames and used this fire to fuel them to a win tonight. Despite various mistakes and trailing for most of the game, the Kings never quit. They fought their way back and it felt pretty damn good to NOT be the team looking visibly deflated and giving up on plays.
- Comparison is the Thief of Joy: When it mattered most, the Kings came up with some big defensive stops. They deserve credit for that. But through the middle stretch of the game, it was hard not to compare the defensive differences between these two teams. The Lakers disrupted the Kings' offense by being both positionally sound and scrappy as they forced the Kings into 17 turnovers. On the other hand, the Kings still showed a consistent lack of defensive awareness and rotation, often gifting the Lakers open rolls right to the rim.
- First Quarter Closeout: Like we've seen so many times before, the Kings came out surprisingly well. Matched with the fact that the Lakers came out unusually sluggish, the Kings managed to gain a 15-point lead with one minute remaining in the quarter. However, LeBron James decided he wasn't getting embarrassed in his first game back and the Kings laid out the carpet for him to cut this lead in half in the final 60 seconds of the quarter. In the blink of an eye, the Kings transformed what felt like an impressive defensive quarter into just a seven-point lead and a momentum swing in the Lakers' favor. Their inability to close out the final minute tainted their best quarter with an ugly ending.
The King of Kings
For the first time in a long time, this was a hard pick. A lot of guys did a lot of good things tonight. Delon Wright and Terence Davis hit some big shots off the bench and Damian Jones brought a contagious energy every time he was on the court. But I would be remiss if I didn't give this crown to Tyrese Haliburton. Logging another double-double (23 points, 10 assists), Tyrese has continued to surpass every expectation of him. He hit 4-8 from deep (even though the shot wouldn't translate) and was the key playmaker throughout the game. He was even given the respect of full-court denial by Dennis Schroder in the fourth quarter where he still managed to cash in on four points and three assists.
Sunday, May 2nd @ Dallas Mavericks - 5:00 P.M. (PT)