As the Kings hot streak ended, the Sacramento hot weather began and I must say that I was not ready for either of these things to happen. I was enjoying the winning streak and the three whole days of spring weather. And then, as always, it all ended too soon and the first hot Sacramento day arrived and I was NOT feelin' it. So I was really counting on the Kings tonight to turn this gal's frown upside down. Let's see how they did:
Outcome: Kings lose, 115-94
Sacramento Kings: 94 PTS, 42.4% FG, 28.6% 3 PT, 75.0% FT, 24 AST, 14 TO
Los Angeles Lakers: 115 PTS, 47.8% FG, 51.5% 3 PT, 60.0% FT, 26 AST, 17 TO
This gal's face hurts from frowning. Once again, Will was right - De'Aaron Fox had another tough night (12 points on 5-20 from the field) and the Kings fell in line right behind him. Through four quarters, the Kings looked sluggish, apathetic, and unmotivated. In a game where a win could have tied them for the 10th seed, the Kings couldn't have looked any less enthused about the opportunity.
The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
- Delon was the Wright Move: I don't know a single soul on this planet who criticized Monte McNair's move in acquiring Delon Wright at the cost of Cory Joseph. But just in case, Delon continues to expand our understanding of his value as he had 13 points off the bench and was one of the few consistent sparks for the Kings. Most encouraging is his comfort from the 3-point line as he knocked down three of his four attempts tonight.
- Box Out, Bozos: It's difficult to put into words how infuriating it is for me to watch the Kings give up four possessions in a row on the glass simply because they don't feel like boxing out. The Kings allowed the Lakers 12 offensive rebounds tonight and each one felt like a stab in my back since I constantly yell at them to box out. Why they don't listen to me, I will never understand. Time after time we saw the Kings forget to put in the fundamental effort of finding a body and boxing out to close out a defensive possession. Instead, on the rare occasion of a Lakers' miss, the Kings allowed them to keep trying until they eventually got the bucket.
- First Quarter: Tonight's matchup started out with some promising action as we saw the Kings execute a set play right off the bat for an explosive Richaun Holmes' slam. But the fun quickly ended as some of the ugliest basketball ensued immediately after. Both teams came out frantic and sloppy as we saw a total of 11 combined turnovers in the first 12 minutes. Although the Lakers committed the majority of these (7), they still managed to control the pace of the game and end the quarter with a two-point advantage. While the Lakers worked out the kinks and found their stride midway through the quarter, the Kings continued to flail before getting a spark from their bench.
- Second, Third, & Fourth Quarters: The first quarter felt especially ugly, since both teams looked like they had never played before. But the Lakers quickly remembered how to do their jobs while the Kings remained in bed hitting the snooze button for the ninth time in a row. Early on, the Kings were stunted by the Lakers' defensive pressure and forced into tough shots. This shows in Richaun's line from tonight as he shot 4-10 (40.0%) from the field, far below his usual accuracy. His push shot looks were more contested than usual and he was met aggressively at the rim by Montrezl Harrell and Marc Gasol on his drives. Later, the Kings just couldn't put the ball in the basket as they shot 10-35 from deep. On the other end, the Lakers enjoyed 48 minutes of wide open 3s as they knocked down an aggressively rude 17-33. I officially gave up on this game when Elmer Fudd (known on the streets as Alex Caruso) put up a SportsCenter poster in the third quarter. Even without their superstars tonight, the Lakers proved that defense can still win basketball games, especially when you're playing the Sacramento Kings.
The King of Kings
Sifting through all the garbage from this game, we can find one treasure in the resiliency of Harrison Barnes. As tonight's King of Kings, Harrison was the only one of the Kings' starters that showed up tonight, finishing with 26 points on 9-10 shooting. The Kings will need Harrison to spread this fight to the rest of the team because things aren't getting any easier from here.
Saturday, April 3rd vs. Milwaukee Bucks - 7:00 P.M. (PT)