I hate how important this game is. After getting embarrassed and outplayed by the Spurs on Wednesday, the Kings transformed tonight's game into one with a 'must win' feel. While the Thunder are not a threatening name on the schedule and are being fully carried on the back of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the Kings entered tonight's matchup on the hangover of a three-game losing streak. A fourth loss in a row to the Oklahoma City Thunder would feel like a new low for the season, stirring up reminiscent feelings of nine-game losing streaks from the recent past. In preparation for tonight's game, I snuck into Will's house and destroyed his Poku shrine, so I did my part, and it was really just up the Kings to do their job. Let's see how they did:
Outcome: Kings lose, 105-103
Sacramento Kings: 103 pts, 40.0% fg, 34.1% 3 pt, 76.5% ft, 20 ast, 49 reb, 13 to
Oklahoma City Thunder: 105 pts, 42.4% fg, 33.3% 3 pt, 73.3% ft, 13 ast, 52 reb, 10 to
I am struggling to find the words to begin right now. Here's a synopsis: both teams started out poorly, the Kings got an 18-point lead, the Kings kindly gave those points back to the Thunder throughout the fourth quarter, then the Kings had a chance to win in the final possession, but instead gave it right back to the Thunder so they could have the home court glory of pulling off a comeback for their fourth straight win. I am not okay.
The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
- Hella Hali Highlights: The only time I felt good during this game was when the ball was in Tyrese Haliburton's hands. His absence, both in the past two games and in the few breaks he got tonight, was glaringly obvious. He has become the sole engine that makes the Kings' offense go. Without him, the ball rarely touches the paint and shooters are forced into contested looks. Tyrese finished with eight points and seven assists with a handful of highlights created from two-man action with Richaun Holmes.
- Lazy Defense: Early on, it was like watching the Kings play against a mirror. Oklahoma City is currently ranked 29th in the league in points, averaging just 99.1 per game. Much like the Kings, their offense relies heavily on one on one action and simple on ball screens. And, much like the Kings, this kind of offense doesn't get you very far in this league. The difference tonight, however, was in the Kings' absolutely horrendous defense. Not only did they get out rebounded by this smaller Thunder team, they gave up a disgusting total of 16 offensive rebounds. And to who, you might ask? To Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Aleksej Pokusevski. Again, WHO?! It was a reoccurring play that the Thunder ran where Shai Gilgeous-Alexander or Lugentz Dort would easily blow by their defender, miss at the rim, and then let their teammates clean up the garbage that the Kings were too lazy to grab themselves. It's frustrating to see the Kings fail to do the little things (box out, rebound, take an ounce of pride in their man to man coverage) as if they can afford not to. If this isn't a wake up call that they are NOT good enough to fall asleep on the details, then I don't know what will be.
- The Basketball Game: I'm kind of emotionally spent at this point and I think we all get the picture. This was an ugly game.
The King of Kings
Richaun Holmes finished tonight with 16 points, 15 rebounds, and four blocks, on 7-9 from the field. I love to see him back to this level of production, I just wish I could appreciate it more.
Monday, November 15th @ Detroit Pistons - 4:00 P.M. (PT)