fbpx

Chicago 113, Sacramento 109: Fourth quarter meltdown dooms the Kings

Coby White is a Kings killer, as the Bulls' guard set a new career high while the Kings faltered in the fourth quarter on their way to another disappointing loss.
By | 81 Comments | Mar 4, 2024

Mar 4, 2024; Sacramento, California, USA; Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan (11) drives to the basket against the Sacramento Kings during the fourth quarter at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

SACRAMENTO — The Kings needed a closer. Instead, they watched a late lead slip away behind the efforts of DeMar DeRozan and Coby White, who led the short-handed Bulls to a 113-109 victory over Sacramento Monday night.

It gets old, doesn’t it, reading an injury report and assuming a Kings loss when their opponent is short handed? And as much as we might joke about such things, it’s happened enough to give credence to the problem.

“In our business, teams can go on a run, the script can flip like that, and before you know it, you’re in trouble,” Mike Brown said. “I am not sure if our guys took their foot off the gas, but I feel like we didn’t do what we should have done.”

Sacramento once again played with their food a bit, especially in the second quarter, though they closed the first two quarters at an impressive clip. A 19-3 run over the final five minutes of the first gave Sacramento a 36-22 lead, a 13-3 run to end a sloppy second quarter sent them into the half up 56-49, and they ran away from the Bulls with a blistering start to the third, out-scoring the visitors 25-12 through the first six minutes of the frame. Though the Bulls went on a run of their own, Sacramento was still up 91-77 after three.

The third quarter was also Sabonis time; after a slow scoring start in the first half, Domas dunked all over the Bulls in the third, scoring 12 of his 18 total points in less than eight minutes of floor time to secure his 43rd consecutive double-double. The 12 points including four dunks, as Sabonis got whatever he wanted in and around the painted area.

But things started to unravel at the end of the third, when Chris Duarte picked up a very unnecessary technical foul his team up 19 and 2:33 to play in the third.

That moment swung the momentum in a big way, according the Brown. “That shows you how quickly the momentum can swing in an NBA game. We were up, we pick up a T, and the momentum swings the other way.”

That was the beginning of a Bulls’ run that saw them score the next eight points as they clawed their way back into the game.

With the Kings up 91-79 and 10:53 to play, Sabonis went to the bench with his fifth foul. Mike Brown chose to go small, running out a lineup of Monk, Fox, Murray, Barnes, and Lyles that would mostly hold serve before Sabonis and Kevin Huerter re-entered the game with just over seven minutes to play. Trey Lyles had six straight points during the small ball run, but the rest of the offense sputtered during the nearly four minute stretch.

“Our ball containment wasn’t good in enough stretches, our turnovers were very costly for us tonight, and one of the tell tale signs for us that usually results in wins is the 50/50 balls. There were seven of them tonight and we came up with two of them,” Brown said.

Sacramento got back to an 11 point advantage with 6:13 to play, but saw Murray pick up his fifth foul shortly thereafter and less than a minute later the lead had shrunk to just seven. After a pair of Sabonis free throws – part of a 16-18 effort from the line by the Kings on the night – Chicago went on a 5-0 run, only to see Sabonis answer with a layup to push the lead back to six with four to play. But Sabonis would foul out with less than three to play and his team clinging to a three point lead, on a Coby White three point play.

White tied the game at 109 on a driving layup after a Fox turnover, and gave his team the lead with another off balance bucket after a Lyles turnover seconds later. The latter gave him a career high 37 points, eclipsing his previous career high of 36, also against the Kings. Down 111-109 with 36 seconds remaining, the Kings could not inbound the ball out of a timeout, as Fox threw it away trying to find Monk.

“It’s something that we run normally,” Fox said of the play. “We had Vucevic on HB – that would usually be Domas, but he had fouled out. I didn’t want to take that chance, so I looked for Malik, and me and Malik had a miscommunication.”

The Kings got the miss they needed on the other end but a diving Lyles couldn’t secure the rebound, sliding out of bounds with 14.8 remaining. DeRozan iced the win with two free throws and 3.5 remaining, and boos rained down shortly thereafter.

There was some good to point to in the game; Fox was a magician with the basketball, scoring 20 points and dropping 10 assists in his return to the lineup after a two game absence. But he also had five turnovers, including three in the fourth, and missed his final four attempts from the floor. Sabonis was exceptional in the second half and finished with 18/21, but his team looked completely lost without his presence once he fouled out late. Monk was scoreless in the second half while Murray was held to just two points. Meanwhile, the Bulls shot nearly 60% from the field in the second half, outscoring the Kings 36-18 over the final 12 minutes.

In addition to White’s big game, Chicago got 33 points from DeRozan, 20 from Ayo Dosunmu, and 10 from Nikola Vucevic. Though the bench provided just 11 points and nine rebounds, the starting unit – especially White and DeRozan, was more than enough Monday night. The Bulls got smoked on the boards 51-32, but won the turnover battle 17-9. The Kings led by as many as 22 points before losing by four.

For the player’s and the coaches, the loss was a difficult one to swallow, and indicative of problems that have plagued the team all season.

“Obviously the mood, everybody’s down, because it was a winnable game,” Brown said. “Even though we didn’t feel like we played well, it still felt like a winnable game. We felt like we let it slip through our fingers.”

“It’s definitely been a rollercoaster for us this year,” Fox said. “We always talk about being consistent… we have to be consistent throughout the game and throughout the season.”

The Kings have three more opportunities this week, including two at home, to try and find that consistency. It starts with a trip to Los Angeles Wednesday for a date with the Lakers, who are searching for much of the same thing.

Patreon Membership
* indicates required


To prevent spam, our system flags comments that include too many hyperlinks. If you would like to share a comment with multiple links, make sure you email [email protected] for it to be approved.

Subscribe
Notify of
81 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
BeTheBall
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
March 4, 2024 10:27 pm

This is a road play-in team, at best. Zero heart.

RikSmits
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
March 4, 2024 10:42 pm

I said it at the time, and I will say it again: the Coach of the Year is a curse.

It validates great coaches, it exposes mere good coaches.

Last edited 4 months ago by RikSmits
TerzoM
Comments
Vote Up
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Patreon Supporter
March 5, 2024 10:10 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Wasn’t there 4 timeouts resulting in 4 turnovers? I bet Vivek and co is planning changes for next year.

GFunkClassic
Comments
Vote Up
Comments
Vote Up
March 4, 2024 10:46 pm

I believe this is the first write up I’ve read from Melissa. I like the addition of after game quotes. Well done!

I’m starting to think Coach Brown is the Mark Jackson of the Kings. The guy who turned around the franchise but not the guy to make us contenders.

I was at the game. It was a slow comeback. But I knew we were in trouble once DeRozen started going off. Because Colby White hadn’t really cooled off he just let DeMar get in on the party. Meanwhile Kings offense looked really bad, and we couldn’t handle the ball. A coach has to guide that game to a victory.

ajonez81
Comments
Vote Up
Comments
Vote Up
March 4, 2024 10:48 pm

Pure Kangz, I had the foolish notion this was looking like sure fire win, Kings were handling business. Look back and lead is trimmed, look again and Bulls taking lead. Whatta joke these losses are criminal.

DutchKingsFanInUK
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
March 4, 2024 11:17 pm

Embarrassing.

comment image

Hobby916
Comments
Vote Up
Comments
Vote Up
March 5, 2024 6:17 am

comment image

UpgradedToQuestionable
Comments
Vote Up
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Patreon Supporter
March 4, 2024 11:25 pm

Last season, this team was clutch.

This season, klutz. They stumble and bumble and can’t close.

Every game, no matter the lead, they tighten up.. Even the wins.

The last minute – what was up with Trey Lyles? He had at least two top of the key open looks and he passed them up to give it to Fox. I don’t get it. Like he didn’t went the shot. I was sure he had more fortitude than that.

Instead of home cookin’, this loss leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

Next.

RikSmits
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
March 4, 2024 11:31 pm

It’s at the point that no team thinks that a big deficit against the Kings is insurmountable. And nobody on the Kings feels that a lead is safe (except Brown, maybe). That’s a significant problem, psychologically.

DNP-CD
Comments
Comments
March 4, 2024 11:41 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

Mentally, defensively and physically this team is soft. We’re play-in bound folks.

Last edited 4 months ago by DNP-CD
Adamsite
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Nostradumbass 14
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Nostradumbass 14
March 5, 2024 7:58 am
Reply to  DNP-CD

Late lottery purgatory once again. The play-in would have been fool’s gold for the Kangz during the playoff drought. The only positive thing may be that the pick conveys to ATL and the Kings have a cleared up asset cupboard this summer.

UpgradedToQuestionable
Comments
Vote Up
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Patreon Supporter
March 5, 2024 8:34 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Yes – I use the +18 change from 30 win 2021-2022 to 48 win 2022-2023 as my coping mechanism. The Kings jumped above reasonable improvement (+8-10 would have been very good, +11 or .500 wonderful and +12 or above .500 fantastic) and that this season is another jump from those levels, again, using 30 wins as the starting point.

Or I could just move to anti-anxiety drugs.

I kid.

Lots of silver linings but they seem more tarnished this season due to the specter of expectations that an amazing last season produced.

Agree with your premise – avoid the lottery at this point OR either convey the pick anyway at 13 or 14 unless you are convinced an absolute steal is there for the taking rather than have that hanging over the available assets for trades.

keith_kar
Comments
Vote Up
Comments
Vote Up
March 5, 2024 8:03 am

I hear you about Lyles. He hasn’t been able to hit the side of a barn for a few games. I can see why he would pass up open looks. Zero confidence, he’s hesitating. We need his bench points, can’t rely on just Monk.

Hobby916
Comments
Vote Up
Comments
Vote Up
March 5, 2024 5:28 am

Time for another players only meeting.

AnybodyButBagley
Comments
Vote Up
Comments
Vote Up
March 5, 2024 1:36 pm
Reply to  Hobby916

MRI didn’t work.

Hobby916
Comments
Vote Up
Comments
Vote Up
March 5, 2024 4:55 pm

You still on that?

AnybodyButBagley
Comments
Vote Up
Comments
Vote Up
March 6, 2024 9:12 am
Reply to  Hobby916

That is your expertise. Keeping it in your wheel house.

discocricket
Comments
Comments
March 5, 2024 5:32 am

It’s impossible to believe in this team/organization when, over and over again, they follow up great wins with desultory losses. So much blame to go around. Four things that annoyed me:

1) Keegan not getting the ball in the 4th, again. Lyles somehow got 5 shots to his 2. The coach has agency here, right?
2) I saw a lineup of Len, Lyles, Monk, Mitchell, Fox. I guess this would be the “I have one reliable wing player on the whole damn team” lineup.
3) Yet another game in which the holes in the roster (defensive big, defensive wing) that have existed since the beginning of last season rear their ugly heads.
4) Offensive stubbornness in the 1st half when they kept dumping the ball down low to Domas instead of having him run the high post offense. Again, coaching.

Last edited 4 months ago by discocricket
Hobby916
Comments
Vote Up
Comments
Vote Up
March 5, 2024 6:06 am
Reply to  discocricket

I noticed, again, that Murray was basically just standing on the weak side in the 4th, and barely had the ball go his way. I just don’t get it. The offense seemed to be Fox trying to iso, which wasn’t working at all in the 4th. There was no changes to that either. At some point the coach needs to recognize that and call a freaking play for some type of other action.

Jack
Comments
Vote Up
Comments
Vote Up
March 5, 2024 7:18 am
Reply to  Hobby916

Boy do I believe in that. It takes five to win a game not one. I wasn’t there but what was the player’s only meeting for. Some of it had had to do with playing together and having each others back. I also agree that Murray doesn’t get enough touches especially in the fourth quarter. A good coach can tell when a player has it or not in situations like last night. Fox yes can take over a game but IMO not last night. He did have some really good assists last night. I agree with some comments above that other teams not only shoot threes better against us but now know that they can win against us no matter what the score. This has to be in their head as well as ours. I’m beginning to think this team does not have the killer instinct it should. Some of the blame has to go to the coaches but its the players who decide the outcome of the game. IMO we needed a player or two who are tougher than nails, don’t back down and especially plays rerally good defense. A guy like Caruso( who could play on my team anytime) didfn’t score but who had to do with the outcome of the game as more than anyone for the Bulls. We were outscored last night in the paint. Most of those were straight line drives. It starts out front. On offense again I thought we were supposed to be a great 3 point shooting team. 29% doesn’t cut it especially in the fourth quarter.

Adamsite
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Nostradumbass 14
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Nostradumbass 14
March 5, 2024 7:55 am
Reply to  Hobby916

The entire 4th quarter game plan, every game, is to give the ball to Fox or Monk and let them iso. It’s high school amateur hour type of coaching.

RikSmits
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
March 5, 2024 8:47 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Yup, and you have to ask yourself if that is putting them in the best situation to succeed down the stretch. IMO, it is not, and that is on the coaches.

Also, the fact that not one role player other than Lyles and Monk have a clearly defined roile and got a long enough consecutive run to get comfortable in such role.

When Domas is not in the game we do not have someone who can replicate his role, nor do we have any other form of structured offense or identity.

Yes, not playing hard for 48 minutes is a players’ issue. But at some point when it becomes a trend you expect to have the coach step in and take matters into his hands during the game, not regurgitate the same stuff in the postgame pressers.

Brown has been very underwhelming this season. Accountability goes both ways, coach.

Last edited 4 months ago by RikSmits
KingOfTheMonsters
Comments
Vote Up
Comments
Vote Up
March 5, 2024 9:48 am
Reply to  Adamsite

This I cannot understand, and it is why I was a bit underwhelmed by the win in Minnesota. Yes, it was great they gutted out the victory without Fox and Sabonis, but they won because of Monk’s wild (lucky) shots falling.
Last year, it seemed like Fox fed the rest of the team in the early quarters and they scored. Then in the fourth, Fox turned it on to ensure the victory.
But even in the fourth, they maintained some sort of team play.
Now, most fourth quarters remind me of the Tyreke Evans days of “give me the ball and stand back.”
Players have open looks and defer to Fox or Monk. Take the damn shot.
And for God’s sake, keep Keegan in the game. Frankly, I’d rather feed Keegan in the fourth than Monk or Fox.
Hell, it just makes sense. If Keegan is hitting, it only gives more space to Fox/Monk.
This was a depressing loss in that you could feel it coming a day before the game. At no point, did I feel comfortable with the lead.
Hope they can get into the top 6. A loss in the play-in, especially to the Warriors or Lakers, will kill what exists of their confidence.

Adamsite
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Nostradumbass 14
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Nostradumbass 14
March 5, 2024 7:53 am
Reply to  discocricket

5) Why didn’t Brown play Ellis? He starts him last game and he gets 7 assists and 4 steals in 19 minutes, then he gets a DNP/CD. Could have used him to slow White down a bit.

Adamsite
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Nostradumbass 14
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Nostradumbass 14
March 5, 2024 7:54 am
Reply to  Adamsite

EDIT

Last edited 4 months ago by Adamsite
Jack
Comments
Vote Up
Comments
Vote Up
March 5, 2024 12:55 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

EDIT

Ruben
Comments
Comments
March 5, 2024 8:03 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Overall I must admit that I find rotations more than puzzleing. It feels like effort is not properly rewarded for several players. E.g. Len also deserves more than the minutes he gets.

Hobby916
Comments
Vote Up
Comments
Vote Up
March 5, 2024 10:00 am
Reply to  Adamsite

I don’t watch other games besides the Kings, generally, so my question is:

Do other teams tend to have undefined bench roles that change every week or so?

rockbottom
Comments
Vote Up
Comments
Vote Up
March 5, 2024 11:48 am
Reply to  Hobby916

Good point . Seems all good ones are basically set at this point except for injury .

AnybodyButBagley
Comments
Vote Up
Comments
Vote Up
March 5, 2024 1:45 pm
Reply to  Hobby916

Seven player rotation is pretty standard.

But….those teams play defense too. The bench roles are not the biggest problem.

oshima9
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
March 5, 2024 4:50 pm
Reply to  Hobby916

My son’s high school team, but that was game to game.

HongKongKingsFan
Comments
Vote Up
Comments
Vote Up
March 5, 2024 6:30 am

Well, I think whenever we got a big lead,
we’d better sub in our 3rd sting players immediately…

At least they would play as hard as possible, and they should able to retain the lead.

Jack
Comments
Vote Up
Comments
Vote Up
March 5, 2024 7:22 am

Not a bad idea really. Try it once. Surely can’t help.

HongKongKingsFan
Comments
Vote Up
Comments
Vote Up
March 5, 2024 7:27 am
Reply to  Jack

I definitely would, if I were Mike Brown….

Mike Brown did praised a group of “Edwards, Davion, Keon, Len, Colby” did play well, and within the system, and willing to pass.

This loss should made Mike Brown accountable, and he should be benched for next game, and make Jodi the head coach.

oshima9
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
March 5, 2024 7:27 am

Thought the team had turned the corner against Minnesota. A disheartening loss. Don’t have anything to add to what has already been said.

Jack
Comments
Vote Up
Comments
Vote Up
March 5, 2024 12:59 pm
Reply to  oshima9

I thought they turned a corner too but I was mistaken. Same O, Same O, Same O.

Marty
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
March 5, 2024 7:38 am

Straight up turned the game off in the 3Q to watch another episode of Narcos. Just checked the score. Dang.

ForKingsandCountry
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
March 5, 2024 7:49 am

lol. LOL.

Greg
Admin
Vote Up
Comments
Original Member
Author
Vote Up
Comments
Original Member
Author
March 5, 2024 8:11 am

So many places to put the blame for this loss. The players need to be capable of giving a shit for 48 minutes. The coach needs to be more flexible with his rotations and lineups. The GM needed to improve the bench at the trade deadline, or over the offseason, or at the previous trade deadline. What an aggravating loss.

Adamsite
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Nostradumbass 14
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Nostradumbass 14
March 5, 2024 8:23 am
Reply to  Greg

What worries me is I don’t feel very optimistic going into the summer. I feel the Kings will loose in the play-in, then convey the pick to ATL. They will hit free agency with no real cap space, sans some exceptions, will have to overpay and put a serious hit to the future cap to keep Monk, and will have no real trade assets other than more future picks.

If Monte is set on building around Fox, Sabonis, Keegan, and Monk going forward, is trading the likes of Barnes, Huerter, and/or Lyles plus a pick or two really going to get an upgrade of talent without hurting the core going forward?

Hobby916
Comments
Vote Up
Comments
Vote Up
March 5, 2024 10:10 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Trading Barnes/Huerter/Lyles/Davion as a way to upgrade the starters AND increase the depth is going to be a mighty task. I don’t see how that realistically can happen this summer. Starters or bench, maybe, but not both this offseason. Which means that the roster will still be a couple good players away from being close to contending.

discocricket
Comments
Comments
March 5, 2024 10:21 am
Reply to  Adamsite

It might be the case that the proper way out of this is to sell Fox high for picks and a player or 2, take a step back for a year or 2, and try to hit in the draft. Hard to see this FO and ownership group doing that.

Adamsite
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Nostradumbass 14
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Nostradumbass 14
March 5, 2024 10:32 am
Reply to  discocricket

I do wonder if Monte can’t make anything happen this summer and the Kings essentially return with the same core 5-6 players, will next season be any different? How long before he needs to pull an Ainge and sell Fox and/or Sabonis like Utah sold their stars?

Knowing the Kangz, they’ll likely just fire Coach Brown and bring in someone like Mark Jackson.

Kfan
Original Member
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Comments
Vote Up
March 5, 2024 10:41 am
Reply to  Adamsite

That’s the nightmare situation

Hobby916
Comments
Vote Up
Comments
Vote Up
March 5, 2024 11:23 am
Reply to  Adamsite

comment image

oshima9
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
March 5, 2024 4:48 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

There’s also the related problem that Utah and Houston are improving, and I wouldn’t count on the collapse of Golden State, the Lakers and the Clippers to open spots. Even Portland could start improving by the end of next season.

Greg
Admin
Vote Up
Comments
Original Member
Author
Vote Up
Comments
Original Member
Author
March 5, 2024 10:24 am
Reply to  Adamsite

The Kings can lose in the play-in or convey the pick to ATL, they can’t do both. If you lose in the play-in and do not make it to the playoffs, you’re in the lotto. The pick is protected this year top 14.

Either they make the playoffs and convey the pick, or the miss the playoffs and keep the pick. For long-term trade flexibility, the hope is to convey the pick this year.

Adamsite
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Nostradumbass 14
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Nostradumbass 14
March 5, 2024 10:29 am
Reply to  Greg

Yeah, sorry. I had a brain fart and pulled a 4th quarter Kangz. You are correct, a loss in the in play-in and the pick remains with the Kings…which IMO, is the worse case scenario. They keep a late lottery pick in what’s reported to be a bad draft, and the pick obligations to ATL continue onto next season.

Greg
Admin
Vote Up
Comments
Original Member
Author
Vote Up
Comments
Original Member
Author
March 5, 2024 11:28 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Agreed. Would much rather convey the pick this year and have the full balance of future picks available for future moves.

ZillersCat
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
March 5, 2024 9:37 am
Reply to  Greg

comment image

Marty
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
March 5, 2024 11:04 am
Reply to  Greg

Amazingly succinct Greg.

RobHessing
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Author
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Author
March 5, 2024 8:12 am

Such a nice group of young men. They never want to upset any of their opponents or get on anyone’s bad side. This group will avoid stepping on an opponent’s neck at all costs. It’s adorable!

Also, the wing depth on this roster is as atrocious today as it was at the end of last season, when anyone with a pulse knew that it had to be addressed. Looking at you, Monte.

And 1 – To paraphrase Monte, success is not linear. But what can be charted is your standing in the Western Conference, and the team that was the 3rd best team in the WC last year is now going to be a 5-10 team, with the current position being 7th. Linear, shminear, Monte. The 2023-24 regular season has not been a successful progression in any measurable way. Guess the hope is for a miracle in the playoffs. Miracles do happen. Not sure that I would bank on them.

UpgradedToQuestionable
Comments
Vote Up
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Patreon Supporter
March 5, 2024 11:41 am
Reply to  RobHessing

That is the key to painting this season a success, victory to the second round of the playoffs.

If we look at the Timberwolves from two seasons ago, they, like Sacramento last season who were +18, had a 23 win season (2021-22) followed by a 46 win season 2022-23) for +23 (!). And a first round playoff exit. Then last season 42 wins (2022-23) for -4 and a first round playoff exit.

2022 7th seed, first round exit (Memphis 4-2) (Play-In first round win 7 seed MIN over 8 seed LAC)
2023 8th seed, first round exit (Denver 4-1) (Play-In first round loss to 7th seed LAL, second round win over OKC to make the 8th seed)

What’s with all that tl:dr?

Minnesota is the #1 seed thus far this season with a great rebound from 42 wins last season to 43 wins this season thus far with 20 games to go (43-19). It will be a big wash if once again, MIN has a first round exit in the 2024 playoffs.

The Kings season is a parallel, IMO. If they end up with 42-47 wins (34-26 with 22 to go – if the Kings go 10-12 or 15-7 or in between, that’s the final record).

Does it really matter? Four playoff wins and the regular season chaos fades away. Of course, they have to make the playoffs, probably through the play-in and maybe, maybe, maybe.

Playoffs. That’s the answer to the Monte question. I don’t believe he can be judged until late April.

RobHessing
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Author
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Author
March 5, 2024 11:53 am

As I noted during the pre-season, I have a regular season bar (50 wins) and a post season bar (2nd round). As a result, I have the good fortune of not having to wait until late April to judge the regular season. Woot!

Adamsite
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Nostradumbass 14
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Nostradumbass 14
March 5, 2024 2:50 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

50 wins would require the Kings finishing 16-6, when their current run of the past 24 games has been .500 ball. Yikes.

oshima9
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
March 5, 2024 4:46 pm

The problem is that Minnesota is more talented, and finally discovered how to get the talent to play well together. A difficult comparison for the Kings.

UpgradedToQuestionable
Comments
Vote Up
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Patreon Supporter
March 5, 2024 6:30 pm
Reply to  oshima9

The Blah Blah:
I dunno about that – to me, it’s an argument and Minny has had a very similar history to Sacramento overall, including issues with ownership.

AntMan might be the best talent of the bunch, but De’Aaron Fox is a close second, IMO. Sabonis or KAT – gimme Domas every single time. Rudy is unique, but I am not sure how much he is a factor, and that is a big source of argument. Would you rather have Rudy Gobert or Kee-gan Mur-ray?

To keep this going: 36 1/2 year old Mike Conley is a gem, how about Malik Monk?

Jaden McDaniels, Naz Reid, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Kyle Anderson is where the TWolves bigs and bench rides high over HB, Red Velvet, Chris Duarte, Trey Lyles, Alex Len, JaVale McGee, Davion Mitchell.

As for the future: recall – there is very little draft capital in the Timberwolf wallet with that Rudy Gobert trade. They have leveraged a lot for “win now”.

My point:
I don’t think the overall gap is that big. Look- if Minny takes a first round playoff exit, then how good are they? They have two consecutive seasons of being a 7th and 8th seed and bowed out 4-2, then 4-1. Sac has one season of being a 3rd seed and 4-3 defeat.

The regular season is a formality to the post-season. Ask last season’s 9th seed Miami Heat or the 7th seeded LAL.

It’s all just my opinion – but we don’t know how to assess this season until we hit late April. It ain’t looking good, I’ll give you that. IF they could even boost up to a 50 win season but have a first round exit (especially a sweep or gentleman’s sweep) it would be lipstick on a pig for Sactown. 44 wins? 45? On the other hand – It’s still playoffs for the former droughters. But getting to the second round or beyond- that’s going to steer the decisions for Monte and Wes.

Last edited 4 months ago by UpgradedToQuestionable
UpgradedToQuestionable
Comments
Vote Up
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Patreon Supporter
March 5, 2024 6:49 pm

Minny’s cap sheet: $163M this season, $188M next season, $207M the following year.

Klam
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
March 5, 2024 8:27 am

Consistently inconsistent is the story for the Kings this season. There have been too many times of competing well against the good teams while struggling (or losing) to worse teams. At best, they’ll be 5th or 6th, but more than likely they will end up in the 7-10 range. And who knows if they will even be able to make it past the play-in stage at this point.

Hippity_Hop_Barbershop
Original Member
Comments
Vote Up
Patreon Supporter
Original Member
Comments
Vote Up
Patreon Supporter
March 5, 2024 9:19 am

Hello darkness my old friend…

Hobby916
Comments
Vote Up
Comments
Vote Up
March 5, 2024 10:06 am

“That shows you how quickly the momentum can swing in an NBA game. We were up, we pick up a T, and the momentum swings the other way.”

Is Brown implying/blaming that the Tech by Duarte is what swung the game in the Bulls’ favor?

Jack
Comments
Vote Up
Comments
Vote Up
March 5, 2024 1:09 pm
Reply to  Hobby916

Sounds like it to me. If so I am really diappointed in Brown. Maybe he should have been to the all players meeting then hen would have Duarte’s back.

TerzoM
Comments
Vote Up
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Patreon Supporter
March 5, 2024 10:16 am

End of season coaching staff
comment image

Hobby916
Comments
Vote Up
Comments
Vote Up
March 5, 2024 11:20 am
Reply to  TerzoM

Maybe Coach Bud and his staff come in here and get things right. Probably not because Brown has another year (or 2, I think) and Vivek won’t want to pay another coach for not coaching.

TerzoM
Comments
Vote Up
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Patreon Supporter
March 5, 2024 12:05 pm
Reply to  Hobby916

Budenholzer? Curious why hasn’t any team pick him up?

Last edited 4 months ago by TerzoM
Hobby916
Comments
Vote Up
Comments
Vote Up
March 5, 2024 12:45 pm
Reply to  TerzoM

He was more like an example of a coach to bring in, maybe not him in particular.

It is weird that he hasn’t been picked up. I think he had some personal matters, so maybe not ready to return.

eddie41
Comments
Vote Up
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Patreon Supporter
March 5, 2024 11:06 am

this type of loss occurred last year. physical, scrappy eastern conference team with a good point-of-attack defender (Caruso). Coby White scored in a lot of ways but one of them was to barrel into the Kings defender (no-call) for a layup. Domas got mauled by Vucevic (no flagrant) and was still holding the back of his neck after fouling out. Drummond was thugging up the game. I think it might be the physicality of the Bulls that affected the Kings.

Hobby916
Comments
Vote Up
Comments
Vote Up
March 5, 2024 11:19 am
Reply to  eddie41

Seems like every team that is physical tends to beat the Kings, or make the games very close.

eddie41
Comments
Vote Up
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Patreon Supporter
March 5, 2024 11:29 am
Reply to  Hobby916

yeah, and when the other team can’t miss (DeRozan and White), it’s more difficult to get out and run.

DNP-CD
Comments
Comments
March 5, 2024 4:04 pm
Reply to  eddie41

Yeah, White with a new career high. Funny how so many players establish their new career high when they play against the Kings.

Last edited 4 months ago by DNP-CD
murraytant
Comments
Vote Up
Comments
Vote Up
March 5, 2024 11:40 am

Early in the fourth, I told my friend “I have seen this game 12 times this year” He said “Who wins? and I replied “not the Kings.
Playing not to lose
And in moments where the tires are falling off, the team trusts only Fox and DS. They passed up shots to force the ball to those two. This is not blame but observation.

rockbottom
Comments
Vote Up
Comments
Vote Up
March 5, 2024 11:41 am

This team can beat the best and lose to the worst . Talent level,low compared to best teams in west . Four keepers to build around- Fox, Sabonis, Murray, Monk . Rest could be replaced thru draft, G league and FA . Need two starting level players esp at 2/3 and 4/5 ! Monte has a huge summer ahead or another 42 – 44 win playin team . Brown not blameless in this team never having an offense in late game situations . Fox, Monk iso not enough .

Adamsite
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Nostradumbass 14
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Nostradumbass 14
March 5, 2024 11:51 am
Reply to  rockbottom

I don’t think I’m going out on a limb by saying that if the 4 “keepers” you build around are Fox, Sabonis, Keegan and Monk, you are not going to get very far. Those are 2 guys who are going to make $35M+ for the next 5 years and two other guys that are going to cost you $20M+ for that same time period.

How do you add talent and round out a roster around that kind of cap sheet?

RobHessing
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Author
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Author
March 5, 2024 12:10 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

You’ve got two more seasons of cheap Murray ($9m & $11m), so the short answer is parlaying the $35-$37m that you have invested in Barnes and Huerter into viable baseline-to-baseline wing play. I have no idea how you go about pulling that off.

RobHessing
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Author
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Author
March 5, 2024 1:34 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

And two cents: The contracts of Sabonis and Fox are not killers. Get a look at the 2024-25 contracts of last year’s all-NBA guys:
$56m – Steph
$51m – LeBron
$51m – Embiid
$51m – Jokic
$50m – Jaylen Brown
$49m – Giannis
$49m – Dame
$49m – Jimmy Butler
$43m – Luka
$42m – Sabonis
$36m – SGA
$35m – Donovan Mitchell
$35m – Fox
$30m – Randle

Of course, using the all-NBA list is at least a little bit arbitrary, and the list will surely change this year. But if you add all of the 24-25 $30m+ players to this list that did not make all-NBA, the contracts of Fox and Sabonis look better and better, not worse.

The wasted opportunity here is not putting the edge in Murray’s very good rookie contract to better use. The money spent on Barnes has not been a total loss, but it has also not addressed the glaring lack of wing defense, or the growing concern of this team’s lack of toe-to-toe fire. Flip Caruso for Barnes, and I wonder what the outcome is last night…or against (all at home) Detroit or Charlotte or a short-handed Miami.

This is still a relatively young group, and it is possible that the trio of Fox, Sabonis and Murray grow into Sacramento’s version of Jamal Murray, Jokic and Porter, Jr. But that group in Denver still relies heavily on the presence of Aaron Gordon, and there is nothing even close to replicating him on the Kings roster right now.

Entertaining basketball on most nights, but not a team that can be seen as a deep run playoff team. Tick-tick-tick.

Adamsite
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Nostradumbass 14
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Nostradumbass 14
March 5, 2024 2:45 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

I should have also added…

“How do you add talent and round out a roster around that kind of cap sheet,” and an ownership group that has shown an unwillingness to spend.

The Kings are still a bottom ten team in spending and the only way to spend like contenders is to pay and extend the stars you have. I might be more inclined to have a positive outlook over the next few seasons, but until they spend to keep Monk (which has it’s contractual limits) and extend Murray beyond his rookie salary, I still don’t know how they get and spend to keep that Aaron Gordon type of guy. I’m not sure any combo of Barnes, Huerter, Lyles, and picks gets it done, especially with Monte’s recent unwillingness/inability to get guys like OG and Pascal…or even Kuzma.

I can’t imagine Barnes or Huerter will have any more value this summer then they did at the deadline and the Kings aren’t likely to have any more picks to add. Things feel very stuck.

Lastly, if the Kings don’t make the playoffs does Fox still sign that supermax extension? Will the Kings still offer it?

RobHessing
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Author
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Original Member
Author
March 5, 2024 3:25 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Every concern that you listed here is real and valid and really valid. And concerning. Validly really concerning, which is still a tad better than really concerning Vlade.

UpgradedToQuestionable
Comments
Vote Up
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Patreon Supporter
March 5, 2024 6:09 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

comment image

oshima9
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
Patreon Supporter
Comments
Vote Up
March 5, 2024 4:43 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

“The Kings are still a bottom ten team in spending and the only way to spend like contenders is to pay and extend the stars you have.”

The elephant in the room 

Jack
Comments
Vote Up
Comments
Vote Up
March 5, 2024 1:15 pm
Reply to  rockbottom

You also have to blame the players. The terrible turnovers especially in the fourth quarter were terrible. If you look back most of those winnable losses were due to terrible turnovers.

AnybodyButBagley
Comments
Vote Up
Comments
Vote Up
March 5, 2024 1:41 pm

Soft team.

Zero defense.

ISO Fox.

No NBA team worries about this team.

Badge Legend

Patreon Supporter Patreon Supporter   Registered On Day 1 Registered On Day 1   Published Post Published Post  Published Post Nostradumbass
Comment Up Votes 200 Up Votes   Comment Up Votes 500 Up Votes    1,000 Up Votes    3,000+ Up Votes

Comments 50 Comments   Comments 100 Comments    250 Comments    500 Comments    1000+ Comments