I was pleased at halftime, all things considered. My favorite Kings – the youngsters with all the energy and athleticism – were playing well.
The Kings were losing, but not as badly as the first few minutes would've dictated. They could've been down by 30 with a shirking of defense and an inability to score for anyone other than Kevin Martin. Ronnie Price's buzzard transformation and Justin Williams' gazelle stature mixed with Martin's hot hand provided enough to make the game respectable.
I was happy with that, a respectable game with minutes for the kids and numbers from Martin.
Then, Ronnie Price decided he wasn't happy with that. Justin Williams decided he wasn't happy with that. Francisco Garcia… John Salmons… they weren't happy with that. And in turns, they took over.
Price to the rim on a breakaway. Garcia from midrange again and again. Williams with putbacks and dunks and blocks. Salmons channeling the spirit of Kobe with minutes left and not one Jazz player in his way.
Those four players – average age 24 – scored 51 points on 22-for-27 shooting. Not one of them started the game.
What a stark contrast from the usual suspects. Despite terrible stints, give credit to Mike Bibby and Brad Miller, who from the sidelines cheered their asses off for the kids. And Ron Artest was terrible on offense, but he hit double-digits in rebounds again. This has been his best rebounding season by far, and he's keeping it going. (Even if he stole two defensive boards away from Justin, who came two rebounds short of his first career NBA double-double.)