This was the cliched game that you could say both teams wanted to lose, but the Sacramento Kings were the more win-averse team tonight. The Washington Wizards outlasted the Kings in this sloppy, awful “battle”. Be sure to wash your eyes out with water if you watched this one, and if you didn’t, delete it off your DVR and don’t look back.
The Kings were led by DeMarcus Cousins putting up big raw numbers to keep the team in the game. Cousins scored 36 points (16/34 FG, 1/6 3P) but was not efficient because of an uncharacteristically awful 3/10 from the free throw line. Rudy Gay started slow, came alive for a short time in the third quarter, but then fizzled out again, finishing with 18 points (7/16 FG, 1/4 3P) and 6 turnovers.
Like I’ve mentioned before, the Kings aren’t going to win many games where both Collison and Gay are no-shows. The Kings offense devolved into way too much isolation basketball tonight, getting very little ball or player movement to generate good looks. The Kings frequently relied on Cousins or Gay to bail the offense out with heroball shots, and that’s just simply not going to get it done. Isoball also tends to mute the effect that Collison has on the game, who never really looked comfortable getting into any offensive rhythm. Collison is too important as a scorer to this team to be shut out.
For the Wizards, Bradley Beal was the main stalwart. Beal scored 31 points (12/24 FG, 7/13 3P) to torch the Kings, doing a masterful job scoring off of screens. Arron Afflalo got completely wrecked trying to chase Beal off those screens, where his lack of footspeed becomes a major problem. Other than that, the Kings’ defense was pretty good tonight, allowing a defensive rating of only 92.3. The Kings did a nice job defending John Wall, forcing the talented lead guard into an 11 turnover night, which is a career high.
Through the slop, the Kings and Wizards were all locked up at the end of regulation and you can’t say the Kings didn’t have their chances to win. Unfortunately, the team went cold to start overtime, failing to score at all until there was 16 seconds left and the game was out of reach. The Wizards didn’t exactly light up the scoreboard in overtime, but they didn’t have to.
All-in-all, winning back-to-back on the road is not easy in this league, and the Kings were not good enough to do it tonight. They fall to 7-11 on the season and 1-1 on this soft Eastern Conference road trip. The next few games will be telling; they play Philadelphia on Wednesday, Boston on Friday, and New York on Sunday. They can make up some real ground or fall further into the sinkhole of the bottom of the Western Conference. Some Observations:
For the opponent’s perspective, visit Bullets Forever