Ignoring the whole Artest fiasco (which we'll get into later this morning), this was a highly infuriating game. Those who didn't watch the contest might look at the final score and say, "Oh, the Wizards got the Kings to play their style and just outscored them. No biggie."
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The Kings dominated the first half, even if they were only up by 5 at the break. They played Kings basketball, something we as fans haven't seen since the Atlanta game and something we haven't seen consistently since the preseason. Twelve assists on 13 made baskets in the first period! That's glory days material. And the fourth period was just as clean on offense - they had nine assists on 12 baskets, shot 57%, and got to the line 11 times.
But damn if that third quarter wasn't ugly as Rosie O'Donnell at 5 am. Just brutal.
Eight turnovers, with two each from Kenny Thomas (in four minutes!) and Mike Bibby. Only three assists on the eight made shots. When you give up the ball like that, you can't get shots up. Kevin Martin went 3-6 in the period, and John Salmons went 2-3. Give them some more opportunities, and maybe you aren't down by 17 near the start of the fourth.
Teams like Washington are going to score. If they have an off quarter or two, they'll make up for it. This is NB-f*cking-A, and the players are good. You shouldn't be so caught off-guard when they make baskets in succession. It's what they do. (Unless their name is Kenny Thomas.) Sacramento doesn't even look like a basketball team at this point.
On the bright side, Martin had the best game by any King this season, getting 40 on 23 field goal attempts and 11 free throw tries. Incredibly efficient. He even offered up four of the team's assists, which is something we don't typically see from him.
Salmons is an a tear on offense. 23 pts on 10-14 shooting is not to be ignored. He added 5 assists and 4 steals, and served as one of three Kings with a pulse in the fourth quarter (Martin and Big Nasty being the other two).
Here are the post-game stats:
Martin 46 40 27.8 41 31.6 -10
Miller 35 19 17.8 27 18.5 -6
Salmons 45 23 14.9 25 23.3 -10
Bibby 35 11 14.3 19 7.2 -6
Williamson 19 17 12.8 18.5 13 2
Abdur-Rahim 26 4 6 7.5 0.9 -6
Thomas 16 0 5 4 -3.3 -4
Garcia 12 5 2.9 3 1.8 -3
Douby 6 0 1 1 -1.5 5
Price 1 0 0 0.5 0.7 3
I'm not sure why we didn't see Price or Douby in the third. Bibby struggled (surprise!) and Salmons was needed on Jamison or Butler as the team's strongest man defender. Martin defended Arenas as well as can ever be expected, but the Kings could've used one more defender in there when it was clear Bibby was getting run over and was making his teammates worse on defense. Not that Douby's a great defender, but it would been an intermittent look while things were getting out-of-control.
I think we realized one thing in the wake of last night's game, though: Bibby might not make it back to Bibby status. He just looks done, doesn't he?