Despite that five minute hiccup in the third, it looks like the Kings have found their identity.
The offense is smooth (again, forgiving that hiccup, which was actually more like a run of dry heaves). For the game, the team had an offensive rating around 114, which is excellent against an above-average defensive squad. And when you consider that nasty run of mishaps in the third - it took four minutes to make up 16 points for the Pacers - the offense as a whole was even better.
Ron Artest had something to do with it. It's like beaten a broken drum at this point, I know. But it has to be said. The offense is faster, cleaner, and a whole lot more structured when he's in the game. Still, 16 turnovers is way too many for this Kings game, which is full of ballhandlers. Three for Martin, three for Miller, three for Bibby. Everyone was sloppier than usual.
The Kings continue to get to the line at a nice rate, putting their opponent into the penalty early and drawing fouls. Actually, let me switch that sentence: Kevin Martin continues to get to the line at a great rate. Eleven FTAs for him out of the Kings total of 30.
Shareef Abdur-Rahim was a monster in the second quarter who couldn't finish in the fourth. Francisco Garcia... I don't even need to say it. STUD. 5 pts, 5 reb, 2 ast, 2 stl, 1 blk. Only one silly offensive play. Constant harassment on whoever he was guarding plus the next nearest Pacer. If Geoff Petrie could bottle some of Garcia's energy and sell it, then he'd be arrested for possession of meth. Because that's what Garcia looks like out there. So active, so determined, so earnest. A welcome sight.
Also, major thumbs up for RONNIE PRICE!. Killer foul on Dunleavy, as Grant and Jerry opined. If he can shore up his jumpshot...