Preparation for my thesis on the likelihood Kevin Martin and John Salmons could thrive together in the longer term had commenced. Even through the third quarter, when Salmons had 8 points on 5 shots, the theory -- that two efficient, iso wings could coexist within the overall structure of this particular team -- was in danger. I suppose the fourth quarter -- 14 for Salmons on nine shots, 12 for Martin on three shots -- began to answer concerns.
Dallas seemed irrelevant. Sure, there was a back-and-forth between the Kings and the Mavericks; like a poker game, each squad called the other's bluff, awaiting resignation. Neither team resigned; even Jason Terry's last-gulp heave was dangerously close. But, from my eyes, the back-and-forth took place between Martin and Salmons. Read the play-by-play, ignoring the Dallas side and beginning when Salmons re-entered the game. These are the successful offensive possessions:
4:18 left - Salmons layup SAC 107-98
2:35 left - Martin FTs SAC 110-105
1:30 left - Udrih layup SAC 112-100
1:04 left - Martin FT (1) SAC 113-112
0:40 left - Salmons layup SAC 115-112
0:26 left - Salmons layup SAC 117-115
0:11 left - Martin jumper & 1 SAC 120-118
0:02 left - Salmons fling SAC 122-120
Save Beno Udrih's layup and two assists from Brad Miller in there, it was completely The Salmons and Martin Show. Or The Martin and Salmons Show. Or... who cares. Those two dominated a defense which is in the top half of the league, and was in the top 5 in the league last year. DOMINATED. (Yes, a combined 23-32 FGs, 2-3 3Ps, 13-15 FTs, 4 ast, 4 TOs... that's domination. And we won't even approach Francisco Garcia.)
When we fawned over Salmons last week, we suggested he had trekked into new territory: the Unified States of the Key Cog. F*ck that. I hear he just bought a tent from REI and went to Costco to load up on pistachios and propane. Says he's taking a trip to the Commonwealth of the Centerpiece. Kevin invited him. Says he might stay a while.
A diary to your right asks the last time a win felt this good. April 30, 2006. BON-ZI! BON-ZI! Sacramento 102, Defending Champs 84. Series tied at 2.
It's been a while.