A Beautiful Game Made Ugly

Two of the fastest teams in the league, filled with athletes at most positions, a bevy of dynamic scorers, shooters for days and very little defensive acumen. Should be a pretty-looking game.

The refs ruined this one.

Both teams had trouble drawing a foul in the paint. Kevin Martin had at least three or four no-calls in the first half; the Warriors suffered all sorts of unfairness in the second half. Just bad reffin' all the way around. But it hurt the Kings more.

Why?

It turned Sacramento into a jump-shooting team. If you'll remember, it's when the Kings turn into a jump-shooting team they have trouble. The bad calls turned Golden State into a bit of a jump-shooting team as well. But they like to shoot jumpers. They are in fact better at shooting jumpers than most teams, especially the Kings.

So there's the downside to the otherwise solid strategy of focusing on slashing, driving and getting to the line: When the refs have a bad night, you're going to have to hit shots. And hitting shots is the single most important factor in team offense -- so having good shooters, having players who get their teammates into position (by pass, screen or pressure relief) for better shots -- those are important. The Kings' base is mixed on those counts. Hence the league-average offense.

Monta Ellis was brilliant. He plays like a much bigger player, maybe owing to his relative strength (given his frame). He could make a ton of money this summer; if Baron Davis doesn't opt out (he won't) and the Warriors focus on signing Andris Biedrins first (they may have to if someone else makes a quick offer), the bidding for Ellis (clearly ahead of Louis Williams in this summer's Tiny Two-Guard Sweepstakes) could get steep. Tough to know what Chris Mullin will think, given he gave Mike Dunleavy Jr. a $3.5 billion extension but stiffed Biedrins, Don Nelson, Davis, Mickael Pietrus, Matt Barnes, and Patrick O'Bryant.

This is all just a way to say I hope Ellis lands somewhere else so Kevin Martin doesn't have to chase him around four times a year.

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