You guys deserved this win. You guys did everything you could to win this game and to have it stolen from you like that has got to be heartbreaking. The Lakers were missing Artest, yes, but you guys are missing you're top two scorers from last year, and you're RoY candidate. But did that stop you guys? Hell no. You guys responded "We're the Sacramento Kings, and we don't give a crap what you're record is, or how many championships you've won, we're going to go out there and try our best to destroy you." And its hard to argue that you didn't. You had four more field goals than the Lakers and two more three pointers. You shot 54% from the field to their 45%. You had 31 assists on 43 shots. You guys were playing basketball the way it was meant to be played: as a team.
You guys can get fined for saying it, but the NBA doesn't pay me anything so I don't care. The officiating in this game was atrocious. Los Angeles shot 13 more free throws and had 9 less fouls called on them. Blatant violations were missed (Shannon Brown's traveling violation that fouled out JT, Lamar Odom's over the back foul on JT), and the types of fouls that were being called on the Kings (especially Donté and JT), were not being called on the Lakers. If you're going to ref a game horribly, don't favor one team. But back to you guys. There's nothing you can do about the officiating but roll with the punches and just shake your head.
So instead of complaining more after another heartbreaking loss, I want to go ahead and congratulate you guys individually on your year so far.
To Spencer, you played the best game of your career tonight. You haven't had your games improvement show as much in your statistics this year, but you can clearly see how much you've improved on both ends of the floor. Tonight you were just an overall beast. Inside, outside, it didn't matter. You were doing it all. If you play every game like this, you'll be a top 10 Center in the league one day.
To Beno, you did a great job at getting your teammates involved and putting the ball in the basket when it mattered. I was a big detractor of you last year, but you've really shut me up this year and I've become quite the fan. Keep up the great work.
To Donté, you are becoming a top notch defender. You played Kobe Bryant, possibly the best player in the world, as well as anybody could and it took him getting bailed out by a bunch of ticky tack fouls for him to get rid of you. Defense is where winning starts and you're bringing it every night.
To Omri Casspi, you have been stellar this year. Nobody has expected you to be this good this fast. A lot of people talk about Tyreke as Rookie of the Year, but you're definitely in the top 5 if not 3 best rookies in the league right now. You're overall game is just so solid, and tonight especially, you more than held your own against the leagues best. Not many players play with as much passion as you, and we love you for it.
To JT, yes this wasn't your best game of the year. In fact it was probably your worst. I don't think you'd argue that point. But one game doesn't make a season or a career. And you've been excellent in this season, only your second in the NBA. Some nights the calls don't go your way, and it gets frustrating, I realize that. You just want them to let you play. So take that frustration and unleash it on whoever you're playing that night. Make them pay.
To Tyreke Evans, you've brought hope and excitement back to this franchise. Its nice to hear the Kings aren't the laughingstock of the NBA anymore, and you're a very large part of that. With every big drive to the basket and critical defensive stop, you bring credibility and star power to a franchise and city that needs it. I hope to see you in a Kings uniform for many, many years to come.
To Ime Udoka, don't worry about those missed free throws. The team wouldn't have even had the chance to shoot them if you hadn't knocked the ball off Pau Gasol's leg on the previous play. And that's the type of all around effort that has frankly made you quite invaluable to this Kings team. I didn't really know much of your game when we signed you, but you're quickly becoming one of my favorite players on the team and I would love to see you remain in Sacramento next year.
To Sergio Rodriguez, you are a magician with the basketball and I love watching you run a team. It's always perplexing when you throw a pass and fake me out while I'm watching and then I have to see the replay to find out how you got the ball to your teammate. You've been a big reason why basketball is now fun to watch again.
To Andres Nocioni, you've had a couple of off-weeks and I haven't been your biggest fan as of late. But I can't argue that whenever you come into the game you give your all and never give up. Few people play with as much heart as you do.
To Jon Brockman, you are the embodiment of what this team has come to mean: The underdog who fights on no matter the odds and plays with the same consistent effort night in and night out. We really appreciate what you do every game.
To Kenny Thomas, you have been the epitome of professional this year. After residing in the dog house for the past couple years (no pun intended), you've finally found your way into the rotation and are ready whenever your number is called.
To Sean May, you haven't really gotten a chance yet, but by all accounts you're a great teammate and a good guy, so I hope things eventually work out for you.
To Kevin Martin and Francisco Garcia, it must be frustrating not being able to be out on the court and helping your team win, but I love how visible and supportive you guys have both been on the bench and in helping to mentor the other young guys. In the long run, your injuries have prepared these guys for the future, and the team as a whole is going to be better off for it once you both come back. So get well soon and I can't wait to see you guys back on the court again.
To Paul Westphal and the coaching staff, you guys have done an amazing job refocusing this franchise and bringing back hope and excitement to a team that was in desperate need of it. No coaching staff in all of the NBA this year has gotten more out its team than what you guys have done with this young group of guys in Sacramento. You've proven the doubters wrong, both here and in the national media. So enjoy your stay here Paul, because I think its going to be a long one.
So thank you to all of you guys. We spend so much time watching you, studying you, celebrating and commiserating with you, that its awesome to watch guys give it there all on the court, and off the court. You guys make me proud to be a Sacramento Kings fan once again, no matter the wins or losses.