All season, the biggest defense problem for the Kings has been a dearth of resistance in the interior. The Kings allow the league's fourth worst opposing field goal percentage at the rim, allowing opponents to shoot 63.7 percent within five feet. Switching up the starting line-up didn't help: Atlanta shot 75 percent at the rim on its way to a solid victory over Sacramento. The Hawks also happened to win a ton of second chances (11 in 35 opportunities, 31 percent), capitalizing on the Kings' lack of defensive rebounding prowess.
The record player's broke, and ain't no one on this roster fixing it.
The Kings desperately, desperately need better defense and rebounding in the middle. Old news, I know, but it's still the answer. It's still the gaping hole. Hilton Armstrong sure didn't look like the answer in his 10 minutes. Spencer Hawes played 12 minutes, and finished second on the team in rebounding (his five tied 36 minutes of Jason Thompson, trailing only Omri Casspi's eight). He was a +2, and genuinely helped the team. Where's that in his starts? Where's the positive impact then? Meanwhile, Thompson got on track a bit on offense, but got lost on some awful team defensive efforts (miscommunication galore), and didn't finish a few attempts he needs to convert. That's the state of the frontcourt. It's not pretty.
Kevin Martin and Tyreke Evans did lovely work. Martin went for 23 points on 20 shots, with four rebounds, five assists and one turnover. Evans scored 24 on 19 shots, with five assists and one turnover. Each also had two steals. By anecdote (with plus-minus agreeing), Martin played the better defense, though in fairness Evans guarded Joe Johnson most of the time, with Martin on Mike Bibby and/or Jamal Crawford. Regardless, Martin and Evans should have won the Kings this game. Forty-seven points on 39 shots from your starting backcourt, with only two turnovers to 10 assists? That should get it done.
They need help.