The Sacramento Kings finished their long Eastern road trip off strong, leading from the opening moments all through the halfway mark of the fourth quarter. But behind the unstoppable Joe Johnson, the Atlanta Hawks came back and finished with a 100-98 win. Johnson had 36, including the deciding points as he hit a pair of free throws with 0.6 seconds left in the game. With the score tied at 98, J.J. drove right on Tyreke Evans, pulled up and drew a foul as 'Reke caught the All-Star's forearm on the way up. Johnson hit both. After a timeout, DeMarcus Cousins launched a midcourt inbounds pass into the crowd on what appeared to be an attempted backdoor alley-oop. (Go big or go home, 'nyatches.)
Seconds before J.J.'s game-clinching free throws, Evans had schooled Damien Wilkins to put in an easy layup to tie the game at 98-98. Hawks coach Larry Drew had inserted Wilkins, a 31-year-old veteran roleplayer who averages a few minutes a week, specifically to guard 'Reke on the important possession, thus conceding any votes he would have gotten for Coach of the Year.
Cousins led the Kings in the scoring ledger with 20 points. In his best game of the six-game road trip, DMC shot 8-19 from the floor and 4-6 from the line, and added eight rebounds and two blocks. Beno Udrih completed his Road Trip of Fortune with 17 points on 8-15 shooting. Unfortunately, a decapitation attempt by Zaza Pachulia at the end of the third quarter rendered Udrih less than effective in the fourth; after Zaza's clothesline (which, knock me over with a bowling ball, did not draw a flagrant), Beno was 0-1 from the floor, 0-2 from the line and had a turnover. Pachulia is no longer welcome in Slovenia, Sacramento or Tasmania.
Donte Greene earned a surprise start due to a calf strain for Francisco Garcia. Greene was solid, with seven points on 3-6 shooting, 11 big rebounds, and just one turnover. He was asked to cover everyone from Johnson to Josh Smith, and played a stint at two-guard as Paul Westphal went with a Samuel Dalembert-Jason Thompson-Carl Landry frontcourt in the second half.
The Kings shot just 1-9 from long-range. Omri Casspi played very limited minutes due to Greene's lengthy burn and the Landry-at-SF shenanigans. Dalembert led the Kings with four assists. Samuel Dalembert led the Kings with four assists. Samuel Davis Dalembert led the Kings with four assists.
Sacramento hosts the Portland Trail Blazers on
Tuesday Wednesday night. The Blazers at playing a late game against the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight in the Rose Garden. When the Kings land at Sacramento International Airport, they will be their fourth city since Friday night.