Kings Can't Execute Late, Fall to Portland 94-90

Ugh.

That was not a fun game to watch.  Once again, the Kings had control of a basketball game in the final minutes, but couldn't execute well enough down the stretch to secure the victory.  By all rights, this game shouldn't have gone to overtime.  The Kings led 81-73 with 4 minutes left in the 4th quarter, and Portland ended up finishing off the quarter with a 12-4 run.  There were a few offensive possessions during that span for Sacramento that were just terrible.  No ball movement, just long jumpers or turnovers.  Boy did the Kings have a lot of turnovers.  19 in fact, most by Tyreke Evans (5) or DeMarcus Cousins (4).

Overtime wasn't much better for Sacramento.  They could not for the life of them get a shot to fall, and the last play they ran when they were down 4 resulted in a turnover as Casspi opted to drive to the basket for some reason, when the only hope was to shoot a three.  Casspi had a rough shooting night, including a big three that just rimmed out that would've put the Kings up in OT.  Still, he played well in other areas, tallying 11 boards, 3 assists and 2 steals.

The Kings were led by Beno Udrih (20 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists) on offense, who had another brilliant night offensively, shooting 8-12 and inexplicably not getting fed the ball late in the game despite being the most reliable scorer the Kings have.  Samuel Dalembert also had his best game as a King, playing some stellar defense as well as being reliable on the offensive end (15 points on 6-7 shooting).  He also led the game in rebounding with 12.

The Blazers executed several of their plays really well, running the offense either through LaMarcus Aldridge in the post or Andre Miller on the side.  It's obvious that Miller is a great floor general, but he's just so boring to watch.  Boring can be effective though, and Miller came up big in both the final minutes of regulation and OT.  

The Blazers defense is really fun to watch if you're into that sort of thing.  Their rotations are good, and they have the length and  quickness to close down quickly on outside shooters, as well as to make it hard for opposing teams to go inside.  

Nicolas Batum was probably the player of the game though, scoring 24 points and playing solid defense.  He is probably my favorite young prospect in the league, and I'd trade anyone on the team besides Tyreke or DeMarcus for him.

Speaking of DeMarcus, I'm taking the blame for his poor performance.  Not the Blazer's defense, not Joel Przybilla, and not his poor shot selection, but me.  I jinxed the poor guy into shooting how he did.  Earlier this morning I had an e-mail exchange with Ziller.  Here's the actual (seriously I'm not making this up) exchange with the jinx in bold italics:

A16:  "Just letting you know I'll be going to the game tonight. I also might try to ask Beno a few questions, gonna do a piece on him for SB Bay Area. I never thought I'd say this but beyond the young guys like DeMarcus and Reke on the team, Beno might just be my favorite player right now."

TZ: "You've drunk the Beno Kool-aid! Just wait for his next 2-11 shooting performance. /cold water /i'm a jerk"

A16: "... DeMarcus is more likely to have a 2-11 performance before Beno does /i'm a bigger jerk"

DeMarcus's Final line for the night? 5 points on 2-11 shooting. I'm an ass.  Sorry Boogie.

Anyways, the Kings need to learn from these games.  Just like the road trip, they're failing to execute at critical times and its costing them games.  On to Golden State, revenge, and a better tomorrow.

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