Pondering the game
He becomes one with the flow
Seizing the moment
Being behind near the end of a game is like hitting the wall in a marathon - trying to pry loose the ball from a team smelling victory and from opposing fans getting boisterous and jubilant. But what sublime feeling - to keep the pressure on, to keep trying, to push yourself just a little bit longer - to make a game-winning steal. It takes a great player to do that, and despite the way it may look, it is never luck. - From Stuff Good Players Should Know, by Dick Devenzo, original publication date 1983
What happened in the fourth quarter against the Indiana Pacers was unusual for the Sacramento Kings this season, in light of the number of blowouts they have endured. It is even unusual looking back at previous seasons in the Post Rick Adelman era, when the team experienced many close games, losing by just a few points in the fourth quarter. The team just needs to learn to close out games was the usual refrain.
What happened last night was a turn-around of past fourth quarter experiences. The Sacramento Kings were the ones to emerge the victors with the Pacers left to scratch their heads to ponder what had happened to them. Coach Smart used the element of surprise to confuse the opponents with a Zone Defense maneuver. You'd have thought he had thrown a bucketful of banana peels on the floor with the way it seemed to throw off their game.
How many times have the Sacramento Kings been leading a game, only to have the rug pulled out from under them in the last few minutes of the game. The table was turned last night and Coach Keith Smart was a large reason that the Pacers are studying tape of what went wrong today. For a change, it was the Kings who snookered the other guys by a crafty coach.
Could this be the beginning of a new era for the Kings? A coach who operates like a tactician, performing clever maneuvers at critical junctures of the game? It may be too early to assess the workings of the new head coach, but the future looks intriguing.