Why am I not surprised?
Earlier today, around 6:00 PM Pacific, the Golden State Warriors made a big trade, sending Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh and Kwame Brown to the Milwaukee Bucks for Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson. Stephen Curry, Golden State's other young star, also was out for the night nursing his ankle. This should have left the door wide open for the Kings to easily win, right?
Wrong. The remaining Warriors played more cohesively and with more energy than this Kings team and ended up giving Sacramento possibly its worse loss of the year. Every single Warriors player that saw court time scored. Six Warriors scored at least 14 points or more. The Warriors, with only two real big men after the trade, also outrebounded Sacramento, who had gotten J.J. Hickson back as well. You would have also probably thought the Kings would have had the advantage in the paint, but Golden State also beat the Kings there, with 50 points in the paint to just 38 for Sacramento. There was almost no category in which the Warriors didn't outperform the Kings in.
David Lee (17 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists) and Nate Robinson (17 points) carried the Warriors team early, and they received a ton of help in the second half as Dorell Wright (14 points, 10 rebounds), Brandon Rush (17 points, 8 rebounds) and Charles Jenkins (15 points) caught fire. Klay Thompson, after a poor start, also seemed to find a rhythm in the second half and chipped in 14 points himself to go with 4 boards and 5 assists.
Sacramento had a good gameplan early to get the ball down low to DeMarcus Cousins and try to take advantage of the dearth of Warriors big men, but they went away from that strategy too often and were stymied a couple of times when they did by the excellent Warriors help defense (which killed the Kings all night). Cousins finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Kings in both categories. Tyreke Evans also had his way with the Warriors early but petered off in the second half. He finished with 16 points on an efficient 8 of 14 from the field. Isaiah Thomas (15 points) and Francisco Garcia (11 points) were the only other Kings to finish in double figures.
Things really fell apart for Sacramento in the second half. The Kings continued to overhelp on defense, leaving Warriors sharpshooters like Wright or Rush wide open. Even with all that, the Kings still managed to have the game only down 4 points with less than a minute left in the 4th quarter. It all went to hell from that point on though.
With the Warriors up 77-73 with 52 seconds left, the Kings played relatively good defense on the other end, but bad switches left Isaiah Thomas out of position and on the much taller Brandon Rush, who easily hit a three pointer over Thomas to give Golden State a 7 point lead with 29 seconds left. On the other end, Isaiah dribbled into a crowd and lost the ball, one of 13 Kings' turnovers (the Warriors had just 7 for the game). Dorell Wright came up with it and as he was preparing for a dunk, got nearly decapitated by Tyreke Evans mistaking his face for a basketball. Evans was called for a Flagrant Foul, and Wright hit one of two Free Throws. What really epitomized this game though was the Warriors inbound play: a simple pass right to an open Brandon Rush in the corner for three points. Rush is shooting 46.4% from three this year and has already killed the Kings. You'd think they'd know to maybe cover him. But instead, just like that it was an 11 point lead heading into the final period.
The final period was more of the same, and just a straight massacre of the Kings defense. The Kings offense wasn't much better, as they only scored 16 points in the final quarter to Golden State's 31. By the time it was over, the Warriors had built up the lead to 26 points, which was the final difference. The look on the faces of the Kings bench said it all; That was not a happy place.
Marcus Thornton, who had been playing so well of late, scored just 9 points on 13 shots. Oddly, he also led the team in assists, but that isn't saying much considering he had just three and the Kings had just 11 for the entire game (second lowest total of the season), compared to 20 for the Warriors. Jason Thompson, who has had big games against the Warriors in the past, played just 15 minutes as he was getting abused by David Lee, and had just 2 points, but also 9 rebounds all in the first quarter.
Sacramento's bench also failed to step up like it had been. The Warriors dominated the bench scoring 47-28, with only Francisco Garcia getting much going with 11 points on 8 shots. John Salmons had 6 points and no other statistic but a turnover in 19 minutes. Chuck Hayes didn't score but had 3 rebounds in 11 minutes. He also couldn't stop David Lee. Travis Outlaw was put into the game to try to stop Lee, and guess what, he couldn't. Outlaw finished with 5 points and 3 rebounds. Jimmer Fredette looked like early season Jimmer, scoring just 3 points on 6 shots and contributing nothing else. Hassan Whiteside got a few minutes of garbage time and had 3 points (including a nice hook) and a couple boards.
J.J. Hickson returned from a 6 game absence due to injury to play 6 minutes and didn't score but did have 4 rebounds and a steal.
It's hard to look at the way this Kings team played tonight and think that they have also beaten the Lakers, Thunder, Spurs and Mavericks. This is a team that seems to need some extra motivation before games, whether it be the opponent or the atmosphere in the building. That's not something a good team needs. The Kings are not a good team, not yet. The Kings need to find motivation within themselves to go out every night and compete hard.
Probably fortunately for the Kings, they won't get much of a chance to dwell on this abomination of a game as they play again tomorrow when Detroit comes into town.