I want to give Isaiah Thomas and Ben McLemore a big hug and tell them "it's not your fault." Over and over again.
The Kings started strong, showing a lot of energy in the first quarter against the Atlanta Hawks. The collapse came in the second quarter. The Kings looked lifeless. DeMarcus Cousins looked angry and checked out. It was like a bad flashback to last season.
As Cousins' frustration grew, the meltdown was inevitable. Cousins picked up three quick fouls, including one that was originally called as a flagrant. The refs reviewed, and as you can see below the foul was clearly sold by Al Horford, and the refs correctly reduced the flagrant to a standard foul.
But the damage was done. Cousins was benched with about 6 minutes remaining in the third, and saw limited minutes in the fourth. Cousins has double-teamed regularly, and really had trouble with Al Horford on both ends of the floor. Tonight was bad DeMarcus.
The stars of the night were Isaiah Thomas and Ben McLemore. With the game seeming all but over, IT and McLemore created a spark. The crowd, which had been booing the Kings, was suddenly cheering again. Somehow, the Kings found themselves cutting into the lead. The Kings closed to within three points with 30 seconds remaining, but the comeback was too little, too late.
The Kings looked terrible for most of the game tonight. Poor decisions, poor shooting, and poor effort. If the Kings had played a complete game, they could have won the game with ease. Instead, a winnable game slips away.
Isaiah finished with 26 points and five assists. McLemore finished with 15 points. The Hawks were led by 27 points from Horford, with Paul Millsap adding 25 points of his own.
For the opponent's perspective, check out Peachtree Hoops, our excellent Hawks blog.
Akis will have a full recap Wednesday morning. Wednesday night Hawks blogger Bo Churney will be joining me on the Sactown Royalty Show to discuss the game.