This story begins at the end. The Kings found themselves down 3 to the Memphis Grizzlies with 17 seconds left. In a timeout, Keith Smart drew up a play. A play that camera crews caught DeMarcus Cousins reacting hilariously to. In execution we understood Cousins' reaction. The play was a mess. The play took over 10 seconds off the clock, and ended with Isaiah Thomas being forced to settle for a layup. Following the layup, Marcus Thornton nearly stole a lazy inbound pass by Marc Gasol, but lost the ball out of bounds. The Kings were able to foul quickly, and Mike Conley (an 84% free throw shooter) missed his second attempt. DeMarcus gathered the rebound and immediately called a timeout. The Kings had 5.4 seconds remaining.
The final play involved DeMarcus setting three screens before the inbounds, and a fourth screen once Jimmer Fredette had inbounded to Marcus Thornton. Marc Gasol switched onto Thornton, and Tayshaun Prince stayed with Thornton and trapped. Thornton pumped several times, and finally attempted a three. Gasol was all over Thornton, and barely jumped to block the would-be game-winner. It was a disappointing end to winnable game.
Now, how did we get to that point? I have no idea.
Don't get me wrong, I watched the game. But it was ugly, and felt like the Grizzlies should have been leading by 10-20 points by the time the fourth quarter came around. The Kings shot 35.8% for the game. The Grizzlies shot 43%, so while it wasn't a great shooting night for either team, it was amazing that the Kings stayed with it as long as they did. Tyreke Evans shot 1-7 from the field. Isaiah Thomas shot 5-13. Thornton, he of the attempted game winner, shot 2-13 for the night. Jason Thompson was 1-5, and was limited by foul trouble. John Salmons shot 1-4. It was truly a disastrous night from the field.
Isaiah did finish with 18 points, going 7-10 from the charity stripe. He also finished with eight assists and six rebounds. DeMarcus Cousins, back in the starting line-up after Friday's limited appearance, led the Kings with 22 points and nine rebounds. I was impressed he kept his cool as well as he did in this game. Gasol and Zach Randolph were playing very physical, and I wouldn't have been shocked if DeMarcus had lost his cool. Toney Douglas and Jimmer Fredette were key contributors off the bench, finishing with 14 and 13 points, respectively.
James Johnson and Travis Outlaw, crunch time players in Friday's loss, both received DNP-CDs. The Kings were without Patrick Patterson, who sat out with a sore back. Chuck Hayes saw 29 minutes of playing time, following a DNP-CD on Friday.
If you have any explanation of how the Kings stayed in the game, please let us know in the comments.
For the opponent's perspective, check out Grizzly Bear Blues.