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The Easy Button

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Not unexpectedly, the Kings played better but still lost to the Rockets in Houston, 98-89.

Everyone and their foxy grandma knew the early stretch would be tough - at Houston, at Phoenix and at Denver are no cakewalks, and Detroit is still the two-time defending Eastern Conference champ, even if the Kings have played them well recently. NOOCH should've been the easy win, and well, we know how that went.

Is this squad destined for 0-6? Is there any way Phoenix or Denver goes down in their gym, or that that gold standard sixth man crap weighs heavily to give SAC the win over the apparent offensive juggernaut Pistons?

There needs to be an easy button here, a game to give these players some confidence that they can win any day against any team. A win in the next four games could do that - I think it's real unlikely they'll be favored in any of them, so a win is an upset win.

I'd say Detroit is the most likely target. They'll want to slow it down to keep the Natomas faithful quiet. That could play into the Kings' gameplan, who need that patience on offense.

As everyone (including the Bee's headline) is saying, last night was much better. There was actually a glimpse of brilliance in the first few minutes, when everything was going down.

Peja missed some lay-ups, shots that will go down nine games out of 10. He could've had 16 points if he'd gotten the rolls.

Bibby's shot is looking disgusting - he needs to try to get to the rack to create when the shot isn't falling. Two free throw attempts in 36 minutes isn't acceptable, especially when Rafer Alston, not exactly a defensive stalwart, is your counterpart.

Shareef is looking magnificent. Six offensive rebounds last night. We're not used to that from anyone, let alone our starting power forward. He makes a few questionable decisions, but he'll learn to pass out when he's not in his spot.

Bonzi Bonzi Bonzi. I have to admit that I didn't expect him to take this many shots. He took 11 in game 1 and 16 against Houston. I saw him as more of a Doug Christie type on offense, but he clearly sees himself as a focal point. It's hard to complain when a 6'5 guy puts up a Dwight Howard-like 22 and 18 (including as many offensive boards as 6'10 Peja had in total boards). But I still feel that Bonzi is controlling the offense too much (he had seven turnovers, too). Maybe that can explain the Invisible Bibby.

Oh, and everything I said about SAC's bench being exciting and deep? Forget it. Note to KT: If you're pulling a Gilbert Arenas because you're pissed about the starting job, you're doing a bad job. Not taking the reins while you're in will only get you less minutes, not more. Please try to score. Thank you.