So, 10-17 is bad. 7-9 at home is bad. A second five-game losing streak is bad. Dead last in the Pacific Division for most of December is bad.
Losing to four last-place teams before New Year's is bad. Remember, the Knicks were in the Atlantic cellar at 0-5 when they came in and stomped the Kings at ARCO. So were the Southwest Division's Rockets. We lost a tight one in Charlotte (last place in the Southeast) a week prior to last night's embarassment against Portland (last place in the Northwest).
The only division whose last place team we haven't lost to is the Central. The key there? We haven't played last-place Chicago (who would likely be the best team in the Atlantic and second-best team in the Southeast). Don't fret - we are 0-3 against the Central, though.
The elusive sixth last-place team in the league has beaten Sacramento pretty consistently throughout the season, because the sixth last-place team is Sacramento.
Monday night was one of those games - stupid little turnovers, a lack of defensive effort from most of the team, a failure in execution. The fact that the highest Game Score on the team was a 15.1 illustrates that rather clearly.
Peja 15.1 18.3
Reef 14.9 16.6
Miller 14.0 15.1
Bibby 12.3 12.6
Martin 11.0 16.9
Garcia 8.0 16.8
Price 3.9 15.6
Skinner 2.6 14.9
Thomas 1.9 6.3
Nasty -0.7 -5.6
Hart -0.8 -5.3
Price, Garcia and Skinner were the only Kings that showed any sort of energy outside Quarter 1, though Shareef had his moments. Bibby was ice cold. And when Bibby's ice cold, he's just a waste of a player out there.
Peja, whose back injury I'm convinced was a setup, was red hot early but cooled off considerably as the game went on. Again, if he's not shooting well, he adds little (though he's much better defensively than Bibby).
Brad was hitting the boards well - he finished with 12 overall. But he wasn't sneaking any passes inside, he wasn't springing Bibby free and he wasn't getting a lot of really open looks (despite shooting 5-10).
Shareef was consistent ole Shareef - 8-15, 18 points, 2 blocks, mostly acceptable defense on ZBo (who can apparentlyt hit the 18-footer now). You'd like to see Reef get some more rebounds, especially on this poor rebounding team. But beggars can't be choosers.
Price is quickly making Jason Hart irrelevant. Actually, The Hitman - whose acquisition I absolutely loved this offseason - is making The Hitman irrelevant. I think his problem is that he's a slave to Adelman's system when the bench certainly doesn't have those parts. He needs to just play point guard when he's out there. Find an open man. Take open shots. Just play, Jason.
That said, I think Price is our best defensive guard right now, along with being explosive on offense. He had a couple of sure assists go astray because teammates just didn't know they were coming last night (including the drop-off to Reef for what should've been an easy dunk).
Kevin Martin, one of my favorite players, has been beyond disappointing in his two starts. He seemed to take on the laissez-faire attitude of the starters when we all hoped he would bring some fire and explosiveness to the floor. Lazy passes, no motion away from the ball, nothing. He's actually like a faster Peja out there, and one who can't hit a jumper. It's further magnified because Bonzi was so busy in the starting lineup - it was pretty clear last night how much this team misses that.
(And what about the f'n Kingsblogger? What the hell was that starting lineup? Two out five right on Portland and four out of five on the team he covers? What a lout. Game Score for TZ? -5.0. Fire TZ! Fire TZ!)
More than anything, this drifting cause needs a kick in the groin. (NOTE: We're not talking about TZ anymore. Thanks.) Be it trade or firing, it needs to be done. I can't imagine there will too many more losses to last-place teams - or first-place teams, like the one the Kings are visiting tonight - before the axe falls on someone.