After only allowing one team (the Milwaukee Bucks) to break the century mark in the team's first six games this season, we thought we had seen the beginning of The Musselman Era, with a gritty defensive focus. But now, after a pair of unsightly losses, and one unsightly win, the Kings have given up an average of 112 points in the last three contests, and that's simply not going to win ballgames, boys and girls.
As we cautioned prior to tonight's contest, letting a world-class team like the San Antonio Spurs run up and down the floor, unhindered, is trouble.
That's not to say the game wasn't physical. Three players, including Kenny Thomas, left for stitches. In fact, KT matched his scoring total (2) with the number of stitches he got in his lip (2), according to the official AP game recap. But, physical or not, the Kings didn't have any answer for Tim Duncan, who posted 35 points and 14 boards.
Meanwhile, on offense, the shot distribution certainly raised questions. Artest has been called out for his less than stellar shooting percentages, so why did he put up 20 shots and make nine, when the team's best shooter, Kevin Martin, put up 11, and made six? Seems to me if you reverse those shooting options, we could possibly have reversed the game's outcome, or at least, made it closer. Give Kevin Martin the ball, and let him lead.
So, against the team's toughest opponent so far in this young season, the Kings didn't pull out the victory, leaving their home record at 4-1, while the Spurs pull away and extend their road record to 5-0, a franchise best.
And in the darkness... one bright note. Jason Hart surpised many by entering late in the game and posting 7 points in two minutes of garbage time. Saturday's Bee profiled his position with the Kings, and to no surprise, he's looking for more playing time. (After finally playing, Hart ponders future)