It appears once again that this new defensive identity is no fluke.
The Kings offense was good Wednesday night - they scored 99 points on about 92 possessions. That works out to roughly an offensive rating of 108 - about 2 percent over league average traditionally.
But that defense? It held Detroit - the 5th-best offense in the nation, and the #2 offense last season - to 86 points on 92 possessions, for a defensive rating of 93. That's traditionally 12 percent better than league average.
I don't think the Kings will finish the season with the league's best defense. Outside of the Pistons, Sacramento hasn't faced an elite offense yet, with Milwaukee being the biggest test. And remember, Milwaukee's offense thoroughly outplayed Sacramento's defense.
But that top-ten D I predicted before the season started isn't looking like a longshot, is it?
The Kings were just plain nasty on the floor - beating the Pistons to every spot on the court, getting almost every loose ball, roughing them up inside. Getting 36 percent of all offensive rebound opportunities against a helluva rebounding team (even post-Ben) is no joke. These Kings have an edge, a purpose on the court. It's the new Sacramento identity.
On offense, just thank the lord for Kevin Martin's third quarter. And the starring role for The Nasty One proves Eric Musselman reads the newspaper. Mike Bibby is recovering before our eyes - only three turnovers and some nice looking perimeter shots. These three days off (with no practice today) should help things, too.
Most of all, the home court energy is exactly where it was during the Spurs series. Us Sacramentans, we don't need to be warmed up. We are ready for a return to prominence. (Even Suge Knight was geeked. Let's hope RONNIE PRICE! didn't get hung out a window after the contest.)
(And yes, from now on it's RONNIE PRICE!. You laughed when I unveiled the Ronnie Price t-shirt and rolled your eyes when I asked whether he was the best defensive point guard in the league. Just wait...)