(If you don't feel like sitting through this recap, just go read these three comments from the game thread and you'll find my sentiments are similar.)
You know how I called Chris Sheridan silly for indicating Reggie Theus had already started to lose the locker room? I think I might have jumped the gun there a little bit. Apologies, Chris.
I can safely say no one but Beno Udrih was happy about that game. John Salmons apparently stormed out of the locker room after the game. I don't blame him. Yes, I've been hard on him with respects to ignoring the other folks on the floor. But Jesus, he's been playing his ass off. He plays hard. He deserves more than 26 minutes. I know Ron Artest has to be in there, I know Kevin Martin needs 38 minutes or so. Of course. But Mikki Moore with 28 minutes? Beno F. Udrih with 39 minutes?
Seriously, Beno Udrih? He played absolutely unequivocably terrible in Monday's game... so you bench John Salmons and Francisco Garcia (who had a bad, bad night) for him? The box score ended up looking fine for Udrih, so this argument will hold little weight. But Salmons has been your second best player in nearly every game this season. You don't think he could play with Ron and Kevin in the backcourt? He played with Francisco and Kevin for two weeks, and the back court was the strength of the team! And why on Earth would Salmons feel so terrible? He'd finally been freed from the shackles he'd lived under since he first heard the name Allen Iverson. This has been, for all purposes, Salmons first real shot as a starter. And he excelled. And now, through no fault of his own, it's gone. Back to the Philadelphia days, right?
Of course, the game was lost when Reggie Theus went all Zeus on us and pulled Kevin for a "missed defensive assignment" three minutes into the third quarter. What was the "missed defensive assignment," praytell? He didn't leave Rashad McCants (a 52% three-point shooter) to rotate on to Theo Ratliff (a 48% field goal shooter with almost no touch from beyond 10 feet) from 17 feet. He got yanked because he defended the three from the guy who was on fire instead of challenging the long jumper for a 42-year-old center! Sacramento was up 53-51 when Theus yanked Martin out. Minnesota led 61-58 when Martin returned four minutes later. (It took four minutes to make the point you leave hot streak shooters open to challenge long jumpers by 42-year-old centers.) And guess what? BALL GAME. Sacramento could have spread its lead without that ridiculous decision by Theus, and they could have won the game. Instead, they got into a fire fight with McCants (who scored 4 points while Martin was out in the that stretch, by the way). Tremendous strategy. Glad that worked out for the team.
Seriously, that game sucked. I actually felt tore down afterwards.