I'd love to tell you all about the tremendous finish in two overtimes for the Kings. But um, double overtime + TiVo set to record three hours for a game = three missed minutes of game time.
Reading that Kevin Martin closed out the proceedings with four made free throws brought relief. Reading he added a nails three in someone's face? Ecstacy. Because I heard Grant Napear's sardonic remark when Martin opened overtime with his first points in 15 minutes, and I could hear those same sentiments coming from around the cynics of Kings nation if Speed Racer didn't make an impact late. Seven points in two minutes to ice a game... that'll do, good sir.
Seeing that John Salmons added a huge offensive rebound with seconds left, that made me smile. Salmons got lumped into the 'Petrie's lost it' chatter last season; he's clearly the best free agent signing for the team over the past three years. (Justin Williams and Beno Udrih will attempt to ascend that list.) Salmons was fantastic, even with a few painful turnovers. He can clearly exist in effectiveness from the bench, and judging by the team's dry spell in the late 3rd and early 4th quarters when Martin got a breather, Sacramento desperately needs Johnny to create when he's out there.
Udrih made some strides, making much better decisions, not the least of which were a) attacking the basket to start Overtime #2 and b) apparently finding Martin for that late three. He has room to grow, of course, but he's a) young and b) new to the team. I'm much more comfortable with him in the game all of a sudden, though I'm not sure I see him as a future legit starting point guard on a good team. Spencer Hawes had about the most encouraging 6 point, 0 rebound game I've ever seen; that blocked shot on Malik Rose wasn't quite Dikembe-esque, but I'll take it.
And I hardly need to mention Ron Artest. You know he gets up for Knicks games. He made almost no terrible decisions, which is pretty much the only thing you need from Ron-Ron. You know he'll bring the rest. The gambit played when he flopped on an Eddy Curry 'push' -- ballsy and smart. Not mutually exclusive, especially with Ron.
But all in all, we didn't learn anything from this game beyond maybe Salmons' ability in this role and Udrih's limitations/potential. I mean, we knew all this:
- Kevin Martin is freaking incredible.
- Ron Artest is the most consistently desperate player in the league.
- The Kings cannot defend.
- Close games will always be frightening endeavors.