Losses like this are funny. Not ha-ha funny, not "Football in the Groin" funny. I just don't know how to react to games like this.
If the team were contending for the postseason, it'd be an obvious heartbreaker. Brandon Roy and no one else beat the Kings in the last 30 seconds or so, getting off his first brilliant offensive play of the day on one end, denying Ron Artest in the post and drawing a charge on Francisco Garcia on the other end. And really, those 30 seconds or so sum up the beauty of Roy completely -- he knows exactly what he is doing on the court. He'll never shoot like Kevin Martin or dish like Deron Williams, but he is a complete player with an AMAZING feel for the game. Without Roy, people wouldn't be imagining a string of NBA championships for Greg Oden and LaMarcus Aldridge. Roy is the piece that sends this team's fortune out of the atmosphere.
If this were late in the season and the Kings were more concerned with lottery placement than anything, this might have been an encouraging game. Martin played well early and late, Garcia played well until the fourth quarter, Mikki Moore continued to show signs of life, Artest was -- per usual -- a beast. Beno Udrih actually passed to Martin for a change (note: this immediately followed a Martin-to-Udrih assist), setting up the potential game-winning three. It went in, of course, but Roy's comeback was the easiest bucket of the night for Portland. This was Sacramento's closest call on the road -- the Minnesota game was tight, but you never got to the point where you felt the Kings would win. Last night? When Martin nailed that three (and celebrated with an homage to Mike Bibby's giant testicle Dungeness crab mating dance), I thought the game was over. Martin had scored 7 points in a couple minutes; the Kings defense had ratcheted up, frustrating Aldridge and keeping Roy away from open space. It didn't work out, with the game coming down to another bizarre finish (which benefitted the Kings, like Tuesday's shot clock fiasco) but of which the Kings could not capitalize on (this time with the Kings unable to field Miller's tip). But this team will win on the road at some point, just not today. The loss isn't so bad when they come so frequent, and the encouraging parts make up for whatever frustration there is.
But we're not quite to the point where we can chalk up bonehead losses to sentiments of meh. Losing sucks, for us and for the team. I guarantee the players hated that loss, especially Garcia. (How he didn't see Martin open on that dribble-drive at the end is beyond comprehension.) While I can't get as worked up about a game like this as opposed to <random close loss from 2000-2006>, it's not like you can be bright and cheery looking at the box score or reading the game stories. It sucks...
...which is why I hope Geoff Petrie speeds up this rebuilding thing. I can't take three years of close losses that mean nothing.