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SACRAMENTO KINGS
     28  18  22  34     102
MILWAUKEE BUCKS       26  21  21  21      89  
BOXSCORE | GAMEFLOW | SACBEE

As the great Tupac Shakur once said, "You live by the balanced lifestyle, you die by the balanced lifestyle." Wait... maybe that's not right. Live by the... antibiotic? Contraceptive? Daily multivitamin? I don't know, something like that. Whatever the exact term, the sentiment translates to the Kings.

This team is erratic. Of course, you knew that. You watched snug home wins over San Antonio and Utah; you watched huge letdowns of spirit against Golden State and the Clippers in the very same building. You watched a parched road team match Boston quail for quail for 36 minutes only to end up scattering some crow in the final 12. You think '.500 team' and you think 'consistently mediocre.' There's another type of .500 team -- the consistently inconsistent.

In New Jersey and in Milwaukee, the threes fell -- 23 for 51 combined, or 56%. Beno Udrih hit six of seven last night. Ron Artest spread six of nine between the two games. This was obviously performance above normal efficiency. Either they both become incredible deep shooters, or they end up with some worse shooting at some point so things even out. Yes, it's pathetic and morose to look forward to the other boot dropping -- I'm not. I'm just expecting it.

At 11-14, a lot of folks are bellowing about a 'team on the rise.' Things are swimming right now. Things are incredible and fun and almost magick. That was an insanely fun game to watch, and I'm glad I forsake Boston-Detroit (though it was apparently a dandy too). But the Kings are not suddenly road warriors. The Kings are not suddenly 'good.' This team is still three games under .500, still three games out of playoff contention, still only 1.5 games out of last place in the division. This team is still 3-10 on the road. It's a better team than we expected and a better team than we are entitled to given the talent situation. But it's not a good team.

That's fine -- it's a fun team, it's a rebuilding year, most of the talent is exceeding expectations which helps the rebuild process by either letting Geoff Petrie know what he's got here (Salmons, Udrih) or letting other GMs know what Petrie's got here (Miller, Artest). I'm enjoying this team immensely -- certainly loads more than last year's version. But enjoyment isn't going to let me ruin the rest of the year by leading to overconfidence.

Winning games you aren't supposed to win? For a fan, that's fun. Losing games you think you should be winning? That's not fun. Keep a realistic vision of this team, and you're much less likely to be disappointed.

< / peeing_in_cereal>