GOOD: The Kings blasted the Hornets 40-24 in the first quarter.
BAD: The Hornets outscored the Kings in every subsequent quarter.
GOOD: In a balanced effort, no one took more than 12 shots.
BAD: In a balanced effort, Kevin Martin got the same number of FGAs as Kenny Thomas and one less than Corliss Williamson.
GOOD: Ron Artest continues to play out of his gourd on offense, going 7 for 12 from the floor, 3 of 4 from three, and 4 of 6 from the line for 21 points. He also tied a career high with 9 assists.
BAD: Desmond Mason, being guarded almost exclusively by Artest, went 8 for 13 with 17 points.
GOOD: Ron-Ron had 5 more steals.
BAD: He added 4 turnovers.
GOOD: Big Nasty had 8 rebounds in just 26 minutes. Shareef added 6 and Miller pulled in 7.
BAD: In what was quite possibly the worst rebounding performance in Sacramento Kings history, the team got a grand total of 2 offensive rebounds in 30 opportunities (6.6%), and allowed New Orleans to get 13 offensive boards in 48 opportunities (27%). For comparison's sake, David Lee of the Knicks gets an offensive rebound on 12.2% of his opportunities. David Lee is one dude. The Kings, theoretically, have five dudes on the floor at any given time. Yet in last night's game, Lee would've been twice as good as the entire Kings five in offensive rebounding. (This is only slight hyperbole.)
Three straight wins are great, don't get me wrong. I'm even on the verge of demoting Lotto Watch as a superstitious precaution of sorts. (However, since I haven't updated it since before the Denver win, I'm not updating it until the Kings lose. I also did not step on the foul lines and wore Bulls shorts to bed last night.) But shouldn't we calm down a bit here? It's one thing to hear the fellows on KHTK in the morning start chatting up the playoffs again, and it's expected that some optimistic fans would start getting excited. But this bandwagon is getting loaded up a little too fast for my tastes - we all realize this was the Minnesota Sinking Ships, the Answer-less Nuggets, and a way-over-their-heads Hornets team, right?
Big wins, close wins, exciting wins - they're all wins. But I fear we're losing sight of the 26 losses that we've seen. The terrible shooting we've seen. The inability to defend consistently, to hang onto the ball when it matters, the rebound at even an average level.
Three-game win streaks do not a playoff run make. If the team can continue to hold serve at ARCO and steal some road games, then we'll talk postseason. But right now, that is still a dream, a mirage. The Kings haven't proved anything.
(I'd love to be wrong and get to watch Ron-Ron punch Raja Bell, Josh Howard, or Manu Ginobili in the first round. I'd love to be wrong about this.)
(Oh, if anyone finds video of the Bobby Jackson sneaker-kicking incident, let me know. Highest of hilarity.)