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Diagramming a Trainwreck

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Obviously, the Kings lost Friday's game in Utah in 12 minutes -- the third quarter. For those busy doing pilates or raking leaves, the game was tied at 50 at the half. The Jazz entered the third quarter leading 94-70. BLARGH. Simply awful.

How did it happen? Take a look, if you dare.

*****

Jazz Poss #1: Mehmet Okur turnaround jumper from 12' over Brad Miller, on a set-up from Deron Williams. 52-50.

Kings Poss #1: Miller misses 16-foot set shot from left side on a set-up by Beno Udrih. Shot taken with 7 seconds left on the shot clock.

Jazz Poss #2: Williams hits a wide open Okur on the right baseline for a wide open 12-footer. Good. 54-50.

Kings Poss #3: Udrih drives from right to left, bounce pass to Miller from the left corner, no good.

Jazz Poss #4: Jazz push in transition, C.J. Miles goes 1-on-1 on John Salmons (with Donté Greene and Mikki Moore arriving just behind the play), Miles takes to the rim and draws an iffy foul. Miles hits both. 56-50.

Kings Poss #4: Udrih sets up Miller from 18 feet straightaway. Missed.

Jazz Poss #5: Williams drives right side, gets caught in traffic, rolls it out to the top of the key, gets it through to Miles for three. Good. 59-50.

Kings call timeout.

Kings Poss #5: Miller passes to Greene, who is coming off a screen at the left elbow. Greene shoots a three ... missed. Udrih chases the long rebound and is fouled. Francisco Garcia comes in for Greene. Miller sets up Salmons from 18-feet, left side of the top of the key. Missed. Garcia offensive rebound in traffic. Udrih gets it on the left side, tosses a lazy lob back to Miller at the top ... batted by Williams. Turnover.

Jazz Poss #6: Williams breaks out and hits Ronnie Brewer in transition. Brewer draws the foul, hits the first, Okur gets the offensive rebound on the second. Williams sets up, penetrates softly to about 12 feet, kicks it back to Okur at the top who swings to Miles left side. Miles takes a three ... missed. 60-50.

Kings Poss #6: Kings move the ball around a bit. Miller hits Garcia in the lane, but there's too much traffic. Garcia dribbles out toward Miller on the left side, stops 15 feet from the basket, turns around, and pulls a trigger on a hurried baseline jumper. Missed.

Jazz Poss #7: Williams presses on a 3-on-2, but Salmons plays it well and the Jazz back out. Williams, from the left side, penetrates softly on a monster screen from Paul Millsap. Williams kicks to Okur at right elbow, from three ... swish. 63-50.

Kings Poss #7: On a high pick from Mikki Moore on the right side, Udrih dribbles to Miller at the top of the key. Moore streaks to the rim, and Udrih shovels to Miller. Okur and Brewer fill the lane, but Miller sends a bounce pass to Moore nonetheless. Turnover.

Jazz Poss #8: The Jazz press, even though the Kings get back. The defense is never set and Okur gets a wide open three from the left elbow. He misses, and the ball hits the shot clock.

Kings Poss #8: Salmons has the ball left baseline. He drives to the rim, keeps his dribble alive under the basket and finds Udrih open at the top. Udrih dribbles to the free throw line -- still open -- and hits the 15-footer. 63-52.

Jazz Poss #9: Miles has the ball right baseline. He crosses Salmons and gets into the lane. The rotation is poor, and Miles scoops in a bucket easily. 65-52.

Kings Poss #9: Miller at the high post. Garcia slips backdoor right baseline. Miller hits him, and Garcia fakes before getting a lay-up. It's the first shot of the half from inside 15 feet for the Kings. 65-54.

Jazz Poss #10: Salmons breaks up the called play on the right side. Eventually, Williams has the ball on the right side. Moore helps push Williams baseline -- great defense from Moore here. But Williams, heading out of bounds, fires a brilliant passes to a streaking Miles, who lost Salmons in a millisecond. Miles hits the lay-up, as Miller's rotation is late. 67-54.

Kings Poss #10: After a loose ball foul on the Jazz, Spencer Hawes enters for Moore. Garcia and Miller set up a high pick-and-roll from the right side on the inbounds play. Garcia flutters towards the lane while Miller cuts hard to the basket, losing Okur, who stepped out on Garcia. Garcia hits MIller perfectly, Millsap challenges, but Miller lays it in. 67-56.

Jazz Poss #11: I think the Kings were a zone here. It's hard to tell, considering Williams just dribbled casually to the right elbow, whipped a pass to the left block ... where Brewer was absolutely wide open and finished with a dunk. I think Okur was supposed to screen Salmons so Brewer could slip backdoor, but Salmons was playing so soft out there (hence, the zone guess) that Okur didn't have to come within three feet of Salmons. Miller watched Okur the whole time, but still wasn't in position to challenge a shot if Williams would have passed it to the left elbow instead. Basically, even though the Jazz ran about the most basic non-iso play in the book, the Kings defended it as poorly as possible. Miller and Salmons might have well as laid down on the ground, put on a sleeping mask and taken some Nyquil. The result would have been no worse, unless Okur decided to tickle Miller. You know, I take it back. Miller's defense on the play was not so bad Okur could have tickled Miller without repercussions. It could have been worse. 69-56.

Kings Poss #11: A decent screen-roll with Miller and Udrih, followed by a give-and-go between Hawes and Udrih ends with a Udrih three from the right corner. Missed. If the Jazz played defense like the Kings played defense, Hawes and/or Miller and/or Udrih would have ended up with a lay-up. Because the Jazz know how to play team defense, the Kings ended up with a Beno Udrih three.

Jazz Poss #12: Williams shrugs off a high pick-and-roll with Millsap, and waits for Millsap to roll out on the right baseline from about 12 feet. Hawes stays with Millsap on the initial roll into the lane, but slags off as Millsap moves away from the basket ... I assume Hawes is waiting for Williams to drive. Williams does not drive, and hits the open Millsap from 12. Millsap hits. Not terrible defense from Hawes -- you'd rather a Millsap fadeaway than a Millsap dunk or a Williams lay-up. 71-56.

Kings Poss #12: Hawes sets up on the left block against Millsap. He backs in and floats into the lane for the hook. Help comes, but no help can defend a Spencer Hawes hook. 71-58.

Jazz Poss #13: Williams moves the ball up quickly, though the Kings get back. Williams drives one-on-one on Udrih into the lane. Garcia helps, but Udrih draws the foul. Hawes rotated a bit late. Miller didn't rotate at all, but he was on the opposite side of the play and he probably ought to stick with Okur anyways. Williams hits one. 72-58.

Kings Poss #13: Salmons goes iso right side, hits a 17-foot turnaround. 72-60.

Jazz Poss #14: Look up "defensive lapse" on Wikipedia. You'll see this play. Williams and Millsap, high pick at the left elbow. Millsap slips it as Miller apparently stays to trap Williams. Of course, the gap between Miller and Udrih is three car lengths wide. Williams makes an easy bounce pass to Millsap. Salmons sees it -- he's looking straight at the play. But his rotation is half-hearted and late. (He seems tired and/or bored.) Hawes rotates, but goes for the block 10 feet away from the basket. (This is where Millsap takes off. Hawes is at the peak of his jump as Millsap takes off. To be fair, Hawes had three fouls at the time.) Millsap soars for the dunk. Bleehhhhh. 74-60.

Kings Poss #14: Garcia dribbles left and takes a floating, fading 20-footer which (shockingly) rims out.

Jazz Poss #15: Williams hits Brewer with an outlet. Brewer catches, fakes to the rim, steps back, then attacks after the defense commits. Miller offers good effort, but Brewer takes him right under the rim for a reverse lay-in. Millsap screens off Hawes nicely, preventing him from getting into the play. To be honest, it doesn't really appear Hawes wants to get into the play though. Garcia is there, but isn't able to stay with Brewer. Salmons has the opportunity to help on the weak side, but elects to stay between the ball and Miles, who is parked at the left elbow. 76-60.

Kings Poss #15: Kings bailed out on a bad entry pass from Miller to Hawes with a foul on Millsap. After the inbounds, Miller tries to backdoor it to Salmons. The spacing is awful (Miller and Salmons are about six feet from each other) and Miles is actually between Miller and Salmons. If Geoff Petrie came up with a chemical which rendered the ball invisible to the opponent but perfectly visible to the Kings, this ball would still have been stolen. If Miles had no arms, this ball would still have been stolen. If Miles was an armless blind tomato worm, this ball would still have been stolen.

Jazz Poss #16: Miller fouls to either break up the fast break or show his frustration. He leaves the game, replaced by Jason Thompson. Millsap is replaced by Andrei Kirilenko. Kings are in the penalty; Miles hits both. 78-60.

Kings Poss #16: Thompson and Garcia miscommunicate. Garcia's going to Albany. Thompson thinks Garcia is going to Buffalo, and sends the ball Media Mail to Buffalo. Garcia makes it to Albany and doesn't understand why the ball is in Buffalo. They discuss things. Meanwhile ...

Jazz Poss #17: ... Utah blows a fast break with a bad outlet pass.

Timeout with 3:37 left in the quarter, and that's a good place to end it.

*****

That's 28 points in 17 possessions for the Jazz -- brilliant offense made more silky by a stunningly dreadful Kings defense. It's really something to watch these plays over again a few times. Like, I knew the Millsap dunk and the Brewer dunk were really terrible defensive plays in real-time. I sat there, I saw the plays, and I frowned. But watching it again -- my God, that is terrible. Miller might be the worst defender in the league. I haven't watched every team yet, and I certainly haven't seen too many teams in great detail. But really, this is not good. Not even close to good. Not even close to bad.

And Salmons -- we usually laud his defense. In the third quarter, he was almost as awful as Miller! He had one good defensive stand, where he almost turned out a steal. But he missed myriad rotations -- he saw the play and I assume he knows where he needed to be. He just didn't have the drive, determination, or desire to get there. His rotation on the Williams trap and Millsap dunk was truly atrocious. What happened to John Salmons? I wouldn't blame him for being tired -- he's been playing mega-minutes and carrying the offensive load -- but I'm not sure to seeing such cavalier defense from the guy. He was not helping the team out there.

But the Kings didn't help themselves with the atrocious offense (10 points in 16 possessions). Through the first half of the quarter, the team showed no interest in getting within 10 feet. The Jazz foul a lot -- more than any other team in the league. But the Kings refused to drive. Later, Miller started forcing it. Why the finesse? Okur's a good player, but he's not going to stop Hawes, Thompson or Miller from scoring from the block. Miles is long, a decent defender. But he isn't going to keep Salmons from getting to the rim. (We saw this plainly in the first half.) Sacramento is one of the best offensive teams in the league, and we watched a littany of off-balance jumpers and terrible backdoor passes through the third ... against an average defense. What the ufck, Kings?

I don't want to blame any one player, because every single dude in Kings purple had a bad game. Boo Kings. Boo.