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Progress In, or Through, Poor Form

Beno Udrih played worse than he ever had, and Francisco Garcia is still struggling with his shot. Nothing that happened Friday night changed either of those things. We expect Garcia will break out at some point in the near future -- he's a good shooter. Beno is just further cementing his role as local whipping boy. Having trouble staying in front of Rodney Stuckey is expected. Two points in 20 minutes for a bad defender, though, is unacceptable.

But whatever, Beno's yesterday. John Salmons didn't shoot well, and Kevin Martin really didn't shoot well. The pair combined for 41 points on 42 shooting possessions. Not beautiful ... you need more efficiency there. But they (and Martin in particular) found a way to score. Brad Miller found a way to score, and turned out a second straight STRONG game. That's the key here: Martin and Salmons need to coexist on offense (success), and Miller needs to play well (success). If those things happen, the team should be in the game. And with less than 10 seconds left, the Kings had about a dream to go.

Isn't that shocking? Your usual sixth man, currently starting, is in a slump and was ineffective on offense. Your starting power forward is a role player who can stick open shots or finish, but needs to be wiiiide open and rarely scores so much as eight points in a game. Your starting point guard had no freaking points and probably gave up 15 to the opponent in 20 minutes of work. And you're in the game against a good team in the closing seconds. That's the difference between last night and two weeks ago: Sacramento can (almost) overcome debilitating weakness at two key positions.

One thing has changed between two weeks ago and last night. And again: he had a rough night shooting. But he still had 20 points and almost scratched the 1.0 point per shot threshold thanks to perfect foul shooting. Having that sort of scoring allowance makes up for a lot of pain.