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The Morning After, and Disbelief Still Reigns

I continue to have real trouble believing that happened. I saw it, watching the game in real time (a rarity for me), and I figured the resilient Kings would get it down to, say, 15 or so. A silver lining of sorts. When the deficit shrunk to 12 and 13, but stuck there most of the fourth quarter, I figured that'd be the end, that the runs had been exhausted and we'd have to be content with a strong second half effort that came up 50 percent short.

But the Bulls continued to have disastrous possession after disastrous possession. The shot clock violation which preceded Ime Udoka's first three-pointer -- the one where Kirk Hinrich basically dribbled around the perimeter for a while -- was amazingly bad. And the Kings cut it down to six ... and the Bulls continued to have no luck, no composure on offense. All the shot Chicago made early bounced off. All the shots the Kings missed early started to fall.

The amazing thing about the comeback is that the Kings didn't really shoot an extraordinary clip: 11-21 in the fourth quarter, which is good but hardly historic. The amazing thing was the Kings defense (or Bulls offense, or more accurately both). The Bulls had seven turnovers in the fourth, and just one offensive rebound in eight opportunities, and shot 2-10 from the floor. That's right: only 10 FGAs for the Bulls. Meanwhile, the Kings had one turnover and four offensive rebounds, and thus got off 21 FGAs, of which they made 11. (Yes, the Kings made more FGs in the fourth than the Bulls attempted. Moving screens are a helluva drug.)

Jon Brockman's line looks bad, but Holy Lord was he effective. He finished +26 in 17 minutes, because he played for nearly the entirety of the big run. His defense was huge (as was that of Udoka -- he completely shut off Hinrich) and he disrupted the Bulls' defensive rebounding enough to get himself and Tyreke Evans some boards.

I think Matt at Blog-a-Bull accurately reflects on why this happened now:

[I]f I had to pick a team that would blow a 35 point lead, it'd be a team who has one of the league's worst offenses, a unit that could go completely in the toilet at any time.

The Kings have, amazingly, become the counterpoint to that: if there's any team that could look completely awful for 27 minutes of basketball but keep plugging and eventually break through, it's the Kings. Amazing, given the status of this franchise last year.