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Shoot-out at Arco

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Chris Paul won. Chris Paul always wins.

That fourth quarter turned out to be pretty exciting, with Paul's incessant easy jumpers and easier lobs to Tyson Chandler beating out Kevin Martin's hard-won jumpers and harder-won trips to the line. 27/13 for Paul, 32/5 for Martin.

If the Kings don't watch lots of tape on how to defend the Hornets' pick-and-oop play -- which N.O. executed to perfection at least four or five times -- then ... well, I wouldn't be terribly surprised if they don't watch lots of tape on it. That was Game 57, and there wasn't exactly a gang of rookies out there. Figure it out PLEASE.

But really, this is the difference between the Kings and everyone else: where other teams get easy buckets, Sacramento has to work HARD for every make. Further, other teams easy buckets are made easier against the defensively atrocious Kings, and their hard shots are made easy. There's a built-in degree of difficulty every time the Kings take the court, and it's enormous. And it creates plenty of opportunity for defeat.

Notes ...

* Rashad McCants had as many assists as FGAs. I'm not saying. I'm just saying.

* If the Kings would have won, Andres Nocioni might have found himself in possession of Sacramento's collective heart. His defense on David West down the stretch was both fiery and tough.

* Jason Thompson got called for one truly unbelievable foul (his third ... in the first quarter). He didn't mutter a syllable of complaint. (He also didn't play much after that. A shame, because he took it at West with 9/4 in 12 minutes.

* The defensive rebounding was awful in the first half, due (no doubt) to Thompson's foul trouble, which (for some reason) forced Natt into playing a littany of small forwards at the four. Only the starting line-up (replicated to open the third) had featured the traditional two bigs. New Orleans went only spot minutes without a true power forward on the floor. This is why rebounding was a problem.

* Regarding rebounding, Spencer Hawes did cover up the deficit in the second half. He finished with a game-high 14.

* At one point, the Kings had Bobby Jackson, McCants, Martin and Nocioni sharing the court with Cedric Simmons. The entire Sacramento metropolitan area does not have enough basketballs ...

* Oh yes, Simmons. He'll be making an appearance on Basketbawful on Tuesday. Six minutes with only a missed FGA to his name. Inauspicious start, man.