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Kings Crash, Lose in OT 112-109

"It's not that we expect that no matter what we're going to have a bad quarter, but we're continually victimizing ourselves with one and taking away otherwise pretty good all-around performances," [Spencer] Hawes said. "These should translate to wins."


Kevin Martin didn't have his best game by any standard, but it was a good all-around performance -- 22 points, six assists, five rebounds. All you'll remember are the overtime turnover (his first of the game), Arron Afflalo jumper over Martin to give the Nuggets a two-point lead at the end of overtime, and Martin's missed foul-drawing attempt driving on Kenyon Martin. That's the nature of the game, and, frankly, this team. Hawes in talking about a bad quarter ruining things, but it's also been specific crippling plays.

Of course, that's the case for every team, and feeling like the self-mutilating victim comes with the territory of a losing spell. I mean, Kobe clanked a potential game-winner Monday. You think the [REDACTED] didn't feel badly for themselves? It's easy to buy into to the "woe is us" mentality, but momentum and confidence shift so rapidly in this league (and world, really) that it's no use to fret. Another time, maybe next time, it won't all be for naught. It'll turn around, and there was enough good in this bad finish to make me feel hopeful an extended strand of good is on its way.

Beno Udrih wasn't particularly good in replacement of Tyreke Evans. Beno made a few nice plays, but shot poorly and imploded as a ball-handler in the third quarter. Sergio Rodriguez wasn't a model of efficiency off the bench, but the shots he gets teammates are unlike any other from anyone on the roster. He really sees the court, a perfect comparison point to both Evans and Udrih. But, yes, someday he could turn out a 20-turnover game. I have no doubt about that.

The Kings did beautifully on the glass, so don't discount Hawes's seven rebounds -- the whole team dominated the defensive glass, and Spencer did happen to have a killer putback near the end of regulation to tie the game. It's one of the few losses in recent memory where you can definitively say it wasn't the bigs that cost the Kings a win. Jason Thompson certainly wasn't any good, but Hawes, Andres Nocioni and Jon! Brockman! all played fine. It's a rare relief.

I think we all underrate Kenyon Martin. What a solid player on both ends. He hit that first open jumper from roughly 18-20 feet, and that kept Thompson and the subsequent defenders honest enough that Martin could drive. He never stopped hitting the jumpers, of course, but he was also able to use the dribble to get the Kings into trouble. And his defense, as Kev was reminded in the final play, is always fantastic. Such quick hands and quick feet. If Blake Griffin turns into the defender Martin is, the West is in trouble.

Denver is quite glad to not see the Kings for another nine months or so. Kings take the season series 2-1 with the loss going down to the final seconds of overtime, relying on a Arron Afflalo pull-up jumper. Heck, when you look at it that way, that "woe is us" feeling just dissipates, doesn't it?