Another game without DeMarcus Cousins, another incomplete effort. The Orlando Magic, who had lost four-straight to the Sacramento Kings coming into tonight, had their own injury problems they were dealing with. Unfortunately, while the Kings came out looking like they thought they could coast to a win, the Magic decided to show up and play the game. Despite tying it up in the fourth quarter after trailing by as many by 16, the Kings went right back to the tricks that got them behind and the Magic pushed the lead right back to where it remained for most of the game. Channing Frye's three that would only happen to the Kings certainly did not help things either. What resulted was another frustrating loss without DeMarcus Cousins.
The game started out bad, and stayed that way until the beginning of the fourth quarter. Seeing as the Kings are flirting with a .500 record, and have lost more of their most recent games than they have won, this type of effort does not cut it. There were some guys who came to play. Jason Thompson had one of his better games of the season, with 18 points, 9 rebound and 4 assists. Darren Collison also had a solid outing with a team-high 22 points. He did, however, only drop 4 assists, but that could also have something to do with the Kings holding the ball way too often. Derrick Williams had a slow first stint, but came alive, once again, in the fourth quarter. Aggressive Derrick Williams is good Derrick Williams.
Rudy Gay seemed to have glimpses of energy tonight, but also seemed a tad lethargic at times, and shot up a few inopportune shots near the end. Ramon Sessions was solid during the run in the fourth, but like his game a few days ago, he always found a way to make that wrong play every time we needed the right one. When the lead was taken away from the Magic, the Kings passed the ball and ran an offense, after the game was tied up, they fell right back into isolation and sticky hands.
The young guys on the Magic showed up. Victor Oladipo had a very impressive 16 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists. The star of the Magic was Tobias Harris. He seemed to make everything he took on his way to 27 points, 4 rebounds and 1 assist. Elfrid Payton also impressed me with his 8 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists. The Magic came to play. The Kings did not.
All in all, it was a frustrating game. Teams are starting to figure out that the Kings will let them into these games without DeMarcus, and the Kings are doing nothing to show them otherwise. There were some positives, with more threes falling in the last few minutes than had fallen in a quite some time, some solid fourth-quarter play, and a great game by Jason Thompson, but there were just too many negatives to go with them.
- The replay center has proven to be almost worthless this year. It does not speed up the game, and often times slows the game down. That clear-path review in the fourth quarter did not help the Kings' momentum. To me, these long delays are embarrassing. Speaking of which...
- On the Kings' last possession, the referee got in the way, (I do not remember which one), and Collison lost control of the ball. Now, the referee is part of the court, and I get that, but that is embarrassing, whether the play mattered to the game or not.
-The guys cannot just rely on the fact that DeMarcus is going to be back soon. Even if he comes back quickly, he will likely be drained of energy and unable to play his normal minutes. The guys need to do a better job in using this time without him so that they can play well when he is on the bench during games he does play in.
-Grant Napear somehow confused Ramon Sessions for Nik Stauskas when he made a basket in the fourth quarter. I have no clue how that happened.
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