My hands are shaking as I type these words: the Sacramento Kings have won a basketball game. Kings fans have been shipwrecked on loser island for seemingly an eternity, and finally there are sails on the horizon. Huzzah! The Indiana Pacers were the victim tonight, and although the game became dicey down the stretch, the Kings emerged victorious 99-94. I'm crying.
The Kings were led by Rudy Gay scoring 31 points on 22 shots. Gay was scoring seemingly at will in the first half, getting to his sweet spots with ease and burying shots all over the court without much resistance from the Pacers. Darren Collison also came back to burn his old team with 23 points and 5 assists on 15 shots. DeMarcus Cousins had a very poor night shooting from the floor but still put up monster numbers, with 20 points and 19 rebounds on only 6/24 shooting. Boogie struggled with Indiana's length and size in the paint, but was instrumental defensively and on the boards.
The Kings began the game blowing down the doors offensively. The Pacers are still a top 10 defensive team this year, but the Kings dropped 64 points in the first half, which matched a season high for the Pacers this season. Powered by the dynamic play of Gay and Collison, the Kings offense was clicking about as well as we've seen this season. The Pacers were incredibly sloppy too, which helped the Kings get out on the fast break. The second half, unfortunately, saw the offense die. The Pacers cleaned up their act offensively and began to whittle down the Kings' lead, showing that the Kings' halfcourt offense still has a long ways to go. The Kings only scored 35 points in the second half. Down the stretch, the whistles randomly became tighter, and both Cousins and Jason Thompson fouled out. With the team up only four, Carl Landry was picked in transition by David West, who passed it to a wide open C.J. Miles for three. Miles would miss, Collison would hit a huge shot, and that was the end of it.
Its a relief to get a win, but its clear this team has a long way to go. Indiana has been in the midst of a slump themselves, but they got George Hill back tonight, who played well. The team needs to go back to the film of how they played in the first half and try to replicate that kind of effort and execution more consistently. The Kings next play against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday.
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