That was some pretty disappointing basketball. In a game against a shorthanded Atlanta Hawks team, the Sacramento Kings showed no indication that they really wanted to win this game. The effort game-long was lackadaisical, there were several questionable coaching decisions, and the team overall looked like it was hungover, which, given Atlanta's famous nightclubs, is a real possibility. Regardless, disappointing. Onto the quick observations.
- Rajon Rondo notched another triple-double, but lets be honest, this was a really poor game. His seven turnovers were backbreaking and his decision-making in general was highly questionable. At least he shot the ball well; I have suspected his atrocious shooting has been a function of no rest, but he shot 6/9 from the field today with Darren Collison back.
- Speaking of Collison, welcome back! I thought he looked really rusty and fatigued as the game went along, but his contribution was much needed. He played some solid defense and hit a big three near the end of the game to keep the Kings on life support just a bit longer.
- DeMarcus Cousins semi-threw an elbow at Al Horford in the second quarter. It looked pretty bad from some angles, but on others not so horrible. It wouldn't surprise me to see him suspended for a game.
- George Karl decided to have Rudy Gay guard Dennis Shroeder all game, and it was... well it was awful. Shroeder got pretty much everywhere he wanted to, hit enough of his wide open (and I mean WIDE open) threes to be a thorn in the Kings' side, and swung it out to open shooters everytime the Kings had to collapse the paint to help.
- More bad coaching decisions: Ben McLemore got glued to the bench after shooting the ball really well for some strange reason. Seriously, the poor guy got zero minutes in the fourth quarter even during a time where his shooting and defense would have been nice. Instead, we got treated to a clearly drunk Marco Belinelli, who turned it over three times simply because of butterfingers, lost Korver multiple times, and tried to draw a foul by flopping instead of making a decent look at a midrange jumper.
- Most worrisome I think is the defense. The Kings still just look completely lost out there. They are simply not getting what Karl wants to accomplish on that end. They usually start out the game fine in a base defense, but when the bench comes in it becomes switch-a-palooza. Switching isn't bad in specific situations, but if you're going to switch for an entire 24 second clock without versatile defenders on the court (like Belinelli, Koufos, and Casspi), its just going to be a horrible look.
- That being said, can't blame the coaches for the effort we saw tonight. The Kings just were sluggish, slow to loose balls, letting Paul Millsap grab 6 offensive rebounds, failing to close out on shooters, and just in general looking like they were in some kind of malaise. I'm kind of glad they lost. They can't have the mentality of coasting through a game and coming out with a win. They need to get their butts kicked if they don't give it their all because the stakes are so high.
The Kings missed a huge opportunity here. If they had shown a little bit of focus they could have easily walked away with a win. Instead they fall even further from .500 going into tomorrow's game against the tough Miami Heat.
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