Welp. The Sacramento Kings, despite leading the Charlotte Hornets by 17 points in the fourth quarter, still couldn't find a way to bring home a win. The Kings looked like they were going to run away with this one in the third when they went on a 22-8 run to start the quarter; the offense was clicking, the defense was actually clamping down, and the team looked like it was going to coast to a victory. Not so. Everything fell apart; the Kings couldn't put the ball in the basket, they lost track of Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lin, DeMarcus Cousins hurt his back, and it results in probably the most horrible loss of the year. Onto the observations
- Rajon Rondo was a monster... until the fourth quarter. He racked up 14 points and 20 assists on the night, and in the third it looked like the Kings were going to romp. But he never got a breather in the entire second half, and it showed defensively. Rondo coasted for much of the fourth quarter and overtime, and it resulted in a Kemba Walker/Jeremy Lin explosion. Walker scored 21 points in the fourth quarter on his way to a huge night, and Lin took over in OT. Rondo was really bad defensively and that's on George Karl for not getting him enough rest.
- Rudy Gay looked like he would never miss again in the third. He and Rondo have such outstanding chemistry, he was able to get everything he wanted offensively. The Rudy/Rondo connection kept the Kings breathing by tying up the game with a perfectly executed buzzer-beating alley oop to send teh game to OT. Unfortunately Rudy disappeared down the stretch and looked silly a few times on defense.
- Cousins was a monster. 30 points total and was single-handedly keeping the Hornets at bay in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately he was visibly slowed by a bad back, leaving the game for good with one minute to go in the quarter. Kosta Koufos tried admirably in his stead, but he's not DeMarcus Cousins.
- Another game, another limited showing from Willie Cauley-Stein. There was a perfect situation to put him in at PF next to Koufos at the end of the fourth quarter, but Karl stuck with Rudy Gay at PF. At this point a gassed Rondo was STILL guarding the red-hot Walker, who beat both Rondo and Gay to score at the basket and put the Hornets up two.
- Darren Collison was struggling awfully on offense. It still doesn't look like he's found his groove yet after his injury, which is a shame. Marco Belinelli came in off the bench to give the team a lift, but they really needed Collison's spark tonight when Boogie was absent for OT and didn't get it.
This is just a tough loss to digest. The Kings looked like they had it wrapped up but just gifted it away. Gonna be a long flight to Milwaukee.
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