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Kings 107, Sixers 114: Well that was, uh, fun

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After a dominant first half, the Kings completely choke after their offense collapses and their porous defense couldn't compensate

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Sacramento Kings are finally nearing the end of this marathon road trip, and judging by the effort tonight they look ready to go home. Because they flat out did not bring the needed intensity to win tonight's game. It doesn't matter if the opponent is the Philadelphia 76ers, the Kings simply are not talented enough to coast and consistently win. The Sixers took advantage of a sleepwalking Kings defense to scrap out a 114-107 win.

The Kings got perhaps a career-best performance from DeMarcus Cousins, who smashed the Sixers interior like a freight train on his way to 39 huge points and 24 rebounds. Boogie was absolutely unstoppable; the Sixers didn't have anyone in his weight class, and the result was poor Nerlens Noel, Furkan Aldemir and Henry Sims basically sacrificial lambs for the night. Boogie attacked the rim with ferocity in the post, grabbed rebounds all over the court, and marched to the free throw line 20 times.

Alas, it was all for nothing. Its been the same story for the Kings, who just simply did not play good defense for long enough stretches. Really, the only bright spot came in a 42-22 second quarter; besides that, it was a horror show. Rudy Gay deserves some major flack for his awful effort. Not only did he let Robert Covington completely go off with a career-high 24 points and 6 three pointers, he was out of position all night, gave no effort on the boards, and was extremely lazy getting back in transition. Gay has shown some stretches of quality man defense, but all too often if its not a superstar lining up across him, Rudy simply will not be engaged. To be fair, Covington's big night wasn't only on Rudy, as Derrick Williams also had his fair share of matador play. I have no idea how George Karl could have calmly watched these two play defense because I was screaming at the TV all night.

The Kings simply are not good enough to coast defensively. There just simply is not enough talent on the team. Today it sure felt like the attitude was that they were going to let the offense carry them to an easy victory over a bottom-feeding Sixers team, and with that attitude the team deservedly got a good buttkicking tonight. While the offense was clicking, things were all smiles and laughs. The Kings were getting out on the fast break and making it look easy. The Kings had an 18 point lead in the third quarter with 8:46 remaining. From then on until 9:56 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Sixers outscored the Kings 40 to 9. Thats FORTY TO NINE. The offense died, the defense never woke up, and that was essentially the game.

The Kings now limp to Washington for another game tomorrow. They should have plenty of energy in the tank seeing as how they didn't bother to break a sweat in tonight's effort.

Random Observations

  • I can't stress how good DeMarcus Cousins was tonight. He completely busted his butt offensively, defensively and on the boards. There was a particular play where Cousins sprinted back to prevent an easy Sixers fast break and caused an initial miss, but seeing as how Gay, Williams and Andre Miller didn't bother trying to get back, a Sixer got the offensive board and easier score. Boogie was rightfully furious.
  • The only good defensive stretch for the Kings came with Jason Thompson at PF in the second quarter. The Sixers normally can't shoot, so the combined size of Boogie and JT shutting down the paint basically squeezed out the Sixers offense. The next time Karl would go to JT at PF was in the fourth quarter with the Kings already down 9 and desperately needing an offensive spark.
  • Miller and Ray McCallum really hurt the team with their lack of scoring ability during that nasty 40-9 run. Neither is a good shooter and both were bothered by the Sixers' athleticism around the rim. It was an ugly offensive showing. It also didn't help that Miller just could not keep up with Ish Smith, at all. It didn't help that Ben McLemore absolutely disappeared for the night either. Get well soon Darren.
  • Gay and Omri Casspi are both way too confident in their ballhandling ability. The Kings had another terrible night holding on to the ball with 17 turnovers, and it wasn't helping that 6 of them came with Rudy and Omri doing too much in traffic.
  • Furkan Aldemir sounds like the name for the heir of Gondor. All hail the King.
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