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Kings 109, Wizards 86: SportsCenter, sponsored by Sacramento

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The Kings play excellent defense on the Wizards and routinely get out on the fast break, where the highlights came fast and often.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Sacramento Kings have some serious athletes. In constructing this roster, Pete D'Alessandro has put a premium on elite athleticism, and that is evident up and down the roster. Unfortunately, for the most part of this season, those elite athletes have been severely disorganized as a result of some coaching and front office mayhem. Tonight, with some practice time to become more accustomed to George Karl's defensive philosophy under their belts, the defense buckled down and those athletes caused all kinds of havoc in fastbreak situations, and blew the Wizards out of the water 109-86.

Tonight it seemed like everyone on the Kings had a positive impact on the game. Rudy Gay led the way with 26 points on 19 shots. Rudy made it look easy even though so many of the shots he hit were pretty tough. DeMarcus Cousins was limited to 23 minutes because of foul trouble, but still utterly dominated his matchups with 20 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists on 11 shots. Five Kings scored in double figures, highlighted by Ben McLemore's 17 point explosion after being shut out in the first half. McLemore scored 11 points in the key third quarter when the Kings ran away from the Wizards.

The Kings defense was superb tonight. With Omri Casspi starting at the PF spot, the Wizards had a size advantage on the court, but could not take advantage. The Wizards shot 40.2% from the field, including only 17.6% from three. Ray McCallum in particular played wonderful defense on All-Star John Wall, who struggled with 9 points and 8 assists on 10 shots. The only Wizard having a good game was Bradley Beal before halftime, who scored 17 of his 19 points before halftime, but was nearly shut out in the second half. Nene and Marcin Gortat were not able to use their size to their advantage, combining for only 9 points. The Kings switched intelligently and consistently, with breakdowns coming few in between, forcing 17 turnovers leading to 20 points.

The story of the game were the highlights in transition. ESPN might as well just replay the game as their Daily Top Ten because there was some flashy stuff all night. Derrick Williams cramming it in transition and in the half court. McLemore leaking out and flying on the fast break. Cousins crossing over Nene for a dunk. Gay crossing over Seraphin for a dunk and one. It was a ridiculous display of great athletes making spectacular plays.

The Kings next play against the Sixers on Tuesday, another revenge game after their collapse in Philadelphia a couple weeks ago.

Random Observations

  • Omri Casspi's speed and off-ball activity really bothered the bigger Wizards both in the halfcourt and in transition. Casspi had an efficient 14 points on 6 shots, adding 5 assists. He did have a few brainfarts passing the ball with three turnovers, but overall was an energizer bunny, and has been hitting his threes.
  • Derrick Williams is lightning in a bottle off the bench in George Karl's system. He did everything tonight, grabbing a few boards and notching a few assists, and even got a nice block. He didn't hit a three today but the Kings didn't really need it.
  • The Kings won back-to-back games for the first time since November. Thats a very long stretch of sadness.
  • I was happy to see George Karl use Ray McCallum with the backups for a stretch of time. He will be a backup when Darren Collison returns, so its good to see how he looks in the offense when its the bench unit instead of the starters. I personally thought he ran the offense better than Andre Miller tonight, with six assists and zero turnovers to go along with his 13 points.
  • Seems like whoever the Kings are hyping in the pregame for notably good play is doomed to struggle. Tonight it was Nik Stauskas, who only shot 1/6 from the field for his 2 points. The Kings don't rely on Nik to be an impact player every night, so its ok to see some rookie inconsistency as long as he's showing flashes of good play.
For the opponent's perspective, visit Bullets Forever