Hang in there, Sacramento Kings fans. The season is almost coming to its merciful end. And with this loss to the Denver Nuggets, the Kings are all but assured the sixth slot in the NBA Lottery. Now, whether the lottery odds are kind or not is another question. Today's score of 122-111 is rather irrelevant, even with George Karl's return to Denver as a minor side storyline.
The Kings, as has been the case in the past few games without DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay, have relied heavily on Omri Casspi and Ben McLemore for offense. Its a bit sad to watch these roleplayers try to be the stars night-in and night-out, but today against Denver's nonexistent defense, they were able to scrap out some solid games. Casspi scored 22 points on 13 shots, adding 7 rebounds and 7 assists while McLemore added 20 points on 12 shots with 5 rebounds and 7 assists. Turnovers were predictably an issue, with the duo combining for 8 on the night and the team notching 20 against a poor defensive team. But again, this is a severely depleted team and its unlikely that Casspi and McLemore will be options 1 and 2 on a team ever again.
The Kings were tortured by Kenneth Faried on the opposite end. Faried was all over the court, scoring 30 points and grabbing 7 rebounds in only 30 minutes of playing time. The Kings could not get a handle on Faried the entire game, and Jason Thompson picked up 5 fouls trying to chase him around. That being said, the best player on the court was Ty Lawson, who shredded the Kings defense at will and greasing his team's effort. Lawson was a team-best +24 on the night, scoring 10 points and dishing 11 assists to go with only two turnovers. Ray McCallum and Andre Miller were on their heels the entire night trying to defend Lawson.
Not much more left to say here. Its the ninth straight season of the Kings playing out meaningless games in April. Its been a grind for players, coaches and fans alike, but hope springs eternal with big changes on the horizon. The Kings finish out the season with a home-and-home against the Lakers and attempt to at least best last year's record of 28 wins.
For the opponent's perspective, visit Denver Stiffs