Losing sucks. Last night was no different, as Deron Williams broke our hearts with his corner three at the buzzer, putting a damper on an otherwise excellent evening of Kings basketball.
Results matter, and the Kings losing yet another game that they should have won is extremely frustrating for us as fans. This is a team that probably should be around .500 right now but instead is 7 games below .500 and facing an uphill climb towards a potential playoff berth. Every game is important for this team.
Yet I can't help but be proud of this team for the effort they showed last night. It would have been easy for them to write off this game. The goal coming into this road trip was probably to split the two games in OKC and Dallas and the Kings already got the game in OKC. Add on to the fact that the Kings were missing three rotation players to injury (including two starters) and that it was the second night of a back-to-back in a building that the Kings hadn't won in since 2003 and you'd be hard pressed to find anyone picking the Kings to even be in this game.
But boy, were they ever. In a game decided by one possession, the Kings were the better team most of the night. DeMarcus Cousins put together one of the best performances of his career on both ends of the court. He hit clutch shot after clutch shot down the stretch, and despite having five fouls, still managed to come up with a huge block on Zaza Pachulia near the end. Rudy Gay couldn't be stopped on his way to 31 points on just 20 shots. Quincy Acy brought a ton of energy and hustle. Marco Belinelli had a rough shooting night but made the big ones when it counted. Seth Curry defended his ass off. Darren Collison orchestrated the offense to the tune of 12 assists and just 3 turnovers.
George Karl seemed energized as well. Last night was probably Karl's best coached game with the Kings. His playcalling down the stretch was absolutely fantastic, from the set to get Belinelli a wide-open three, to his call to get Cousins the ball rolling towards the basket to force the first overtime period.
Aside from the end result, this was probably the most fun I've had watching a Kings game all year. This is the team that I wanted to root for from the beginning. Ever since the Philadelphia loss, the Kings have appeared to regroup and refocus, and I hope that it's something that carries over to the rest of the season. If this team wants to achieve any form of success, this can't be a temporary mindset.
Now let's see what Thursday brings...