The Sacramento Kings have won 30 games for the first time in the DeMarcus Cousins era. Its the first time the team has reached 30 wins since Reggie Theus' Mike Bibby/Ron Artest/Brad Miller-led squad hit 38 in 2008. Just that sentence should be enough to encapsulate one of the most depressing decades for an NBA franchise, and we haven't even started talking about relocation.
Regardless, the Kings won today on the back of a dominant DeMarcus Cousins outing. Boogie cut through the Wizards defense for 29 points on 61% shooting from the field (leading to a tidy .667 TS%). Rajon Rondo also had himself an efficient outing with 15 points and 11 assists (and crucially only 3 turnovers). Overall, the Kings offense was good all night, notching a 113 offensive rating, shooting 56% from the field and 44% from three.
The Kings' defense was also solid, holding the Wizards to a 103 offensive rating. John Wall was largely held in check with 14 points on 16 shots. He did have some pretty terrific passing moments, but he's just a special passer. Bradley Beal scored 24 points on 21 shots; the Kings did a good job limiting his easy looks. The notable exceptions included Rudy Gay's defense on Otto Porter, who scored 20 points on 11 shots. Rudy simply lost track of Porter multiple times, letting the young wing shoot open catch-and-shoot looks without much resistance. The transition defense also continued to struggle; the Wizards pushed the pace after *everything*, notching 27 fast break points on the night, and the Kings failed to consistently get back on defense to force the Wizards to play in the halfcourt.
The real deciding factor was the play of the benches. Darren Collison was outstanding again, scoring 13 points on only 8 shots. Omri Casspi also was locked-in, dropping 15 points off the bench himself. The key parts of the game were the second and fourth quarters. In the first half of the second quarter, the Kings turned a first quarter deficit into an eight point lead. In the fourth that lead ballooned all the way up to 14, making the game uncompetitive down the stretch.
The Kings next play the Heat on Friday, with questions remaining on who will be available.
- Of course, it wouldn't be a Kings game without some random drama. With the Kings up 14 and six seconds remaining in the game, Rondo gets called for a five second count for not inbounding the ball. Rondo and Cousins start clapping sarcastically at the refs, leading to THREE technical fouls. Rondo was ejected and now Cousins faces a suspension for the next game against the Heat. To top it off, Karl may have dumped gasoline on the fire by publicly siding with the referees in the exchange. Why didn't Rondo just inbound the ball? Why did he draw a second tech? Why was Cousins, with 15 technicals already, even bothering to engage the refs in a game that was already won? Even if Karl thought the refs were right, why did he step into this minefield this way when the team was already questioning his backing of the players? Just embarrassing stupidity on the part of everyone representing the Kings franchise.
- On a lighter note, it was wonderful to see Eduardo from Chile at Sleep Train Arena tonight featured on the CSN broadcast. You can read his story here. Hope he enjoyed the win!
- Its now been a full month since Tom Thibodeau consulted the Kings on their defense and they started using ICE to defend pick-and-rolls. The Kings have had a 104 defensive rating since that time, good for 15th in the NBA. Its the best defensive month they've had all season. Have to wonder what the defensive statistics would have looked like if they had just implemented ICE in training camp like the other 29 teams in the league instead of 80% after the season was over.
- Kosta Koufos had an excellent game off the bench today. He is so much better on offense when he gets to play bench players, and not as the main big man offensive option. The Wizards didn't adjust to the Collison/Koufos pick and roll at all, and Koufos peppered in several hooks on his way to an efficient 12 point outing without missing a single shot.
- It feels like Rondo plays much better when he's aggressive looking to score and passes when he's cut off, as opposed to pounding the ball and hunting for assists all the time. He had one of his best nights tonight in my opinion, not because he put up monster numbers, but because he efficiently ran the offense and looked in control.
Tweet/Comment of the Night
Shout out to the Wizards fan here in the vintage Gheorge Murehsan jersey.
— Akis Yerocostas (@Aykis16) March 31, 2016
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