clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Kings 106, Heat 112: Good Fight, Good Night

New, comments
Kimani Okearah

Stop me if you’ve heard this before – the Sacramento Kings were in a weird basketball game.

Despite an inspiring second half effort, the Sacramento Kings fell to the Miami Heat 112-106 in a game that was rapidly heading towards blowout city before several scrappy Kings nearly scrapped their way to a good home win.

For the first 5 or 6 minutes of this game, Seth Curry and Gerald Green traded tough bucket after tough bucket. It was actually quite entertaining. Once Curry subbed out midway through the first quarter, the Kings lost their offense. Green kept scoring, and before you knew it the Kings were down 20. They had been down right around 20 points from the first quarter on, and as a result my eyes started glazing over – I thought we were in for another one of ‘those’ games, particularly since DeMarcus Cousins was out serving his mandatory one game suspension for earning his 16th technical of the season during Wednesday night's game against the Wizards. To make a long story short, no Cousins usually equals no win, and I had every right to believe that the Kings were toast as soon as they went down 20 early.

Somewhere during halftime, George Karl decided to bench Willie Cauley-Stein (who had started for DeMarcus Cousins) in favor of everyone’s favorite Lithuanian league All-Star, James Anderson. The Kings went small to start the second half, and while that certainly didn’t work right out of the gate, the Kings played considerably better in the second half to the point where I cannot rail against Karl for that particular move on this particular night. James Anderson was part of the guard crew that really upped their defensive intensity (Darren Collison, Ben McLemore, and Seth Curry are also in that crew) in the second half.

The Kings played better when Cauley-Stein subbed in for his bench stint in the second half, so to put it simply, Karl pushed some buttons, and the Kings played better. Despite the fact that I do not understand the logic behind those buttons, when something works is when you step back and, at the very least, lay off. This is me laying off. Now, don’t to that again! (Kidding, April Fools, etc.)

Anyway, the second half. Darren Collison was awesome. I can’t even pinpoint where or how he was awesome, because it was everything. He was defending, scoring, hitting the floor, running, pushing his teammates, etc. He led the Kings’ charge back, make no mistake about it.

Seth Curry, Ben McLemore, and Kosta Koufos followed his lead. Koufos had a plethora of big crunch time blocks, finishes at the rim, offensive rebounds, etc. McLemore’s offense wasn’t there as much as you’d like (isn’t that usually the case?) but his defense was good. Cauley-Stein wasn’t AS effective as he has been lately, and maybe you can attribute that to Hassan Whiteside’s ability to match up with him athletically, but he also contributed to the Kings’ second half success.

The role players did their thing tonight. Kudos.

I’d be remised if I didn’t mention my disappointment in Rajon Rondo and Rudy Gay tonight. Gay was better than Rondo, but neither of them were great in Cousins’ absence. Those are the guys the Kings are supposed to rely on when their All-Star is out, and the veterans just didn’t have it tonight. Rondo was sloppy and careless, and while Gay played hard, and played a lot of minutes, he just didn’t deliver as Cousins’ scoring replacement, particularly late when the Kings needed buckets and they went to him.

Quick side note – Rajon Rondo continues to be one of the hardest players to read in the entire NBA. He looked infinitely more engaged in this game on the bench cheering his team on than he did while he was on the court. It just doesn’t add up. And Rondo’s bench cheerleading is a frequent occurrence. He’s always up, cheering, commanding, trying to help as a coach from the bench, etc. And yet his play on the court can be so nonchalant at times that it makes you question how much he cares about any of this, and then you see him on the bench loving the effort his young guys are giving, and you end up back at square-one evaluating his engagement level. I don’t know what the answer is, but that is the cycle I go through dozens of times per month. It’s so bizarre.

And that’s before the part where I tell myself how foolish it is to questions whether a professional athlete ‘cares’ about his craft. He’s put in thousands and thousands of work, and I’m supposed to believe he doesn’t care, and he’s not trying? I can’t figure Rondo out. Anyway –

The Kings lost. They couldn’t come up with enough buckets late. It was a good effort, and probably the best result with the big picture (draft position) in mind. That doesn’t mean you don’t root for the win, but it makes accepting the loss a little easier.

Oh hey, that Knightman guy seemed all right for the 24 or so hours he was in charge of this place. Best of luck to him wherever he ends up next.

01101100 01101001 01110110 01100101 00100000 01101100 01101111 01101110 01100111 00100000 01100001 01101110 01100100 00100000 01110000 01110010 01101111 01110011 01110000 01100101 01110010