With (Insert Team Here) coming to town, the Sacramento Kings put up a valiant effort, but took the (Insert Quarter Here) quarter off and came up just short thanks to a bad mistake/many by (Insert Player/Players Here).
While the Oklahoma City Thunder have been doing great this year on the back of Russell Westbrook, who is having a year that can only be described as preposterous, this was a winnable game at home. Unfortunately, it was basically a rehash of every single other game on this 1-5 home stand. Whether it was dumb decisions (I’m looking at you, Matt Barnes), bad technicals (I’m looking at you, Matt Barnes), or questionable rotations (I don’t care if you’re not the coach, I am still looking at you, Matt Barnes), something is not working for the Kings, and if they really do want to make the playoff push (currently one game back of the Trailblazers), they are going to have to make some changes sooner rather than later. Perhaps the most frustrating thing about all of this is that despite the fact that so many of these cut and paste game recaps are winnable despite all of the bad decisions and terrible stretches of play. So to go back to that first paragraph...
With (Oklahoma City) coming to town, the Sacramento Kings put up a valiant effort, but took the (second) quarter off and came up just short thanks to a bad mistake/many mistakes by (Matt Barnes, DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, etc.).
DeMarcus Cousins, while unspectacular in the middle quarters, helped spark the late comeback attempt with some key free throws and plays. While his three-pointer was not falling and he did have six turnovers, he finished with 31 points, 11 assists, seven boards, three steals and a block. Darren Collison also showed up with 21 points. Rudy Gay was the same inconsistent player we’ve seen all year. He had some great plays, such as his late three which cut the Kings’ deficit to three, but he also had some of the plays that have been driving fans crazy all year. Then, there was Matt Barnes.
Matt Barnes has a wonderful knack for putting up stat line which look solid on paper, if you did not watch him play (seven points, eight boards, three assists, and a steal). When you factor in the eye test, however, those stats are not worth the negative impact he is having on this team. Quite frankly, there is nothing he is doing, save for the quarterback passes (which he is quite good at), that Omri Casspi isn’t doing just as good if not better. But, even when Omri Casspi struggles, he does not have nearly the same negative impact on this squad that Matt Barnes had. Tonight it was yet another untimely technical. DeMarcus Cousins may lead the team (and the league) in technicals, but I will take the rest of what he does over that. The technicals Matt Barnes gets at 36 years old while having not positive impact on the game are far more anger-inducing.
I thought his play would redeem him somewhat from the fact that he is Matt Barnes, but it has not, and it is hurting the team. I have liked a lot of what Dave Joerger has done, but Matt Barnes playing time is definitely not one of them. I also hate the way he has managed Garrett Temple, who had a solid night, but only played 24 minutes. On the Thunder’s side of things, Westbrook had his nightly triple-double, and Enes Kanter tore the team up down-low with 28 points, and some guy named Alex Abrines had 13 points off the bench.
The Kings have one game left in the home stand, and if they want to keep competing for that eighth seed, they probably need to end this on a high note on Wednesday, when they play the Indiana Pacers. After that, they’ll face a season-long 8 game road trip.