Throughout this ever-challenging season, the Sacramento Kings have new rivals that many people did not anticipate: the third quarter.
After Wednesday night’s victory of the Dallas Mavericks, aka “The Chimezie Metu Game,” interim head coach Alvin Gentry mentioned both the good and the bad of how the team played, with the bad being how the team has played coming out of the halftime break.
The Kings held a 55-43 lead at the break on Wednesday; by the end of the third quarter Dallas held a 74-72 lead. While they won that game, their struggles in the third quarter were the cause of their demise on Friday. It was also the reason they lost to the Memphis Grizzlies earlier this week.
Against Memphis on Dec. 26, Sacramento had a one point lead to start the second half. By the end of the quarter, Memphis had a 12 point lead thanks to the Kings allowing them to score 40 points as opposed to the 27 they scored. The Kings only scored 17 points in the quarter.
This season, the Kings have posted the lowest third quarter defensive rating in the entire league with 118.2. The next worst team is the Milwaukee Bucks with a defensive rating of 115.6.
Simply put, the Kings are atrocious in the third quarter — just look at how they stack up with other teams on the defensive end.
Opponent second chance points: 30th
Opponent point in the paint: 29th
Opponent points off turnovers: 28th
The one silver lining of their third quarter play is their lack of turnovers. The Kings rank 12th in the league in third quarter turnovers.
If Sacramento has any hope of turning this season around, one way to begin may be to come out of the locker room at the half with the players have shown the most heart. This is a young group with a lot of players looking to establish themselves in the NBA.
If their players can be more spirited and focused in the third quarter, it could greatly influence the outcome of their remaining games.