Marty Mac’s World – 12-22-2010
If you’ve come looking for answers, you’re in the wrong place.
I’ve been watching the Sacramento Kings (5-21) consistently for the past 20 years. NBA veteran observers such as me like to believe and say nothing surprises them.
Yet, I was perplexed when walking out of Arco Arena Tuesday night following Sacramento’s come-from-ahead 117-109 overtime loss to Golden State.
What was that I’d just seen? As I said, I’ve seen the Kings since 1990 and just knew I’d seen pretty much every possible type of collapse. I’ve seen the Kings lose more than 40 consecutive road games as well as get out-shot from the free-throw line by Shaquille O’Neal at home in Game Seven of the 2002 Western Conference Finals.
Almost inevitably included in every collapse are the losing team misses free-throws down the stretch. The Kings, read Beno Udrih, made each of his four attempts during the final 14.3 seconds.
Meanwhile, Golden State (10-18) twice in five seconds during the game’s final 19 of regulation was fouled attempting a three-point attempt. Then the Warriors missed three of the six free-throw attempts.
And because they did, amazingly they gave themselves a chance to win.
The Kings wouldn’t let Golden State lose. They committed nine fourth-quarter turnovers and that doesn’t include one of the dumbest shots ever. With Sacramento leading, 98-93, the Kings inbounded following a Dorell Wright foul with 31.1 seconds left and veteran swingman Francisco Garcia inexplicably hoisted a wide-open three-point shot.
Perhaps even scarier than the ill-timed attempt was Garcia saying after the game he took the shot because he wanted to stick a dagger into the Warriors.
Garcia is one of the team’s best free-throw shooters and the intelligent play would have been to take time off the clock. Had Garcia just held the ball, Golden State likely would have had to foul. If Garcia makes two free throws, the Kings are up seven points with approximately 20 seconds remaining.
There’s the dagger, ‘Cisco.
Instead, Garcia became part of the team-wide dagger the Kings shoved into their own chest. DeMarcus Cousins lost the handle on a Reggie Williams free-throw miss with two seconds. Golden State turned that possession into Vladimir Radmanovic’s 27-foot, game-tying three-pointer.
Udrih scored a career-high 34 points, but fouled Williams on a three-point attempt. Then Carl Landry did the same thing four seconds later when he Wright to the line.
Coach Paul Westphal could have inserted Samuel Dalembert to perhaps get the rebound Cousins did not. The coach could have stationed five smaller players around the arc on the last play of regulation and told them to ignore every player inside the three-point line.
Perhaps the craziest thing of this crazy game was how many times Golden State failed to take advantage of opportunities and still won.
Ultimately, though, where do the Kings go from here? Do you change the coach? How soon will the calls for talented, but quirky also-rans Larry Brown and Don Nelson begin? Do you gut the entire project starting from President Geoff Petrie?
Does Petrie stay and begin to shake up this roster? The addition of one, possibly two more veterans would do a world of good for all things Kings.
Do the Maloofs get so scared and frustrated they open their checkbooks and say we have to pay the cost to the be the boss and improve the product they are putting out to a dwindling fan base?
Their record is the league’s worst and the Kings are coming off one of the worst defeats imaginable.
From a franchise perspective, one has to go back to the 1958-59 Cincinnati Royals to find a team that was 5-21. The’73-74 Kansas City-Omaha Kings were 6-21 before finishing 33-49.
As a team, the Kings seem to be sticking together as they should. Since they are stinking it up together, they might as well stay together.