Kings lose in most frustrating of fashions to Denver; Nuggets beat Kings 119-116

Most frustrating of fashions? That means the Marcus Thornton foul with time running out on Arron Afflalo. It’s Isaiah Thomas missing 1 FT (before an Afflalo made 3 that cuts the Kings lead to 1) that would have sealed the game. It’s the Kings not really running any quality plays beyond a few PnR’s with Tyreke Evans and Jason Thompson early in the OT.

As far as losses go, I don’t like it. I didn’t see much of the game in truth, and what I did see (the final 28 secs and OT), I could see the Kings were in position to win a game on the road against an opponent that had wiped the floor with the Kings in two previous meetings this season.

Other thoughts after the jump….


* The Boxscore.

* Tyreke Evans looked good and bad at times during OT. Bad includes taking shots Tyreke shouldn’t have taken in the context of the offensive possession (the long two while dribbling the clock out for instance) and includes giving Ty Lawson way too much space on the game winning 3 pointer.

Good? Tyreke has to do more than what he’s been doing to be given a pass for his failures.

* DeMarcus Cousins is a star? Not yet…….. (Will admit the 5 assists is a welcome sight though.)

* John Salmons went 5-8 from the floor and 2-4 from 3 on the night. Salmons season TS% is now 45% (up from 44% at the start of the game tonight), and the 3pt% is now an even 30%. Salmons FT% with the 2 made FT’s went up from 64% to 67%. My point is that Salmons shooting is not a lost cause, and his defense on the other end gives Smart a lot of option that Westphal, or Smart for that matter, never would have without Salmons on the floor. You need John Salmons to be at his best for this Kings roster to work on a reasonable basis, and Salmons improved play in the 2nd half is a nice welcome. Like I said in that homestand where Salmons showed signs of life, now it needs to be consistent for a couple of weeks. For whatever it’s worth, I think Salmons will manage it. The one negative was Salmons 3 turnovers, but that happens. I’ll live with that as I consider the performance (namely from box score perusal and the few minutes I saw Salmons on the court in the late 4th and OT) as a good performance under any circumstance turnovers or not.

* The Nuggets shoot 28-35 from the line, and the Kings 14-21. Combine that with 18 turnovers that the Nuggets turn into 31 points (as opposed to the Nuggets TO’s that the Kings convert into 20 points) and that’s pretty much how the Kings lost the game.

* The Marcus Thornton foul. On a scale of whether it should be a foul or not a foul, in the situation at the end of the game I’m always a fan of making a player make a real play there. I don’t feel Afflalo deserved the foul call, but, and this is really important IMO, Thornton DID foul Afflalo. I wouldn’t have supported a foul call had it been Afflalo on Thornton (I would have been happy the Kings got the break but 100 out of 100 times do I think that’s a bad call regardless of team) so there is that.

On the other hand, I think the biggest impact the Thornton foul had was it took Marcus out of the game in OT. The Kings never really were able to put the Denver Nuggets away in OT, and that’s a sign of an immature young basketball team that doesn’t understand how to get things done at the NBA level. Is it salveagable? Check with me at the end of March.

* The back to back is not an excuse for the Kings. Denver played in San Antonio last night and they found a way to get it done when it mattered. Sometimes it just comes down to hitting shots, and had the Kings gotten quality attempts I would have been okay with this loss. What stings is that the Kings offense ground to a halt with Tyreke just pounding the shit out of the ball.

* Perhaps the most important stat is that the Kings outscored the Nuggets 54-46 in the painted area. After all, this is the same Nuggets team that dropped 92 points in the paint in Sacramento in that glorious ass whooping (if that’s your thing). The Kings were competitive in a game in Denver, and it was a 4th game in 5 nights. And you know what? I still don’t give a shit. These losses aren’t excusable and I won’t excuse this one either.

At some point Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins recognize that their actions and play dictates the direction of this team. When that happens the Kings will improve. But if it doesn’t the string of frustrating losses in all measures will continue. You can call me a broken record, but if there was something new to say I’d say it.

* A shoutout to Kenneth Faried who, among other things happens to be on my fantasy team, had another strong game with 20 points ( 7-9 floor and 6-7 line), 12 rebounds (7 offensive), 2 blocks, a steal, an assist and a turnover. Oh, and Faried did all of this in 34 minutes while picking up 3 fouls. Oh, and if you think this was a fluke, you clearly don’t follow the Manimal closely.

* Keith Smart’s presser.

Until the flip side flips it’s grits at the City Council meeting at 6pm sharp. (The address is 915 I St Sacramento CA in case you care.) Be there or be polenta’d