Kings suffer fifth straight loss
By Scott Levin
Sports Informant Contributing Writer
The excitement that surrounded the Kings earlier in the season is fading with every loss. With a 108-97 defeat at the hands of Atlanta, the Kings dropped their 12th game in the last 14. The Kings started well, racing to a 10-point lead in the first quarter. But the second half has become a problem for the team. Sacramento seemed to be a step slow to every loose ball, and Atlanta, paced by Jamal Crawford’s 20 points off the bench, cruised to victory.
1 – The Kings used their 18th different starting lineup. Donte Greene and Jon Brockman joined Tyreke Evans, Kevin Martin and Jason Thompson in the starting five. Coach Paul Westphal continues to search for a combination that yields results, but it’s possible that the Kings may be unable to develop chemistry with the constant changes. Regardless, this lineup barely got off the ground, as Greene and Brockman both exited with two fouls a piece five minutes into the game.
2 – Tyreke Evans again provided one of the few bright spots in an otherwise disappointing game. The rookie’s most impressive plays came in the first quarter. Hawks superstar Joe Johnson took the task of guarding Evans and really focused on bodying the Kings point guard. But Evans was up to the challenge. Undeterred by Johnson’s larger frame – 6-feet-7-inches tall, 240 pounds – Evans muscled his way to the rim numerous times on his way to nine first-quarter points. Evans worked so hard he had to ask out of the game with 44 seconds left in the period.
3 – Spencer Hawes started 31 games this season. Wednesday’s game marked the ninth time Hawes has come off the bench. Surprisingly, Hawes’ per minute production is better as a reserve. Against Atlanta, Hawes saw just 12 minutes but managed to post four points, five rebounds and four assists. It’s hard to figure out what motivates him, but he might be better suited off the bench.
Quick hits – Jon Brockman provided a highlight in the third quarter when he dribbled the length of the court and slammed home a dunk with two hands while being fouled. His motor is always running … Kevin Martin (23 points) and Evans (24) both performed well but often did so when not on the court together … Omri Casspi used a late-game flurry of baskets – three field goals in the final minute – to finish with 16 points and a team-high eigh rebounds … Former King Mike Bibby scored just 2 points in 22 minutes.