Tonight the Sacramento Kings (3-4) hosted the Detroit Pistons (4-2). The Kings entered the game having won their last three games. In their last game, Kevin Martin went down with an ankle injury and is expected to miss three or four games. Getting the start in his place was rookie Jason Thompson.
The Kings got off to a quick start in the first quarter, taking a 21-8 lead. The Kings were dominating the boards at both ends of the court, while the Pistons repeatedly misfired. The Kings led 31-18 to end the first quarter.
The Pistons would recover in the second quarter behind their bench and newly acquired Allen Iverson. Beno Udrih and Bobby Brown proved to be no match for Iverson as the Pistons overwhelmed the Kings. The teams went into the half tied 50-50.
The third quarter saw the Kings turn the tables on Iverson by repeatedly posting him up and making him play defense. John Salmons spent most of the quarter posting up Iverson on the block and taking advantage of isolation plays on the wings to get easy buckets. The Kings led 77-75 at the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter the Kings did what young teams usually do in close games: failed to execute and got beat. The Kings were outscored by ten in the fourth quarter and lost 100-92.
Down the stretch, they had four turnovers in a row and seven for the quarter, while the Pistons had none. The Pistons looked like they had been there before and had a plan, while the Kings looked nervous and unorganized. The Kings were able to get stops, but just couldn’t score when they had to.
Allen Iverson led the Pistons with 30 points. Spencer Hawes led the Kings with 19. Brad Miller killed the Kings offensively, scoring just seven points on 2-16 shooting.
A loss is never good and there are no moral victories. However, the Kings can take some positives from this game. First, everyone except Brad Miller had a good game. Second, they were playing without their best player. Three, the young players gained valuable crunch time experience and the team as a whole got experience playing together.
The Kings lost the kind of game young teams typically lose. A lot of factors were working against them and they still had a chance to win in the fourth quarter. This is going to be a sign of things to come this season. This is not breaking news. The Kings are rebuilding and reloading, so this kind of game will happen...a lot.