Through 3 periods Sacramento was in full control of Utah. The offense deficient Jazz now had to come back from a double-digit lead, which at the time looked almost impossible. Utah was missing all their outside shots and Ron Artest had 18 going into the period.But it all turned around with the start of the 4th. With the crowd on their feet and Sacramento leading 69-56 the Kings blew the game. Utah came out with incredible defense and the Kings fell apart.
The Sacramento Kings shot 0-20 in the quarter. That's right, they didn't make a single field goal in the period.The Jazz bench should get most of the credit. Matt Harpring, Deron Williams and Greg Ostertag dominated the paint and gave Utah a boost where they needed it. They stopped taking jump shots and drove to the paint on each possession.
They scored 35 points with most of them coming off Kings turnovers. However a good deal of the blame should go to the Kings themselves who missed a ton of wide-open long-range shots in the 2nd half.Things were even worse when with 6:30 left in the period when Ron Artest drove to the basket, got knocked down and pulled something in his groin.
However it wasn't enough to deter him from trying a nearly identical play. He found his way to the hoop with Kirilenko there to block it. On the way down, Artest exacerbated the injury even more.Yet even that wasn't enough to get him out.
He tried guarding Kirilenko defensively on the next possession but it wasn't happening and left the game. At the time of his exit the game was tied at 72. But with him gone the Kings couldn't overtop the Jazz.Some players just didn't step up when they had to in the 4th. Bonzi Wells had a nightmare of a game with a career-high 9 turnovers as he struggled to handle the ball.
Mike Bibby normally rises to the challenge but had just 15 points. Kevin Martin perhaps played the worst in the quarter as he missed several open shots and failed to stop Milt Palacio from penetrating to the hoop.This is the kind of game for Sacramento where you can see a move coming.
When the Knicks lost by 33 to LA they made a trade for Rose. When the Pacers lost on the road to Atlanta they finally traded Artest. To not make a single shot in the quarter is astounding, especially for a team like Sacramento that was so fluent offensively the last few years. Whether it's a trade or a signing, I'd be surprised if a move isn't made soon with the Kings.Another concern with the Kings is their depth.
Assuming that Ron Artest will miss his next game, and with Brad Miller injured, this team is extremely shallow. Some 10-day contracts should be initiated by Sacramento very soon.Ron Artest finished with 20. Andrei Kirilenko was just 4-7 but went to the line 17 times and ended with 24 and 11 rebounds. Milt Palacio had his best game of the season with 19 points..Check out our Articles on Baseball Betting for more expert articles on sports.
By: David Pincus