Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

April 30, 2006
Marty McNeal: Game 4 is on!

At least the Kings don’t to deal with the Game 3 officiating crew of Bennett Salvatore, Ken Mauer and Sean Corbin, who helped stink up today’s Lakers-Phoenix game. The next time those three cats call a playoff game, two of them should have to use tickets to get in.

However, with the NBA’s absence of truly good officials, the Kings and Spurs received one of my old favorites in Jimmy Clark. He’s the dude who at some point during every game looks to the arena’s ceiling. All of that searching for Devine intervention and Clark still is a bad referee, who sees things on a regular basis that don’t occur.

There is no worse kind of official, except for those who don’t see things that do occur, and Clark is one of those, too.

Clark made his mark early in the contest when he whistled Ron Artest for plowing through a pick set by Tim Duncan. It may even have been a good call, but it wasn’t his. From Clark’s angle, he would have needed Superman’s vision to see through Duncan.

It’s calls like those that can kill a player or team after the fact.

Ask the Suns, who saw Shawn Marion get two really bad whistles for his fourth and fifth fouls in the fourth quarter. The sixth-called foul was legit, but it was too late. He was on the bench when he should have only had four fouls.

As for free-throw shooting, it was supposed to be an advantage for the Kings, but Sacramento came into Game 4 shooting 81.3 percent (74 of 91). The longer the Kings can extend the series, the odds say San Antonio will not be able to keep pace. But it’s hard to think free-throw shooting at Arco Arena without thinking about the Kings punking-up in the 2002 Western Conference finals Game 7 in 2002 against the Lakers.

It’s so hard to watch Kenny Thomas and/or Brad Miller pass up open 15-footers. Tonight, Miller’s taking his and Thomas is bypassing them. This is the only team I know about where the dilemma is making guys shoot instead of stopping them from gunning.

Spurs made early adjustments to sink further into lane it seems and the Kings are getting caught in air trying to pass instead of shooting. Sacramento had four early turnovers but Spurs had just two points from them.

Parker is making jumpers while Kings play off him. He’d have to make them all night before I’d pressure him any more.

Before the game, Miller was talking with a dude from the Spurs. The cat asked him to take the night off for him.

Said Miller, “I already did that the first two games.”

Watching Manu Ginobili and Kevin Martin go at each other means two of the most unorthodox and athletic scoring guards are on display. Martin came off the bench for Ron Artest and scored 10 points in 10 minutes of the first quarter.

The Kings ended the half on a 20-7 run, led by seven points by Artest, five from Mike Bibby and four by an amazingly aggressive Miller, to lead 54-43.

Bonzi Wells finished the half with nine rebounds. At one point, the Spurs only had 10 rebounds as a team before finishing with 13. Eight of Wells boards came at the defensive end as the Spurs had just one offensive rebound. If the Kings can continue anything close to rebounding at this 22-13 pace and don’t turn over the rock, they’ll be good to go.

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