Kings Blog and Q&A

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

February 26, 2007
In their defense

They held Indiana to 38.2 percent shooting, which is evidence aplenty for coach Eric Musselman's claim that this was the Kings' best defensive outing of the season.

The irony, of course, is that this took place without their best defender, as Ron Artest wasn't present for the Kings' impressive win over the Pacers on Sunday night. But Musselman wasn't alone in the assessment.

"I think so, yeah, by far," reserve swingman Francisco Garcia said when asked if he agreed. "When we play defense like that, it's tough to beat us. They had a stretch where they were up by 10, then we came back defensively and got some stops. We just kept it going after that, got some confidence. Defense wins games."

In a pleasant change of pace, Musselman avoided the urge to simply breakdown the box score after a game and instead analyzed the importance of the bench play against the Pacers.

"Those guys now feel like they have a role," he said. "Cisco thinks he's a one-man press now. He's always yelling (a play called) one-two, and then running over the ball. If your second unit and some of your eighth or ninth men can feel like they can hang their hat on some type of system or some role when they come in, we'll have to see where this takes us."
-- Sam Amick

Block party

They won the game, so it was OK to admit that the experience had been humbling. Kevin Martin and Ronnie Price had a good laugh recounting the way Jermaine O'Neal swatted their dunk attempts. Both players had dunks stuffed by the Pacers big man who is second in the league in blocks (2.98 per game). Martin had his revenge during his 21-point third quarter, beating O'Neal through the paint and slamming with his right hand. O'Neal had six blocks, with Price pointing out that the impressive part goes beyond the size and

athleticism. O'Neal has a knack for finding the ball in midair, avoiding the foul and keeping the leather from going anywhere near the hoop.

-- Sam Amick

Late to the (Martin) party

You'd think Martin's name would be out there by now, but there were a few media folks behind me on the baseline who were having their first introduction. As Martin took over in the third quarter, these guys were asking where he went to college. This was, mind you, the so-called Mecca of hoops in Hoosier country where anything less than IU apparently isn't worthy. "Western Carolina?!" one guy exclaimed with heavy sarcasm. "The hoops factory."

Another asked if he had already surpassed his career high. When told it was 40 points, he said "What? Really?"
-- Sam Amick


Apparently the Pacers were blaming Artest's absence for their own demise, with coach Rick Carlisle saying he had geared "80 to 90 percent" of the scheme toward the small forward. Some players were frustrated by the lack of adjustments once it was clear a new plan was needed.
-- Sam Amick

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