PHOENIX - The clock is ticking with the second Kings-Suns matchup on its way, but there are few matters to get into about exactly how last night's outing ended.
* I've been asked about why Kings coach Reggie Theus would opt for the baseball pass with 3.1 seconds, and decided it's not worth worrying about since the play that was called was executed almost perfectly. John Salmons said the team had worked on that play numerous times this past week, with Amare Stoudemire's block was the only part that got in the way. Ron Artest heaved to Kenny Thomas around the free throw line, and he tipped it to Salmons for the three that was swatted.
Now the bigger issue is this: Why didn't Theus save a timeout? It's happened a few times this season, and having a timeout would've meant the play started at midcourt and thereby eliminated Artest as the Hail Mary man. For this one game, it's a fuzzy situation as I see it, because the timeout Theus used with about 20 seconds left seemed wise considering that should've been the Kings' last possesion. No one anticipated Leandro Barbosa fumbling the ball out of bounds. Still, guarding those timeouts is a crucial skill.
* Now here's an even bigger matter - Ron Artest with the ball late. It just never seems to work out in the Kings' favor. He scores 33 and had it going all night, but Theus made it clear that he would've rather Artest gave the ball up before he took an off-balance fadeaway jumper against one of the league's best defenders in Shawn Marion. And while Artest hit a shot against Marion on the previous possesion, a fading bankshot doesn't exactly reflect dominance over your defender.
* Lastly, I forgot to mention in today's game story that the ridiculous three-pointer from Brian Skinner was the first of his career. In all, he's 1 for 2 in 12 seasons in the NBA, a statistic that sparked a great line from the Arizona Republic's Paul Coro.
Talking to Mike D'Antoni after the game, the Suns beat writer asked the Phoenix coach, "Why is it that you don't utilize a 50-percent three-point shooter like Brian Skinner more often?" Classic.