PORTLAND, Ore. - The headline doesn't apply to the game, but it just as well could with the way the Kings were routed by the Blazers.
But the autopsy on this night related to Reggie Theus, whose absence created a surreal feel around the team and plenty of conversation and investigation about what Kings life without him would be like. At the moment, it means a complicated and unnecessary travel schedule that serves as an unwelcome parting gift.
With the Kings playing Tuesday in Portland and Friday in Houston, the logical and industry-standard plan would be to return to Sacramento after the game. It's a relative trip up the street by plane, meaning the Kings could sleep in their own beds for two nights before practicing in Sacramento on Thursday and heading for Houston for their three-game trip that also includes New Orleans and San Antonio.
But for reasons beyond most everyone still with the team, Theus and also-fired assistant Chuck Person had opted to have a day off in Portland on Wednesday before heading to Houston later in the day. They would then practice in Houston on Thursday and play Friday.
I had asked about this last week, mostly because it meant I'd be covering a four-game, eight-day trip instead of a three-game, six-day trip and I - like so many of the players and the team's staff - wasn't too thrilled about that notion. The answer I received was that a practice in Houston could be longer and more beneficial than a getaway-day session in Sacramento. Safe to say, however, that my read on it was the same as the overwhelming majority.
Truth be told, odd and illogical travel decisions were among the many small things about the Theus era that grew bigger as time wore on. This is one of many head-scratchers that occurred, and it is quite revealing that the new powers that be went to work trying to change the original plan right after he was fired. From what I was told, they couldn't get a new charter plane in time and had no choice but to keep the itinerary. Now, of course, that is even more problematic.
The rare snow and ice storms in Portland have the team wondering if it will get out after tomorrow's morning practice (Kenny Natt added a practice so he could squeeze in much-needed work with the new power structure and the players). This city, as the locals have told me all night, simply can't handle this kind of weather and the respective runways and planes aren't so easily de-snowed and de-iced as they would be back east. Chains are required just outside the city limits, and I was among the many today who spun my tires on an icy road. It's only supposed to get worse tomorrow, with a few folks telling me tonight that there is no way my afternoon flight ever gets off the ground.
As a final note, the weather sparked a pretty comical conversation in the locker room before the game. On one side, you had rookie Jason Thompson (a New Jersey native who is continuously ribbed for claiming to be a Philly boy) asking what chains are because he simply had no idea. On the other side, Ohio native Kevin Martin was all but calling Portland folks winter-wussies with all the talk of chains, saying that folks from Zanesville just plow right through the snow and see where you end up. Back in Sacramento, meanwhile, no such problems. - Sam Amick