Kings Blog and Q&A

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

February 16, 2010
Postgame reaction: No Kevin Martin in the fourth quarter?

There was no Kevin Martin in the locker room after tonight's game, which cynics would say was fitting.

When this game was close, and his coach called on him, Martin deferred to the group that gained so much confidence when he missed 32 games.

There was 5:52 left in the game and the Kings trailed the Boston Celtics 82-80. It's the kind of victory the Kings have searched for all season - a win over a title contender at full strength (remember Denver was shorthanded in both trips to Arco Arena).

And Martin didn't want any part of that?

Needless to say, that's not a good look.

"I sent him in to the scorer's table and he said 'things are going pretty good,'" said Kings coach Paul Westphal. "And I said 'I know but I want you in.'"

Westphal said after a long stretch before a mandatory timeout, he and Martin agreed to let the group of Tyreke Evans, Beno Udrih, Omri Casspi, Jason Thompson and Spencer Hawes continue playing.

Before that, Martin had already returned to the bench before the timeout was called.

Considering the Kings missed eight of 10 free throws in the fourth, having Martin and his 83.3 percent rate from the foul line would have helped.

But if he was content to watch until coming in with 15.4 seconds left with the Kings needing to make threes and foul to win, that's another issue.

You could give Martin credit for not wanting to disrupt what was working on the floor. That might even be called leadership.

But when the game is on the line, that's when it's time for the best players to be in the game.

Paul Pierce and Ray Allen both shot 5 of 15 for the game. But they were in the game late, making clutch shots and free throws.

It would have been nice if Martin had joined the party. Instead he played just 15.4 seconds of a tough fourth quarter.

*Westphal said tonight's game might have been the Kings' best defensive effort of the season. Boston shot just 37.5 percent and the Kings outrebounded the Celtics, 48-45.

*Jason Thompson's two missed free throws late shouldn't overshadow his effort against a physical front line. He finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds and tied his career high with four blocked shots. The same goes for Spencer Hawes who grabbed eight rebounds and blocked two shoots.

--Jason Jones

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