For the Sacramento Bee today, Jason Jones is questioning why Kevin Martin sat all but the final 15.4 seconds of the fourth quarter in a three-point home loss to the Celtics.
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’m okay with Kevin Martin wanting to let the group who was on a 10-2 run against a championship caliber team ride it out for a bit longer because you don’t want to disrupt the ebb and flow of your teammates on the court. According to Coach Westphal, the team was “rolling” and “clicking” during this time
Granted a 10-2 run in the middle of the fourth quarter is nothing to dismiss but it’s not like this Kings team was playing at a very high level. From the 7:33 mark in the fourth quarter to the 15.4-second mark when Kevin Martin finally checked back into the game, the Kings scored a total of 12 points on 14 possessions. That’s it. In case you were wondering, that’s pretty damn terrible. 12 points in 14 possessions. If you were to stretch that out in a 100-possession game, that’s 85 points and change.
I just find it hard to believe that it sounded like a good idea to leave out your $11 million shooting guard who is the best free throw shooter and purest scorer on the team when it was a one-possession game for the final four minutes of the game. When the unit on the floor that was reinventing the wheel started to struggle, why not bring Martin onto the floor? Why wouldn’t he demand to his coach to be put into the game to help out with a semi-bogged down offense? Why wouldn’t his coach decide that despite the player’s feelings that “things were going pretty good” his team needed Martin on the court?
It’s weird having one of your best players “not wanting” to get on the floor with a chance to slay a giant in the NBA. I know Beno Udrih’s four fourth quarter points (no points after the 8:15 mark) were extremely valuable but I don’t think he was left in for his defense. Why wouldn’t Martin be put in there to help save the day?
Also, this couldn’t have come at a more coincidental time with the trade deadline looming. It will be sure to fuel some fire for the rumor mongers on desperate contending teams that are praying one of the asinine trade rumors can turn into the Kings inexplicably deciding to help out one of these title hopefuls.
Rest assured, Kevin Martin still isn’t going anywhere except for the Kings locker room.