This was not exactly how anyone wanted to start the week. In a showdown of two teams on the opposite end of the winning spectrum, the Kings led by as many as eight in the fourth quarter, but came up short again. As Kings fans know, their team has lost in just about every way imaginable this season and tonight was another example of the futility. Unfortunately, one team wins and one team loses every game in the NBA. Some players make shots and others miss. Tonight, the two players who came up short in the final moments, were left holding the bag in the locker room as most of the Kings players headed for the exits early.
- Omri Casspi on missing the game tying shot with 3.9 seconds left in the game: “We ran a play that I set a back screen on Tyreke. I got kind of open. I just lost the ball on the way up.”
- On the game coming down to the small things: “That’s what it is, I’m talking about myself. I was one for four from the free throw line. It’s like a high school kid. Free throws win and lose games and I missed them tonight and that’s another three points. It should be in overtime. I have to keep working on it.”
- On what the first option was on the last play: “To get an open three and go to overtime. We had a couple of options. Beno came up and he had a chance to penetrate. Coach wanted me to set a back screen on Tyreke, I did and they kind of switched. Beno saw the man was kind of late, I was open and that’s about it.”
- On the importance to his development as a pro to not only get these opportunities, but him taking these shots in big moments: “It’s very important. It gives me a lot of confidence and the pressure is on me now to make them. I missed a lot of shots, I don’t know, I don’t remember missing those kinds of shots. I’ve been working on those in practice, but I feel like I don’t have my legs under me for some reason. I’m missing a lot of open looks, stuff I don’t usually miss.”
Omri Casspi took this loss incredibly hard. He didn’t make excuses, instead he took the blame. I asked him if he knew that he actually made three three-point shots in the game and he responded with “and I missed another four.” This is one of those games that can leave a scar on a young player, so it is important that the team helps him move past this loss.
Samuel Dalembert was the next player to stand in and take his lumps. With 11.5 seconds left in the game, Dalembert pulled down an offensive rebound and with his team trailing by two, he took a fall away jumper with 9.9 seconds left and missed. The Jazz got the rebound and Andrei Kirilenko went to the other end and extended the Jazz lead to three.
- Dalembert on being a veteran and consoling Casspi after a big miss: “Don’t worry about that, the game should never come down that way. The game should never come down to a last minute shot for somebody to do it. How many guys in the league can you count on to make a last minute jumper or a winning shot. It’s not easy, it’s not often, so the game should never come to that point. That’s a low percentage and he did the best he can. It’s not on purpose, it’s not like he tried to not make the shot so I support him 100%.”
Jason Thompson, Carl Landry and Pooh Jeter also stuck around a while, but rumors of a post-game disagreement between Coach Westphal and Tyreke Evans cleared out the locker room fast. There are mixed reports coming in and since it is generally my policy not to delve into such murky waters, I will wait until the silt settles and ask some follow-up questions after practice today.
Kudos to Casspi and Dalembert for sticking around long enough for the media to throw salt and lemon juice in their open wounds.