No Kobe. No Bynum. No Pau. No problem for the Sacramento Kings who defeated the short-handed, but playoff bound Los Angeles Lakers 113-96 in the season finale at Power Balance Pavilion.
“I thought they played well and came out and put on a nice show for our fans,” said Kings head coach Keith Smart after the victory. ”It was nice to close out the season, move towards our next season, which is about the summer workout program we have in place for these guys. We’ll get away for a little bit and then we’ll get into training.”
The Lakers opened up with a 4-0 lead, but the Kings pulled away with an 11-2 run late in the first quarter. The Kings hit the Lakers with a heavy dose of the fastbreak, outscoring Los Angeles 25-5 in transition to seal their 22nd and final win of the season.
DeMarcus Cousins wrapped up his sophomore campaign in dominant fashion. Finishing just a rebound shy of a 20-20 game, Cousins scored a game-high 23 points and pulled down 19 boards in victory. All 11 Kings who played in Thursday’s game managed to score at least one basket.
The Kings finish the season with a home record of 16-17 and an overall record of 22-46. Thursday’s win ties them with the Brooklyn Nets for the fifth best odds in the NBA Draft Lottery.
Notes and Analysis
- Cousins finished his season in grand fashion, recording his 36th double-double of the year. The growth from this young giant in just his second NBA season was remarkable.
- The same could be said about Jason Thompson. After three years of inconsistent minutes, the 25-year old forward out of Rider topped off his breakout season with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Thompson is a restricted free agent this summer and the Kings will have plenty of competition to retain their 2008 first round pick. It was made clear earlier in the season that the Kings plan to extend a qualifying offer. Now it comes down to how much are they willing to match for one of their own.
- Although the sample size is small, it appears that Tyreke Evans is much more comfortable at the shooting guard position as opposed to the small forward spot. In a game built around mismatches, the Kings really need to find a way to sure up the wing and then squeeze Evans back into the backcourt. He finished the season with a solid 21-point performance.
- The Kings rookie point guard tandem of Isaiah Thomas and Jimmer Fredette is growing on me. Thomas finished with an efficient 11-point, seven assist night, hitting 5-for-6 from the field and only turning the ball over once in 26 minutes. Jimmer kicked in 10 points from the bench, dished out three assists and added a lone block. With summer league and a little seasoning, these two should come back strong next season.
- Tyler Honeycutt got some game action tonight. The rookie out of UCLA started the second half and finished the game with seven points, five rebounds and two assists. This kid has a load of talent and a full summer will really help him to develop.
- After missing Tuesday’s game against the Thunder due to illness, Terrence Williams labored up and down the floor tonight, struggling to catch his breath. He did have one incredible tomahawk dunk during the game that is sure to grab the attention of the SportsCenter crew, but he was limited to just four points in 10 minutes. I expect the Kings to give Williams another look next season. His passing ability and court vision are incredible.
- This was most likely the swan song for fan favorite Donté Greene. The high-flying combo-forward finished with five points on the night and walks into the summer as a free agent. With Travis Outlaw already locked up for the next three seasons, resigning Greene seems like a long shot at this point.
- Stat of the Night: The Kings finish the year with an impressive 21:8 assist-to-turnover rate. Early in the season, 21 assists were completely out of the question. The insertion of Isaiah Thomas into the starting line-up opened up the Kings offense tremendously and should go down as one of Keith Smart’s crowning achievements in this odd, lockout-shortened season.