Road Reaction: Indiana Pacers 106, Sacramento Kings 98

 
The Indiana Pacers used a huge second quarter to knock the visiting Sacramento Kings down early.  But it took double overtime for Indiana to finally put the visiting team away by the score of 106-98.  After so much promise coming out of training camp, the Kings have gone down in flames, losing three games in a row to start the 2012-13 season.

Notes and Analysis

  • Keith Smart has a real dilemma brewing.  His starting lineup is not functioning as a cohesive unit and it is costing his team games.  Long-term,  I think Smart has the right pieces starting, but the Kings improve dramatically when they go back to the lineup that they finished last season with – Thomas, Thornton, Evans, Thompson and Cousins.  So does Smart choose a short-term move that could get his team going  or does he wait for this group to figure everything out?
  • Tyreke Evans is an elite NBA defender, small sample size be damned.  For the first time in his career, Evans is completely engaged on both ends of the floor the entire game and his awareness has improved dramatically.  He is still struggling with his shot, but there is no questioning his effort or improvement.
  • Marcus Thornton was a star tonight for the Kings.  In his new role as their super six, Thornton led the Kings with 26 points and he also contributed six rebounds and four assists.  Thornton pushed the game to double overtime with a big three, but went scoreless in the final frame.
  • Thomas Robinson had a huge impact on the game during the second half.  The rookie power forward had a pair of highlight reel dunks before shifting to the small forward position and forcing up an ill-advised, 23-foot jumper.  He is raw, talented and needs to figure out his limitations, but he brings a ton of excitement to the floor.
  • This portion of the road reaction is not intended as a Jimmer Fredette watch, but after a productive game in Minnesota, the second year guard received his first DNP-CD of the season.
  • John Salmons has rejoined the team.  He is not ready to contribute yet, but he was sitting courtside in a suit tonight in Indiana.

  • Stat of the Night: The Kings went 3-for-18 in the two overtime periods.

Three questions to ponder

1. Does foul trouble plague DeMarcus Cousins for a third-consecutive game?

For the first time in this early season, foul trouble was not an issue early for Cousins.  He has all the potential in the world, but it’s hard to show how talented you are when you only play 25 minutes a night.  Cousins finally had a solid night, playing 42 minutes and finishing with 21 points and 13 rebounds in the loss.

2. Do the Kings finally find their offense?

They found it and then lost it and found it and then lost it.  More than finding their offense, they need to find some consistency.  After focusing heavily on defense during training camp, the Kings real problem so far has been their lack of ball movement and low shooting percentage.

3.  Can the Kings limit the Pacers’ points in the paint?

The Kings defense is much improved, but they are still struggling to slow teams from penetrating and scoring around the basket.  The story of tonight was not about points in the paint, but about the 12 blocks by the Kings finished with including two huge plays in the waning seconds of regulation.

Updated at 10:47 am, 11/04/2012

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About: James Ham

James Ham provides coverage through news analysis and in-depth interviews with Kings players and staff. James is also one of the producers behind the award-winning, independent documentary "Small Market, Big Heart". James graduated UC Davis with a degree in history and is happily married with two children.