There comes a point during every Sacramento Kings season where the attention of the fans turns away from the Western Conference standings and redirects itself more appropriately towards mock drafts.
It has been that way for the past ten years and the legacy will continue. Last night was that turning point.
And rightfully so.
With the Cleveland Cavaliers in town, the Kings took another loss on what feels like the longest three-game losing streak that this franchise has ever seen. While it’s only stretched over four days, Sacramento is slowly becoming unglued.
It has been exemplified the entire season with the reoccurring storylines from George Karl, DeMarcus Cousins, and the toxicity within the organization. Last night, it was rookie Willie Cauley-Stein who spoke up about his lack of playing time.
“That’s funny, that’s funny, kind of flimsy, cus’ I can guard five positions, so that’s redundant otherwise I wouldn’t be here,” Cauley-Stein said. “There should be no matchup problems ever. So that’s just an excuse I think. However, I’m not the coach.”
Regardless of the rhyme or reason behind one of Sacramento’s most talented defensive players, the words of this rookie truly personify what it feels like to be in the frustrated Kings locker room.
It is open season between the coaches and the players with no filters. More importantly, another season of the most dominant center in the NBA has gone to waste.
The most frustrating part? The differences between a championship contender and lottery ball regular was clearly seen last night.
The Kings held an 11-point lead midway through the third. Cleveland continued to battle back and remained stable through it all. Make no mistake, this wasn’t a game where the Cavaliers outplayed Sacramento. Sacramento simply isn’t a good team and lost it themselves.
The starters for Cleveland took the game into complete control the entire way through. Perfectly encapsulating what it means to be a great team. Attacking offensive rebounds, closing out shooters, and providing a stable defense is how Cleveland walked away with the victory.
Playing in complete cohesion, the starters for the Cavaliers combined for a total of 105 points. Kyrie Irving caught fire in the third and finished with a game-high 30 points. LeBron James tallied 25 points and Tristan Thompson finished with 18 points and 15 rebounds.
For the Kings, well you know this already. Cousins led all scorers in points and rebounds. Finishing with 29 and 11 respectively.
As the wheels begin to fall off, there are still 19 games ahead. Arguably, nine of the easiest within the 82 are next and will really be a fascinating storyline to follow on how this Kings team feels about the season.
While it may be worth it for fans to cash in, who knows what happens next.