Kings look like jesters vs. James & gang
Before the buzzer even sounded, the Sacramento Kings had ripped off their unifying headbands and filed into the visitor's locker room while...
Seattle Times staff reporter
Before the buzzer even sounded, the Sacramento Kings had ripped off their unifying headbands and filed into the visitor's locker room while the KeyArena crowd erupted in euphoria.
The Kings hadn't been a cohesive group all season, some joining the team via trade and others returning from painful injuries. They expected to need some time to click.
But this? The Kings were a discombobulated bunch that allowed a background player to shine like an All-Star for the second consecutive playoff game.
Sonics center Jerome James made mincemeat of every forward coach Rick Adelman placed in front of him, exposing a weakness the Kings said they'll spend the next two days seeking an antidote for.
Last night, Adelman thought starting center Brad Miller would help cut down the offensive rebounding that the Sonics used to collect a Game 1 win on Saturday. But Miller wore down, and backups Greg Ostertag and Brian Skinner were equally ineffective.
The trio combined for 10 points and nine rebounds while James had a career playoff-high 19 points, along with nine rebounds.
A series once thought to be focused around point guards Mike Bibby (Sacramento) and Luke Ridnour (Seattle) or at least All-Star forwards Rashard Lewis (Sonics) and Peja Stojakovic (Kings) has suddenly swung to the Kings' lack of interior defense.
"We'll see how we counterattack that tomorrow," Bibby said of the Kings' goal in practice today.
Added guard Cuttino Mobley, "I don't think we are playing as aggressively as we should."
Bibby was more productive offensively. After shooting 1 for 16 from the field in Game 1, he finished with 16 points on 7-of-14 shooting last night. But he was the only starter to score in double figures.
In the fourth quarter, Adelman ditched his starters for reserves Bobby Jackson, Maurice Evans, Darius Songaila, Eddie House and Skinner. They opened the final quarter on a 30-12 run that shrank a 26-point lead to eight with 2:32 left. But James made a short jumper to nudge the lead back to double digits. Sacramento outscored the Sonics 31-17 in the fourth quarter.
"They weren't going back in," Adelman said of the starters. "I mean, why should I? The other group was doing all the work.
"I don't care if we are going back to Sacramento or not. If we allow them to be the aggressors all night long in everything they do, then we won't win the series — let alone win a game.
"I'm very disappointed. We have a group out there that should be much better than that. You can't do it all by yourself. I really felt like we tried to do it by ourselves."
Regardless of how they were playing, Bibby wasn't pleased with being benched.
"How do you think I feel?" he snapped when asked about the situation. "I like to play."
But the Kings weren't a unit. They fell behind by 11 points in the second quarter and were lackadaisical from there.
"We're not playing together; they are," Bibby said. "I know we can play hard. We play hard in practice, but we've gotta bring it to the game."
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or email@example.com
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.