Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

October 21, 2007
Back on track

Clearly, the Kings can't win games in which I'm not present.
Sure, it's only an 0-1 record this season, but it's tough to dispute the connection. My absence for personal reasons (always wanted to say that!) has ended, and the same Kings team that fell by 24 to Portland on Friday won by 24 against the same Portland team tonight.
Alright, so maybe that's a stretch too. Injuries hurt Portland tonight nearly as much as they hindered the Kings on Friday. But in all seriousness, there were performances of real substance to be considered in this outing.
Among them, the revival of Francisco Garcia and Mikki Moore was vital, with their competitive pulse racing again and both players - as these guys always say - doing what they do. Darryl Watkins took advantage of his minutes like he hadn't yet, scoring 13 points and grabbing four rebounds in 18 minutes.
"Darryl Watkins gave us a nice boost in the post," Kings coach Reggie Theus said. "He had a nice presence."
With just two preseason games left until the Oct. 31 regular season opener, it was almost a do-or-die game for Watkins. One would think the rotation is about to shrink as the significance of the games grows, and the roster is still vulnerable to more cuts.
With Justin Williams out with his off-the-court troubles and Shareef Abdur-Rahim recovering from knee surgery, Watkins could very well be shoved down the totem pole when they return. Unless, that is, he can reproduce this kind of outing in any sort of routine manner.
John Salmons was again solid in starting for Ron Artest (bruised left knee), and I've yet to field a complaint from the coaching staff about the swingman since the season began. Yet as team temperature gauges go, I'm curious to see these final two affairs. In the Clippers and Lakers, the Kings will face squads that would conceivably be battling for the eighth and final playoff spot. It's a tone-setting road trip finale in every way. - Sam Amick

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