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Rounding up reaction to the Kings' 96-94 victory over the Wizards on Monday night.
Well, that was a tough one. Isaiah Thomas' game-winner gave the Sacramento Kings a 96-94 win over the Wizards and probably ends all playoff talk for now. Here is a roundup of all the recaps of last night's game. As always, visit our StoryStream and check out interviews with John Wall, Martell Webster, Bradley Beal and Randy Wittman:
The Wizards had spent most of the night abandoning the selfless style of play that allowed them to win five consecutive games at home. Coach Randy Wittman blamed his team's "pickup-game mentality" for putting it in position to lose, 96-94, well before Kings guard Isaiah Thomas made the winning floater with one second remaining and Nene punctuated a turnover-filled second half with an errant pass to Kings guard Marcus Thornton as time expired.
"I think we fell victim a little bit of our success," Wittman said after the Wizards (11-32) lost at home for the first time in six games - and to the Kings for the second time in less than two weeks.
At the end, there was little doubt that Thomas would take the last shot. The message from coach Keith Smart: Don't settle for a jumper.
"You're going to get by his guy or get a foul. Or you can make a quick play," Smart said. "I thought he did the right thing by driving the basket and getting his little floater. All that drill work he does every day and that little floater gave us a big win."
"Coach drew up a play and I got open," Thomas said. "I had seen a guy that was guarding me and that hadn't played all game, so I felt like I had an opportunity to take him. He kind of forced me to my strong hand and it happened to go in. "I wanted to shoot a jumper, but the guy was forcing me to my left, and I had to take what the defense gave me."
This was the Wizards second heart breaking defeat at the hands of Sacramento. Earlier this month they fell to the Kings 95-94 in Sacramento. A month ago the Wizards would've been happy that they had a chance to win this game down the stretch. But coming into Monday they'd won six of nine and now they expect to win these tight games.
"We know we're in a situation where we can win these games," said John Wall who scored 19 points and six assists. "We have the talent to do it, we just didn't execute. Had a couple of mis-directions and turnovers down the stretch and just didn't get the defensive stops that we needed."
"We let ourselves down. We let our fans down. That's something we can't do, especially not against that team," Webster said. "We know defensively is where we're gonna have to win that game, and tonight we let them get the best of us."
Kevin Seraphin played a bit like his ‘old' self tonight. He looked to play in the post early, and shook Chuck Hayes on a number of occasions. He eventually reverted and continued to settle for that awful jump shot. At one point, Seraphin thought it was a good idea to pull up from the free throw line, rather than to attack the open basket. What the heck is wrong with Seraphin nowadays? It's mind boggling.
Unlike in Saturday's win against the Bulls, the Wizards simply could not build a cushion against the Kings in the first half. Defense had little influence on the first 24 minutes of the game, which contributed to the fact that there were 11 lead changes and 16 ties by the end of the night. "We just kind of played up and down with [the Kings]," Wittman said. "We never really got our defense set, and it's kind of hard to do that after 24 minutes."
It has to be Emeka Okafor. The dude once again was lights out. 23 points and 15 rebounds on 9/13 shooting. Considering how dominant he was in the first quarter, I'm a little surprised that Wittman and the rest of the team didn't continue to feed him the ball in the low post. One possession particularly stands out late in the game when they decided to try and feed the ball to Nene in the paint with the game on the line. Ultimately, this didn't end up leading to the team's loss, but I felt as though, in that moment, with the game on the line, you should always feed the ball to your best player. Okafor deserved to have the ball at that time and for whatever reason, they didn't give it to him. 23 and 15 is great, but he could've had 35 and 20 if they kept feeding him the ball.
Isaiah Thomas had a big night, finishing with a team-high 22 points to go with seven assists and four rebounds, but the real story is how the game ended. Tied up with 7 seconds left, the Kings came out of time out and inbounded to Isaiah. The Pizza Guy didn't rush, worked his way to the top of the key, and drove left to hit a game-winning runner. The Wizards had one second left, but were out of timeouts. Marcus Thornton stole the final inbound to finish it.
And at the end, Thomas sealed the deal at Temple's expense. Smart told Thomas not to settle for a jumper, even though Thomas said he was tempted to shoot one.
"I couldn't find anyone that could guard him," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "That was disappointing, especially as the game went on. He got anywhere he wanted to. Right, left, and the kid made the play at the end."
Keith Smart went away from DeMarcus Cousins for long stretches tonight. In fact, Cousins didn't play at all in the fourth quarter. The Kings go-to-guy finished with just 12 points and four rebounds in 26 minutes of action. Cousins turned the ball over three times in his limited minutes, but he also added two steals and a block.