One of the cool (?) things about being a sports fan is that no matter how bad your favorite team is or how long they have been bad, they can always find new ways to infuriate you with incompetence. Every time you think you’ve seen it all, they manage to do something different to lose that, despite your insistence that you’re numb to the pain, makes you mad all over again.
Kings fans are well versed in all things pain when it comes to how their team has treated them for the better part of their entire existence in Sacramento, and this season has once again been a rollercoaster ride with some fun highs and miserable lows. On Sunday, they reached a new low point in a 127-126 loss at home to the Charlotte Hornets, a game they led by eight points with a minute to play thanks to this awesome Harrison Barnes dunk.
How did they manage to blow an eight-point lead to the Hornets so quickly? Well, let’s explore the final minute together.
First, you should know that the only reason Charlotte was in this game late was because P.J. Washington went off for a new career-high of 42 points, obliterating his previous high of 27, set last year.
— NBA (@NBA) March 1, 2021
With 1:09 to play, De’Aaron Fox stole the ball and picked up a flagrant foul on LaMelo Ball on the other end. Fox, a 68.4 percent free throw shooter this season, missed both. Terry Rozier then hit a three to cut the lead to five, which, again, still should’ve been fine. Marvin Bagley III then had his turn at the free throw line with 44 seconds to play, and he missed both. Terry Rozier then got fouled on a three-pointer by Barnes, and proceeded to make all three of his free throws, making it a two-point game.
Fox finally ended Sacramento’s drought with a floater to make it a four-point game again, with Buddy Hield rolling his ankle away from the play. Washington answered that with a three to get over 40 on the night and, again, make it a one-point game. Hield was re-inserted into the game, specifically to shoot free throws, and they managed to get it to him on the inbound where he was fouled. He would split his two free throws, to go up one. And then, this happened.
That is Malik Monk, known much more for his shooting than his on-ball creation, hitting Cory Joseph with a hesi and then absorbing a foul from Richaun Holmes while calmly laying the ball up for an and-1, go-ahead bucket. The Kings, out of timeouts because of the timeout they took to insert Hield for free throws that he split with 17 seconds left, could only get a Hield halfcourt heave (that hit the front of the rim) for their effort to answer.
So, to recap: the Kings missed five of six free throws in the final minute of a game they once led by eight, allowed Charlotte to hit two three-pointers, fouled another three-point shooter, and with Monk driving, where the worst case should’ve been overtime once he entered the paint, fouled him but not hard enough to keep him from making the layup, letting him win the game at the foul line himself.
There are always new depths to be found.