Originally Posted by Sacramento Bee
Loss to Bucks is only half the pain
The other half is seeing center Brad Miller exit in the third quarter with a foot injury.
By Sam Amick -
Last Updated 12:46 am PST Sunday, November 5, 2006
MILWAUKEE -- Shareef Abdur-Rahim had it just about right.
"This wasn't the road trip we probably wanted, but it wasn't a disaster," the Kings forward said.
The first chapter to a season of so much mystery concluded with a whimper Saturday night at the Bradley Center, where the Kings found their offense just in time to lose their defense in what led to a 104-91 loss to the Bucks in front of a home-opening sellout crowd of 18,717.
But in the days to come, the Bucks' 37-point third quarter is likely to be long forgotten by the time another memory of this visit is still lingering. Kings center Brad Miller left the game in the middle of the third quarter, his injury dubbed plantar fasciitis (tissue inflammation) of the left foot. Although his exact status was unknown after the game, there was plenty of concern inside the locker room, with the general consensus the big man might not be back anytime soon. Miller sat on the training table with his foot up, trainer Pete Youngman installing a boot while the Bucks' team doctor inspected the injury.
Meanwhile, the Kings -- who led 55-49 at halftime -- walked away with their own bruises, unable to maintain the momentum that came with their Chicago comeback the night before.
"Both teams played back to backs (games) ... so you can't use that as an excuse," Kings coach Eric Musselman said. "Milwaukee played an excellent game. ... We've got a lot of work to do still. We're not happy with tonight's performance at all. It was a really poor third quarter."
The Kings' defense that had held true in both the loss to Minnesota and the win at Chicago fell apart in the third quarter, when the Bucks' used a 30-12 run to lead 86-71 entering the fourth.
"It was bad," forward Kenny Thomas said. "We just didn't react to the ball or help each other out." It was, as was the case all evening, a show run by all of the Bucks' starters. Center Andrew Bogut, the No. 1 draft pick in 2005, showed the leaps in his game by scoring 15 of his 21 points in the quarter.
Forward Charlie Villanueva, another of the game's young risers in his second season who was traded from Toronto for point guard T.J. Ford in the offseason, scored 10 of his 25.
Through three quarters, the Bucks starters had hit 33 of 50 shots. By the end, they combined for 97 points. Shooting guard Michael Redd was his smooth self, hitting 9 of 16 shots for 26 points. Point guard Mo Williams had 15 points and 12 assists.
Villanueva played through the pain of a hamstring injury that many expected to keep him out of action. Before the game, he told Kings swingman Francisco García he would not play.
After two games of shooting 38.5 percent, the Kings found their stroke in the first half. They even led 52-42 late in the second quarter, when an 8-0 run featured flashes of the previously unseen. After shooting guard Kevin Martin hit three free throws, swingman John Salmons -- who had five points in 31 minutes coming in -- hit one of his two three-pointers on a team-high 18-point night. Then, one night after point guard Mike Bibby had said his teammates needed to share the ball more, he and small forward Ron Artest did just that while on the run. From Bibby to Artest and back to Bibby, the point guard hit the fastbreak layup and the Kings were up by 10.
Artest, who hit 2 of 9 shots for seven points, has hit 15 of 53 shots. Bibby, 4 of 15 from the field for 12 points, is 14 of 46 since his early return from a right thumb injury to start the season.
About the writer: The Bee's Sam Amick can be reached at samick@ sacbee.com