Thursday, May 16, 2002

IF ONLY BASKETBALL WAS JUDGED LIKE FIGURE SKATING: Diane Pucin on the aesthetics of the Kings:

Sacramento has a group of players who see the floor well and seem to see all the possibilities the game can offer. They see all the possibilities because so many are available to this team. "We can do so many things," Sacramento guard Doug Christie says. "We have a lot of guys who are versatile."

When the Kings play offense, all five men are involved. Any of five players can pass and score. Big men such as Vlade Divac, Chris Webber and Peja Stojakovic can dunk and shoot from outside. The Kings play fast, yet they play patiently. They do things by instinct, but it is instinct produced by visualizing their next move and the one after that. They sometimes seem like the chess master who never, never concedes he has been stopped.

When there are five, four, three seconds left on the shot clock and the defense is about to congratulate itself on a great possession, Mike Bibby or Webber or Christie will make a soft bounce pass to a sneaky cutter who has been forgotten by a defender who was already thinking about the next play. The Kings never give up on finding ways to score because they have so many ways to score.

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