Issue 78: Would You Rather Be a King or a Queen Bee?

It’s been a while since we’ve looked at a forgotten game, and this one includes two teams that…well, are typically forgotten.

Ask most fans — hardcore and casual alike — to start naming NBA teams, and you’re likely to hear a dozen or so other squads before they get to the Charlotte Hornets and Sacramento Kings. Yet on January 25, 2016, the two combined for a DELIGHTFULLY entertaining ballgame.

The game ran past 1 in the morning on the east coast but still finished at a smooth three hours and 10 minutes (also known as shorter than just about every baseball game) despite going to two overtimes.

Also, yes, I know hornets are different than bees but that doesn’t make for as much fun wordplay in the issue name.

Who Played the Bestest?

DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins led the way for Sacramento, scoring a career-high 56 points while pulling down 12 rebounds before fouling out. Rajon Rondo could have had a triple-double with his 10 rebounds and 20(!) assists, but he only scored seven points. Classic.

Charlotte, meanwhile, had four different players score at least 20 points: Jeremy Lin, Kemba Walker, Marvin Williams, and Troy Daniels (more on him later).

This game also featured several players I’m surprised were still in the league even all the way back in 2016. The Hornets had tall blokes Spencer Hawes and Tyler Hansbrough playing a combined 50 minutes, while the Kings trotted out Omri Casspi and Kosta Koufos for nearly 40 minutes. They scored 13 points between them — Casspi had 13, Koufos had zero. I relate more to Koufos in this scenario.

Here are my two favorite advanced analytics stats from this game:

  • Cousins had a 44% usage rate, meaning that 44% of Sacramento’s possessions involved him (that’s SUPER high; Michael Jordan has the all-time highest career usage rate and it’s 33.26%).
  • Sacramento’s Ben “Don’t Call Me Ryan Lewis” McLemore had a 40% turnover percentage. That means over the course of 100 possessions, he would be expected to lose the ball 40% of the time. It’s like when you drop something on the ground and just keep kicking it away from you while trying to pick it up, all while “Yakety Sax” is playing in the background.

Helen of Troy (Daniels)

This game started off looking like the Kings would run away with it. They were winning by 15 after the first quarter, but the Hornets remained undeterred. They buzzed their way back into things and even held a six-point lead with under two minutes to go.

Then a bunch of fouls happened and we found our way to overtime. It could have all been avoided if Walker made a free throw, but he DIDN’T, and we got free basketball as a result.

In the first overtime, the Hornets again had a chance to win, but Willie Cauley ”Flower”-Stein used his big ol’ long arms to block the potential game-winner. Let’s go to double overtime!

I told you we’d mention Troy Daniels again, and…well, here he is. The Kings got a bucket with about 12 seconds left, so the Hornets drew up a really wacky looking play. They still had plenty of time, but Troy Daniels needs no time.

He somehow moves back about four feet from where he caught the ball despite not taking a dribble, then hits a 30-footer. The Hornets hang on to win 129-128.

Meanwhile, Cousins looked as displeased as most of America during the final scene of The Sopranos. I hope there’s some gabagool in the locker room.

Also a random fun fact: the following season, the Kings traded Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans, who had formerly been the Hornets for a few seasons. Life truly comes full circle, doesn’t it?

Here’s a look at the full highlights:

Other Reads and Watches

Jacqueline LeBlance: Meet Pepper Persley, The 10-Year-Old Making a Name for Herself in Women’s Sports Media

Ben Dowsett: How the NBA’s five full-time referees are changing the game

Look at this wild stat about no one making three-pointers

Kevin Love has given up

That’s all ’til next time. Thanks for reading!


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