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When things are going well for shooters, it is said the basket looks as big as the ocean.
During the fourth quarter of Sacramento's 109-88 loss to the Orlando Magic Tuesday night, the basket looked like a thimble.
And one with a big, mobile, elastic-like hand in front of it. That hand belonged to Magic center Dwight Howard, whose presence and mobility played a major role in the Kings making just four of 22 field-goal attempts.
That 18.2 percent fourth-quarter field-goal shooting percentage changed a 78-76 Kings lead entering the final quarter into a early walk to the parking lot for the crowd of 14,426 at Arco Arena.
The Magic out-scored the Kings, 25-6, during the nine and a half minutes of the fourth to turn a hotly-contested game into an Orlando laugher.
Even Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, who wears a smile during a game as often as he breaks out into hilarity, managed a deep grin as his unit of three subs (former Kings first-round pick, Jason Williams, Oak Ridge High School star Ryan Anderson and Mickael Pietrus) along with Howard and JJ Redick (starting for injured Vince Carter), played every minute of the fourth quarter.
"Guys came off the bench and locked off the lane," said starting forward Rashard Lewis, "And instead of guys going to the basket like they were during the first three quarters, they had to shoot jumpers - and they weren't making them."
Sacramento's absence of post scoring ability reared its head again. It is extremely difficult to score predominantly from the perimeter, and the Kings were out-scored, 52-26, in the paint.
Forward Jason Thompson blamed himself, as he has recently, for the team's troubles. "I'm supposed to be one of the team's leaders," said Thompson, who started at center and had just six points, five rebounds, three turnovers and no assists in 19 minutes. "I've never played like this in my life and I've got to get out of this to help the team."
Orlando (26-12) received a game and season-high 30 points from Howard, who also grabbed 16 rebounds, handed out five assists and had three steals and blocks each.
Howard's block total was tripled by his number of shots changed.
Kings swingman Donte Greene said it's a good idea to know where Howard is hanging out.
"You always have to be aware where he is," Greene said of Howard. "Him and (Cleveland's) LeBron (James) are the best shot-blockers, to me." Howard only blocked one shot in the fourth, but his presence encouraged the Kings to attempt seven three-point field-goal shots.
The Kings, who shot just 34.9 percent for the game, made none of their fourth-quarter threes.
Coach Paul Westphal's squad played well before the basket turned into the thimble.
"I hate to let that fourth quarter put a damper on a game where we did so many good things against another top team," he said, "but the fourth quarter obviously is going to leave a bad taste in our mouths."
Westphal said a mouthful there.