Posted by: natehughart | October 22, 2009

Kings down Thunder 104-89

After having the opportunity to listen to the game on OKC radio, you could clearly hear the disappointment coming from Oklahoma City radio announcer, Matt Pinto, about the lack of continuity and, at times, aggression.

It was kind of the theme for the first 3 quarters as Sacramento was generally aggressive on 2 ends of the court leading to multiple fast break points and the majority of 3 pointers made for the game.

Than the 4th quarter came, and the Kings sort of lost the edge, slowly but surely, because they had difficulties matching up with Serge Ibaka and Etan Thomas (in particular).

That’s the short cap.

Looking at the box score, it was very clear this was a balanced attack. The Kings who were missing Kevin Martin due to a slight ankle tweak suffered in the Phoenix game, didn’t play any starter more than 28 minutes. That starter was Omri Casspi.

Sergio Rodriguez led the Kings in minutes with 34. Beno Udrih and Omri Casspi were tied for 2nd with 28, plus 4 others with 20+ mins. Only Tyreke Evans (who played a team low 14 mins), and Desmond Mason (18 mins) did not reach the 20 min mark.

What does this mean? It’s pre-season, and little to be gained by running your starters into the ground. Plus, there is a game tomorrow night with Utah, and extending your bench some made sense tonight. Plus, when the starters came out, and the bench unit consisting of Spencer Hawes, Donte Greene, Andres Nocioni, Sergio Rodriguez and Beno Udrih took it to the OKC reserves in the 2nd qtr, I think Paul Westphal saw an opportunity to give his starters the rest he was hoping for.

PW definitely had to be hoping for a strong game from both Andres Nocioni (team high 19 points on 7=14 shooting, 3-7 from 3, and 2-2 line along with 6 boards (1 offensive), 3 assists, 1 steal and 2 blocked shots on 26 mins), and Donte Greene (4-5 from the field, 1-1 from 3, 2-3 line, 1 rebound , 3 assists and 2 steals).

I’m sure it will be argued that Sergio Rodriguez was the real star of this game, but I think it was a team effort tonight. Rodriguez had 11 assists (and 5 Turnovers), 3 steals, 2 rebounds, 2-7 shooting (1-4 from 3 and 2-2 line), and, again, led the team in minutes.

Normally, I hate recapping the action with stats because I think it leaves a lot to be desired, but there is so little to say about this game that really stands out.

Omri Casspi had a very nice game with 17 points on 7-12 shooting, 2 of 5 from 3, 1-2 line to go along with 3 rebounds (1 offensive), 3 steals, a block and 4 assists (with 3 Turnovers).

I could keep going, but those were really the stars of tonight’s action. (JT had 15 points and 6 boards, and Sean May had 5 points and 8 boards.) It was truly a balanced effort that probably means little given how much each bench played in this contest (Out of 480 potential minutes for both sides, the starters played 213 mins–105 for Sacramento and 108 for OKC). The bench, though, played 135 mins for the Kings, and 132 bench mins were logged by OKC players.

That’s one way you can tell this was pre-season. You have 240 mins available at 5 positions a game, and I’m willing to be that JT/Hawes, Speed and Tyreke will average at least 35 mins a game. AT LEAST! That is 105 mins by just those 3/4 positions. I’m pretty sure you can bet that JT and Shawes will get at least 32-35 mins most nights if only because they are the most effective players on the front line.

The good news, I think, is that Donte Greene and Andres Nocioni performed and got into a flow in the 2nd quarter. Coming into this game, as I said, PW had to be wanting to see those 2 in particular perform well. At times, Durant turned the ball over being defended by Greene, and Nocioni did some nice things defensively (mostly fouling to prevent layups).

Do I have anything more to say about this game? Not really. It’s pre-season, and I think both benches did the heavy lifting tonight, I think it says more that the Kings bench outperformed the Thunder in the 2nd qtr, and the starters really out-performed the Thunder in the 3rd quarter. From there, the Kings simply coasted, and quite honestly, I can’t say that I care.

But, I’ll end with this. It’s better that the Kings won than they lost. If you prefer, the link to the video recap is here.

UPDATE 1: Royce from Daily Thunder has his recap up. Not surprisingly, he didn’t think it was a big deal.

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