Posted by: Kingsguru21 | March 18, 2009

Hawks 119 Kings 97–the game recap

When you’re team loses by 22, and you have to summon words, I find it difficult. But, to summarize the game in a word,”dunk” would be the word of choice. As in, the Hawks had way too many. (I forget how many they had. Somewhere between 15 & 20?) The Hawks had 64 points in the paint. The Kings had 30. The Kings actually got 30 points in the paint.

What you say? 64 Points in the paint? Basically, that’s why the Kings lost. Okay, we figured that out.

But, why does this team have a terrible 4th qtr? Let’s backtrack to the end of the 3rd qtr instead.

Jason Thompson scores on a putback layup inside at the 1:24 mark of the 3rd qtr. The Kings are within 2 at 88-86. (This was after Udrih missing a 3. And JT fought Pachulia & Smith inside to get the board.)

Thenext possession Joe Johnson hits a long deuce. The lead is back to 4. The very next possession is where the wheels fell off so to speak.

Kevin Martin runs around a screen, and has a decent shot at a 3. He takes it. This is at the 46 second mark of the 3rd qtr. The very next play Bibby pushes the ball down the court, and give it up to Zaza Pachulia. What happens? Well, good thing for the Kings that Pachulia traveled because he had a dunk if he hadn’t walked. The next play?

Udrih takes a jump shot. This isn’t my favorite play. You watch guys criss cross each other offensively, and then, well you sort of stagnantly take a jump shot. This is a snapshot of the Kings season.

After Beno misses the J, Acie Law rebounds (keep in mind we’re still in the 3rd qtr–after the dead ball Law came in for Bibby), and pushes the ball the length of the court. Flip Murray gets a dunk.

Now in of itself, this is one play. The problem is that it signal’s the perfect problems the teams have.

A) They’re terrible in transistion defense. I thought Brad Miller was bad at getting back on defense. Somehow, Beno Udrih has been worse at it. (He’s not alone here.)

B) Their choice of offense is not condusive to consistently scoring the ball on offense, no matter how many points they “average”. That’s very misleading when you look at this team per 100 possessions, FG%, or Turnovers. They shoot a lot of jumpshots because a lot of guys on this team are comfortable doing it. That’s the 2nd issue.

C) Early during the 1st qtr, Jason Thompson was running the floor and Kevin Martin missed him because his ball handling and looking for players in transisition has not developed to the point where he’s comfortable at finding a player in these kind of transistion opportunities. This is the NBA where a guy being open for a whole second is a long time to get him the ball. You have to be looking for the potential of that opportunity; not react to it when it happens. Yes, Martin saw JT running down the court. Yes, SpeedRacer saw JT get open. I’m even sure he wanted to get the ball to him. He’s just not adept enough to run the ball down the court like that and get it to JT when he’s running the floor like that. (Re-watch the 1st qtr and you’ll notice what I’m talking about.) If Martin’s ball handling doesn’t improve to the point where he can find JT in those scenario’s, then his game will never hit the next level. It’s at the point where teams are daring the Kings to run because they know the Kings don’t have enough ball handlers to compensate.

D) One can argue which is worse at this point: the interior defense/rebounding or the ball handling. I’m not really sure how to argue this. I know that one of the 2 bugaboo’s tends to hurt the Kings every game, and often enough, it’s been both area’s. I do know that if the Kings get Blake Griffin or Ricky Rubio, they will have more talent than they have now. (I’m not going to argue for Rubio here.)

E) Kenny Natt hurts the team every night they go out there and expect him to out coach the other guy. There is no other way to get around it.

Are there any solutions for the team this season? Yeah, I’m not sure about that. The best thing this team can do is play hard, do what they can, and work on their individual weakness’ in the off-season to ensure this kind of season doesn’t happen again. This team has talent; alot of it in fact. Greene (21), Thompson (22) and Hawes (20) all are 22 or younger. Martin is 26. Garcia is 27. Nocioni is 29. Udrih is 26.Kenny Thomas is 32 but, either way, he won’t bring much for the team beyond whatever worth his expiring contract has.

This team has a future. It has potential here now. It doesn’t have a coach. (And you ask why I typed 800+ words to say that? Because, among other things, that’s the only thing other than whom the Kings draft in June that will generally change this team for the better long term.)

One last thing: All game long I kept waiting for the wheels to fall off. When I finally watched the rest of this game (I lost my Internet watching the game live, and didn’t wake up until 6am to finish watching the game), one thing became clear. This is a team with some mish mashed parts trying to put together a cohesive group on the fly with a coach who is ill-equipped. The team plays hard (I didn’t think the team really quit playing until garbage time happened), and every single night, their offense schematic, or their choice of shots, hurts them every night out. These choices hurt the Kings offense, defense, and record. Which is why you have whispers of this being one of the worst teams ever.

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Responses

  1. Nice to see you posting again pookey. Not much I can add, but I think the important point is that the team is again giving a decent effort on a nightly basis. That seemed to be missing for a while.

    Beyond finding out who is willing to give maximum effort every game on a bad team, I think these last few weeks of games are primarily of importance for two reasons.

    First, keep allowing that young frontcourt to get experience. JT needs to learn to play defense without getting himself into foul trouble, and Spencer needs to figure out where his interesting mix of offensive skills fits into the league.

    Second, this is really the last chance for Kenny Natt to show he has the basic coaching chops necessary to be a head coach in the league. I don’t have great hope for that, but who knows? I figured Mike Woodson would be long gone from Atlanta by now as well.

  2. Good points Otis.

    To your first point: I think the effort and the ability to cut out selfish play will help this team improve. Last night it was about every guy getting his, and fuck everybody else. You can’t exactly do that and expect to win. (It was funny to see Solomon get called out in Amick’s recap.)

    I agree with you about JT & Shawes. What better time to get them experience than now? Atlanta is not a terrible team–they’re 40-28 after last night– and they provided matchup issue’s that JT in particular struggled with last night. I thought the greater issue with Spencer is that he just got frozen out after the 1st qtr. He played great until he was taken out in the 2nd qtr, and then was flat for the rest of the game. Consistency is someting that both Shawes & JT struggle with, and my belief is that Natt won’t help in this regard. His substitution patterns are bizarre (the only time I couldn’t quibble was when he brought Booth in the 2nd qtr) and I find it difficult to understand exactly why this Kings team does the things it does.

    I found the comment by Beno saying they have to listen to Natt more often curious. Why would you actually say that unless you don’t respect the guy? Natt has no control over these guys (well neither does any coach really), and there is nothing he can do. He’s pulled out every maneuver in the book, and this team still has issue’s.

    Last but not least, thanks for being the first commenter!


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