Posted by: Kingsguru21 | October 18, 2009

Kings beat Warriors 101-94

If you haven’t, check the box score. It is real. (I listened to the game on 1050 AM from the Bay Area. More on that in a bit.) So, yeah, the Kings won. Whoopee, it’s pre-season. Does it mean much? Meh, I don’t know. I’m always wary of pre-season for every reason.

First, I’d like to congratulate 1140 and the Kings for leaving their non-Sacramento fans out in the cold. For whatever reason, the Warriors game was broadcast online. So should the Kings. ‘Nuff said. (Or, maybe not.) It’s one thing to not televise a game for financial reasons. But, you’re playing the game on the radio, and all your fans should be able to listen to it regardless of location. Thank You 1140 and Kings for saying “Fuck You” because I don’t live in the Sacramento area to tune into 1140. And, while I don’t mind having to listen to Tim Roye and Jim Barnett do the game, it’s not from a Sacramento perspective. With TV, I get that. But, radio? This goes down as a stupid decision on the franchise’s part, 1140’s, and the NBA (if they are behind the decision; which I doubt given that GS’s game was broadcasted online).

Now, onto the game. Given, that I was listening to the opponent’s broadcast, watching the box score, and dreaming of fucking Megan Fox simultaneously, I think I did okay in following the game.

Jason Thompson had a gaudy stat line. 20 points, 20 boards, and 5 assists. He will quickly be a already is a fan favorite, and with good reason. But, tonight was the kind of game that JT absolutely excels in and featured things that he already does well. Does it mean much beyond that? Check back in with me after a month goes by in the regular season.

Spencer Hawes line did not look nearly as good as JT’s, but he was not a chump tonight. IN fact, he was one reason I suspect that Andris Biedrins only got 25 mins. Because whenever Biedrins was in the game, he could not match Hawes versatility, and GS decided to counter by taking Biedrins out of the game with going small. (This was why I suspect so many F’s like Morrow, Maggette and Jackson (who played all 48 mins) got so many min’s thoroughout the game.)

Kevin Martin was 7-15 from the field (including 1-3 from 3) and 15-15 from the line. He had 32 points. That is the Kevin Martin I know & love. If only it wasn’t pre-season……

Melvin Ely, Sergio Rodriguez and Kenny Thomas did not play. I assume this means that Ely is not likely to make the roster given that he hasn’t played 3 out of the 4 games up to this point. As far as Rodriguez, that means something else, and I’m not quite sure what.

Donte Greene had 10 mins, and was 1-1 for 2 points. Yeah, you read that right. He also had 1 defensive board, 1 offensive board, a steal, a blocked shot, a turnover, and 4 fouls. (He really liked the #1 tonight.) I’m happy that he got minutes, and that he (probably) tried to do what PW asked. At one point, he grabbed an offensive board and passed it to Evans who got the score. That’s the kind of play Donte will need to stay on the court.

Omri Casspi had an interesting night for whatever reason. He started slowly (again this is from the box score), but picked it up as the game went on. That’s both a good sign, and an interesting roster perspective from PW in terms of how he will approach minutes at the 3 position.

As far as what it means to Casspi’s playing time, he played through a lot of missed shots (3-8 from the floor), and 4 Turnover’s. He also had 3 boards (2 offensive), 2 blocked shots, a steal and 4 fouls. I thought, part of the reason his shot count looks as bad as it did was because he missed a few shots he will need to make in order to be more efficient. Overall, he showed competency, and more impotantly, PW clearly has a ton of confidence in Omri Casspi. If pre-season has indicated anything, Casspi has played his way into the rotation. If this isn’t a sign of something good for the Kings (for a change), I don’t know what it is. This might be the blessing in disguise (as strange as that sounds) that may come with the Francisco Garcia injury.

Beno Udrih played 15 mins, and didn’t really stand out as a culprit. But, he probably didn’t help the team much tonight when they were losing ground. Oh well.

Sean May played about 6 mins, and had a few blocked shots plus a couple of perimeter J’s hit. Not sure what to make of it to be quite honest. Again, okay you get it.

Andres Nocioni had little effect, and only played 3 mins.

Tyreke Evans is someone I’ve purposed waited to write about until last. Believe it or not, one of the interesting points made was, as a StR reader pointed out, via Amick’s twitter, about Evans was this:

Exhibit A of why #nbakings (twitter account) love Evans’ size at point: Jax is on him, leaving Steph Curry to deal with K. Martin. Can you say attack mode?

That’s exactly why the Kings took Evans. With a player like Evans who lacks an outside shot, but has massive size, length and strength for a G, that’s an advantage you can exploit provided you give that player a chance to succeed within the system you’re asking him to run. The good news for Evans is that he got drafted to a team that desperately needed size and toughness, both of which he provides, but also has shooters around him, too. Shooters like, oh, I don’t know, Kevin Martin. Martin and Evans as a backcourt will have a very good year, and, as some have already speculated, could lead the NBA in FT’s attempted this season. (Maybe FT’s made too if Evans hits his FT’s around an 80% clip.) Now, Evans stat line didn’t look good, but it did indicate that teams will focus on him and leave Martin alone. That could mean, that while Martin is not necessarily the first option, being the 2nd option with after Evans means that they could figure out a way to score a lot of points. Either way, I’m excited to see that combination transpires given how each player operates. (If you haven’t figured that out already.)

I think we learned a few things, if nothing else, about Paul Westphal and how he will approach coaching this team. It’s all about matchup’s. I know, shocking. As if you didn’t see that one coming at all. (I mean, how could have I possibly thought that?) The matchup’s, I think, dictated that Donte Greene would play more minutes, and that Andres Nocioni receive hardly any. On the other hand, Noc got off the bench first, and Greene subbed in for him. Greene was pretty effective in his first stint, and I hope tonight, for Donte and PW, is a start of something that works for both player and coach. If not, this could be a detriment to PW’s legacy as a development coach.

On the other hand, I thought it took a lot of patience to let Omri Casspi to work through his early struggles and leave him out on the court. Once those early struggles commenced, Casspi got it going and at times provided that energy spark (or so it seemed) when the team got somewhat stagnant. I think PW has used the pre-season as a time to not only use his rotations in heavy minute form to create chemistry, but also in a way to see what types of players in what situations could work when thinking of what type of lineup’s work versus certain matchup’s.

With regards to matchup’s, and I suggest getting used to me saying this, it’s always about what successful for YOUR team. Just because the other team has a guy who drops 45 points doesn’t mean you’ve necessarily been unsuccessful. This is the NBA, and the reality is that those guys on the other side, even if they’re coming off a 17 win season, are damn good players and belong in the NBA (at some level). They wouldn’t be there otherwise. Sometimes, and I dont’ think it’s limited just to the Kings fanbase, fans forget this. If a player as I mentioned scores 45 pts, but the other guys only score 45 points along with him, that doesn’t necessarily mean the Kings couldn’t defend that guy. It probably means that at some level the gameplan was for that particular guy to get his, and focus on everyone else.

That’s exactly what DIDN’T happen with Tyreke Evans, and what sort of happened with Kevin Martin (at times) last season. When teams are already putting Kobe Bryant, Stephen Jackson on you defensively, you’re opening eyes. That’s called respect. Tyreke has that. PW recognizes it, and I applaud him for doing so. At the beginning of September (maybe), I was pretty skeptical that Evans would be ready to start. Obviously, I’m glad I was wrong.

If the pre-season has done nothing else, it clearly illustrates that PW won’t start Udrih because the matchup problems with Evans doesn’t exist nearly as often off the bench.

As far as everyone else, I think tonight shows that Desmond Mason will absolutely be in the rotation, and will most likely start at the beginning of the year. Whether that remains the case, or not, it’s very clear that Omri Casspi may start if Mason doesn’t continue to improve. I think the question, honestly, is how many mins will Mason get, either off the bench, or in a starting role to start the season. Obviously, the odd man out here will be Donte Greene, as expected, unless certain matchup’s dictate that he should get mins here or there.

The most interesting thing of note, I think, was that Jason Thompson played 42 mins tonight. What that means? I have no idea. Only Stephen Jackson played more mins tonight, and that was because I think he wanted, with Don Nelson in agreement, to be on the court for the full 48.

Which leads me to the truly important stuff. The Kings committed 24 Turnover’s to the Warriors 14. That’s an issue, but with such a young and inexperienced team, that was pretty much going to be expected. What shocked me was that the Kings out-rebounded the Warriors by 16 tonight (9 better on the offensive side). There could have been any number of explanations for this. The Warriors missed a lot of shots, but so did the Kings. The Kings were 38-86 for 44%. (They were also 22-28 from the line for 78%.) The Warriors were 34-85 for 38% (22-23 from the line). Andris Biedrins only played 25 mins, but did grab 8 boards. (Spencer Hawes on the other hand played 24 mins, and grabbed 9 boards.) Here’s the difference: Hawes, who was 2nd on the Kings tonight to Thompson’s 20, was not the leading boarder for the Kings. Biedrins led the Warriors. Part of the issue was, as far as I could tell, was that the Warriors are not as good as a rebounding team as they were last season, and they stunk last season.

I do think that 3 real trends have developed that mean something as the season progresses. One, is that team’s will have to commit a bigger defender to Evans if they want to neutralize him at any rate to effectively slow him offensively. Second, the rebounding is far better than it was last season. I don’t know if the Kings will be among the top 5 in rebound differential this season, but they very well could be top 10. I would attribute that to several things. The first is that Evans and Brockman are stud rebounders and will suck up everything that way into their hands. Second, JT & Hawes are rebounding at a higher rate, and they were your starters last season when things were always not so peachy. Third, there is a coherent coaching staff with a plan.

The third trend is simple: Paul Westphal is a real NBA coach. If you didn’t think so at the start of training camp, think so now. It’s clear it’s PW’s world and we’re just living in it. If you want minutes, you will have to defend his way. You will have to rebound. And you will have to do it his way. He won’t brow-beat you publicly like Phil Jackson, or scream maniacally like Gregg Popovich. That isn’t who Paul Westphal is. If you don’t do what he wants, he won’t play you minutes. At the end of the day, it’s just that simple. This isn’t about whether Kevin Martin defends effectively or not (you need him on the court), but this is definitely about what you do do on the court.

The Golden State Warriors are a mess. They’re best young players are Anthony Randolph and Stephen Curry. They have Monta Ellis and Andris Biedrins (still young in they’re own right), and some good wing players in Stephen Jackson and Corey Maggette. All of them doing acceptable worthwhile things, but the composition of that team is not made up of parts that necessarily compliment each other. You want to look at why I’m still a Kings fan; that’s the biggest reason. It’s easy to say that the Artest trade didn’t help the Kings (it’s naive to think that but whatever), or even the Bibby/Miller-Salmons trades to a lesser extent. I understand all that. But when you look at the major Kings impact players, most of them were drafted by the team and it’s Prez of Basketball Ops. Those are the players who matter most here. Tonight seems like a reasonable enough launching pad for that viewpoint to start taking shape for those of us who want to stick around for the long haul.

UPDATE:
Postgame reaction via Kingsflix.

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Responses

  1. If you think Megan Fox is Hot and Like Hot Pictures of Her, Visit Here:

    http://hotmeganfoxhot.wordpress.com

    Leave A Comment Please! Thanks!

    • I think she’s hot!

      • Can’t argue with that. Why I left the icon up there for people to peruse. (It’s an actual site for those that are curious.)

  2. It’s always a box-score only thing, but it seems that this team is discovering that, when the opponents have the ball there’s a thing called DEFENSE.
    I can see a lot of our players saying “Hey, that’s why the fans last year kept screaming that strange word…dee-fen-se…weird!”.

    It’s still a pointless preseason game, but, hey, keeping the by definition run’n gun team of the league at 94 points is not that bad…last year they scored something like 134 points in one game against us. We did very well at rebounding against Portland and quite good against LA, but you see how much we got better when we destroyed the Warriors yesterday…good work Truck!

    • I wish I could credit Truck, and I would bet he’s been very helpful with Spence & JT in particular, but Reke & Brockman need no introduction in how to board, and that’s been really helpful, too.

      This team may lose a lot of games, but I have a hard time seeing how I won’t enjoy watching this team grow & develop over the season.

  3. Good recap Pook, agree with almost everything you wrote. Don”t forget that Rony Turiaf was out and that probably contributed somewhat to the rebounding differential. Still the Kings had a great night on the boards.

    I disagree that Donté had a marginally acceptable night. Overall I thought he a disappointing night and did nothing to help himself. The difference in the way PW let Omni play through his slow spot and mistakes and the way é never got back on the court speaks volumes to me. The best thing the Kings can do for him right now is to send him down to D league ASAP.

    Talk about mismatches with the Warriors. Corey Maggette is 6″-6″ and weighs 225 lbs. ‘Reke is 6’-6″ and weighs 220 lbs. Maggette plays the 3 and logs significant minutes at the 4 when nellie goes small.

    I too am looking forward to this season and am eating my first words about Paul Westphal. He’s an adult and knows how to coach and make the guys earn their minutes.

    • Great point about Turiaf BJ, and you’re absolutely right I overlooked that.

      Yeah the Dubs aren’t very good, and it’s really not that big of a surprise. I was hardly shocked that they lost given their injuries.

      As far as Donte goes, I think he has become the “official” PW whipping boy. Why, well for reason’s that people say. I think Donte will always be the guy who divides people up around King fandom (for whatever reason).

      I agree with you about PW, and that fact has made me already appreciate the stability and honesty he brings to the table. It’s been a long time missing I dare say.


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