Posted by: Kingsguru21 | December 9, 2009

Hornets beat Kings 96-94

Box Score. 4 Factors:

Pace Eff eFG FT/FG OREB% TOr
Sacramento 87.0 108.0 52.5% 11.1 21.4 10.3
New Orleans 110.3 55.4% 18.9 21.1 13.8

We all saw the game. We all saw the final play. We saw JT foul out with 3:25 remaining in the game. The Kings were down 88-85 at that point. Marcus Thornton hits 1 of 2 FT’s, and then David West scoreson the block with Noc on him. The score is 91-85 Hornets at this point.

Tyreke Evans then gets a layup plus a foul shot to go. The score is 91-88.

Right up until Easy Reke’s “And1” I thought the Kings were dead. I didn’t see a comeback. I didn’t see the Kings being able to execute the baskets, or the free throw’s as it were, plus stop David West on the road to boot.

Yet David West kept scoring, Tyreke Evans almost willed the Kings back into a win, and that’s all that matters.

I know Andres Nocioni shouldn’t have missed those FT’s. I don’t think he missed the first on purpose, and I’m pretty sure he didn’t commit a lane violation on the 2nd FT on purpose, either. He made a mistake, and unfortunately this mistake kept the Kings from tying the game with a second left in regulation.

But all that misses the point. And the point is simple: The Kings were dead with 3 1/2 mins to go after JT fouled out, and yet they weren’t. That’s because of Tyreke Evans. If you don’t think this kid is going to be special, well you suck.

Every season there is a watershed moment where the season could be defined by a few minutes or a few plays. Last season the watershed moment was the bad loss against the Knicks at home after beating the Lakers a few days earlier.

This season? The watershed moment is tonight. This was a defining moment. We saw the beginnings of greatness. We saw something that can’t be replaced. We saw Tyreke Evans turn the corner. He’s not a better player than Chris Paul, and you can debate whether Tyreke Evans had a better game than Paul did.

Here is what NOT’S debatable: A 20 year old kid in his 19th pro game took a basketball team that had lost 2 games in a row, that had played hard all game despite the mistakes made, and nearly willed them, on the road, to a win.

If you want to quibble about Noc’s missed Ft’s. Fine. Quibble.

I prefer to remember this as the first clear evident sign that Tyreke WILL be great. Oh yes, make no mistake, there were plenty of sign’s in the first 18 games, too. I’m not saying that at all. What I am saying is that it’s CLEAR that Tyreke is special, and you can no longer deny this. (Not that I think anybody really is.)

Here is Paul Westphal’s comments after the game:

Here is Tyreke Evans, Jason Thompson and Spencer Hawes reaction:

Say whatever you want about missed FT’s, but only 3 players got to the line: Jason Thompson, Andres Nocioni and Tyreke Evans.

Yes, those 3 missed too many FT’s tonight to win, but that happens. The opportunity was there, and I am willing to bet that Noc will come back and have a strong game tomorrow at San Antonio. I very well could be wrong, however. I often am in fact.

This team DOES competes every night, and gives effort. Lost in the hoopla of the way the game ended, the Kings actually lost the rebounding battle 41-39. That’s not a good thing when you’re a better rebounding team.

Tonight, it wasn’t pretty. Tonight, there was too many missed FT’s (but the bigger issue to me is why only 3 guys got to the line in the first place), and tonight there was too many obstacles to overcome.

But tonight was really about Tyreke Evans taking another step in his pretty-obvious-by-now quest to become one of the best players in the NBA. Tonight was an unusual step, as every step is with the great one’s, and as Kings fans we get to watch this guy for many years to come. All I ask is don’t take it for granted.

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