Posted by: Kingsguru21 | January 15, 2010

Kings watch speedy and powerful Sixers romp away in 4th qtr; lose 98-86

There is a saying about power, and I’m sure everyone reading this has heard the statement before. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Well, in the same sense, the speed of the Sixers as an unit is what doomed the Kings. Simply put, other than Kevin Martin, none of the Kings reacted well throughout the game to the aerial and speed show the Sixers were putting on. Jason Thompson had quality numbers, sure, but he did not react well to the speed of Thaddeus Young or the power of Elton Brand.

Box Score. 4 Factors:

Pace (Poss) Eff eFG FT/FG OREB% TOr
Sacramento 92.5 (92) 93.5 41.4% 40.0 25.6 20.7
Philadelphia 106.5 47.6% 24.4 24.4 12.0

The Sixers, despite their poor record, are somewhat deceptive. As in they are are not as bad as the 12-26 record would indicate.

I thought there were some interesting things that went on throughout the game so I’m bringing back the bullet style points again. And here we go……

* Spencer Hawes, if he was winning style points, played well given some of his limitations and everything else. He’s just not what this team needs in terms of athleticism, finishing, and the front line for a starting C. Unless something dramatically changes, that’s really the reality here. He’s best as a 3rd rotation big. (Not that we’re surprised by this.)

* Jason Thompson needs to be more clear with his shot selection. If nothing else, he dribbles into traffic, and he isn’t always active in flashing to the spots he needs to get to in order to get the shots he should take on offense. Some of this is JT’s fault, and some of this was the Kings team in general. Oh, and Jt’s defense really sucks. Move your feet young man.

* Omri Casspi (and Tyreke Evans–I’ll get to him) looked as if he hit the wall. Watching the Sixers feed, listening to Ed Pickney and Marc Zumoff talk about this, it certainly seemed evident to me that Omri’s energy and zany competitiveness was lacking. Whether that’s because Omri is physically tired (something I doubt) or has not mentally adjusted to the amount of the games the Kings will play in the NBA season, it’s impossible to tell. Only Kevin Martin, Spencer Hawes and Jason Thompson even adjusted to the game speed at any point. It’s damn near impossible to win when so much of your success as a team comes from the frenetic energy that Omri Casspi provides.

* Kevin Martin was brilliant at times; rusty, off and disjointed at other moments. I expected this, but the team couldn’t overcome Kevin’s lack of total brilliance all game. Too bad too because the Sixers, despite what challenges they posed, did not play their A game tonight.

* Tyreke Evans was badly off, and like Omri, has hit that wall a bit here in the last week or so. He’s been playing heavier minutes than he’s ever had to play in a league against a level of competition that is better than any other players he’s played against at any level until he got to the NBA. As a result, he’s tired somewhat, and I think that’s partly why the Kings were dragged so easily into the halfcourt game.

* Beno Udrih seemed effective when he got the ball and in rhythm, but the Kings never found him consistently when he was on the court. Beno should have had better numbers than he  had tonight.

* Why did Donte Greene not enter into the game until seconds left in the 3rd Qtr? I want to hear Paul Westphal’s answer because the combinations he was using was not working. I’m not saying Donte was going to work, or not, but I think Donte would have been a great player to stick on Thaddeus Young when he had it going. Of course, here is the problem with that too. Do you take Spence or JT to accomplish that? I say you take Spence out (who played his best stretch of ball during the 3rd qtr push) and let Donte/JT go at it against the front line. I will admit I don’t think Paul Westphal coached an awful game, but I don’t think he pushed all the right buttons. Instead of the minutes that were given to Nocioni & Udoka, I would have preferred Donte to have those minutes. Not only is Donte a reasonable post player (which he is still developing and is not always utilizing those skills yet), he is also the best athlete on a team desperately needing athletes. This is even more true when Omri Casspi is struggling.

* For every person who wants Sammy Dalembert, I suggest watching more Sixer games than judging how valuable he is in a small sample. The Kings are a great matchup for Sammy’s length and athleticism, and it showed all night when Sammy was on the court. That doesn’t mean Sammy does well against every team in every situation though.

* I’m not sure who the best player for Philadelphia was tonight. Take your pick from this pool: Andre Iguodala (12 pts, 10 boards, 7 assists and 3 steals), Allen Iverson (17 pts & 6 ast’s), Thaddeus Young (20 pts on 9-14 shooting, 4 boards and 2 blocked shots), and Elton Brand (14 pts on 6-8 shooting, 4 boards, 4 steals, a blocked shot and an assist). I’m not sure which won was best among the 5 (all did incredible amounts of damage at various times), but I am sure the Sixers don’t win without one of them playing as well as they did. That’s one incredible unit right there. And none of that mentions the player of the game….

* Sammy Dalembert ended up playing so well that he did make some Kings fans wish they would have traded for him. 17 points (on 7-7 from the floor and 3-4 from the line), 12 boards, and 3 blocked shots will do that for you.

* “We (The Kings) shot 37%, committed 19 TO’s, and it was nice to have Kevin Martin back. That’s the bottom line.” That is the line that Paul Westphal made after the game. Unfortunately, no questions on why Donte Greene didn’t make it into the game (or it didn’t show up on the youtube vid anyway) and nothing really much said. I heard a lot of disappointment, and not much else.

I thought this play showed exactly why the Kings were able to stay with the Sixers for 3 quarters:

Unfortunately, this was also the type of play the Kings routinely didn’t make throughout the game and what ultimately cost them.

So, here’s the final word(s) of all this nonsense. Tyreke Evans and Omri Casspi are critical to you playing well. The rotations now are being mixed up again, something that hasn’t happened much since early November, and the team is going to have to adjust to playing with Kevin Martin in the game. This is a young team that struggles against extremely big and/or quick teams. The Sixers, while not having great size, do have a great deal of quickness, and the Kings responded poorly as an unit. Additionally, I think Paul Westphal is going to have drop Ime Udoka out of the rotation minus some spot duty if he continues to play as he did tonight. It’s not Ime’s fault; the reality is that the Kings need more than what Ime Udoka can solely provide.

Also, I’m really tired of Tyreke Evans trying to split double teams at the top of the key. I would really love, if the Kings are going to play a deliberate half court style of game (which they did engage in for the most part tonight), to use Tyreke in more post up’s. I thought one area of the game where the Kings lost a lot of offensive opportunity was the ability to post Kevin Martin on Allen Iverson. Again, this game can be easily summed up in two words: Missed Opportunities. Between the lack of consistent ball movement (something I think partly due to Omri Casspi’s poor night), and the difficulty of integrating Kevin Martin smoothly with Tyreke Evans, the ball movement was lacking too often for far too long every possession. While the Sixers aren’t championship contenders, they also aren’t chopped liver and expecting them to roll over so you can win games won’t happen. Tonight was yet another step in the learning curve of a very young team that is suddenly found that NBA teams no longer think they can’t bring against the Kings. They know this team plays hard, and they’ve prepared to make guys utilize their weaknesses to score. The key sequence, of course, was the travel (I contest it as bullshit) called on Kevin Martin and on the next possession Tyreke Evans tries to split a double team and gets picked and then fouls Andre Iguodala on the clear path foul. Ballgame.

So, the Kings are back to being a bottom feeder. The difference in years past when these swoons happened and this year? This year’s team has 9 guys who are 25 or younger on the roster. I’ll take that every time. I’ll gladly stop with, “15-22 exists as progress with regards to my Baby Royals especially after last season” for 200 please, Alex.

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Responses

  1. Awful game (and I have the right to say so, given that I remained awake till 3 am to watch it). Tyreke was clearly in an off night, forcing too much (I counted 3 contested long 2s with 10 seconds on the shot clock), Omri too and the Sixer simply were more intense than us.
    KMart did quite well, but he was clearly still worried about his wrist, still a little rusty and I think PW did the wrong thing by substituting him so often, taking away the possibility for him to get in rhythm.

    For tonight’s game I think PW should start Dontè at the 3, so Casspi could come in with the second line and brings his energy, shooting and intensity without having to preserve himself.
    Reke and KMart have the unique talent to force opponents into foul penalty in three minutes if they decide to attack, so they should attack more than they did in the first quarter (when we were 0/0 from the line).

    • I definitely think “a” solution is for Donte to start and I agree that Omri may be better off in the interim to come off the bench and provide the Kings with firepower that way. Paul Westphal is going to have to play with the mix, and I think that’s an important thing too. On the other hand, the Kings are not guaranteed to magically play well regardless of who starts and who doesn’t at the SF spot.

      As far as PW substituting in or out, I don’t think it was right or wrong. I think it was probably best for Kevin, and that’s what ultimately matters here. Getting Kevin back in a flow is hard enough, but I thought Kevin did a pretty good job considering the context. Unless the Kings won, and did it so smoothly that nobody noticed, I think it would have made large groups unhappy.

      Unfrotunately Panz, you’re going to be staying up to 3, 4 or 5 am and remaining unhappy bro for the term of this season. Such is life as rooting for a young team that is still feeling it’s way in the league.

      Thanks as always for stopping by!

      • Sure starting Greene over Casspi doesn’t mean we’re going to win tonight’s game, and doesn’t mean we would have won yesterday’s game. We shot with the 37% from the field, including an 8 minute stretch in which we never made a field goal. The ball movement yesterday was decent overall, with some glimpse of greatness, and Reke’s number of assists (which was 4 at the half, not bad at all) suffered a little from the cold night of some of our Baby Royals (Ime, Casspi and Spence missed a good number of good shots).

        The greatest regret is that we could have won this game.

        Totally (or partially) unrelated: was Armstrong with the team? Maybe he could have guarded Dalembert (which, on his normal night, is a decent to woeful player) better than JT/Hawes, and maybe we wouldn’t have suffered 63 alley oop (I lost the count at one time) from the Sixers.

        • Your point about starting Donte over Omri is completely accurate Panz: There are no guarantee’s. I agree that last night was a very winnable game. Like you, I wish the Kings would have won.

          I think where I differ with most folks is that I haven’t adjusted my expectations of the team overall after seeing the team play well right up into the New Year. Having watched a few games in my life, I know it’s never that simple. I wish it was, but I know it’s not. If it ever happens, I hope I’m one of the few to recognize what special things are going on if a young team makes a leap immediately.

          Armstrong was with the team as I understand it (I don’t really have any real information on this though), but in street clothes as he wasn’t on the active roster. Apparently, he wasn’t comfortable with playing yet because of the Kings system, but that’s something I heard from Eddie at StR.

  2. I saw a different game yesterday. I saw Martin playing well on offense (not including his 3 TO’s, and 2 assists in 35 minutes). I thought he didn’t force himself on the team which was OK. However, I did see a real defensive liability player there (apart from Hawes & JT). He’s so quick and agile on offense and so slow and soft on defense. With regard to Tyreke, coming close to home may have affected him, but still, everyone said that when Martin is back Tyreke will assist 8-9+ assists a game, well…4 assists…
    Finally, Omri Casspi and Donte Green. Casspi was lost because he wasn’t invited! You can’t put it on his exhaustion, because three nights go he had a positive double-double. He did a real good work on Iguodala, and later even on Brand. Greene and Casspi are the only (Udoka as well) that actually guard. Greene had to play instead of Hawes or Martin.
    I do hope PW will do a better job today, otherwise we’re going to be in a big problem.

    • Well 4dav, while I understand your criticism, I’m not exactly sure what putting Donte Greene on Sammy Dalembert would have done. I understand that particular sentiment, actually, but I don’t know that Donte would have done well in that matchup.

      As far as Kevin’s assists, or Tyreke’s for that matter, it’s very hard to get a high number of assists when the team shoots 37% from the field. Very few players get assists in that context. I submit, that if a player got credit for making a pass before a player got FT’s (which is the one area where the Kings did well last night), you would feel differently.

      You also have to understand 4dav, that I’m like Tom Ziller in that I do not trust the real quality of passing by measuring assists. I consider it a total political stat, and therefore I do not trust the quality of those stats given the incredible gray area in which they are judged. If I went back and watched what was and wasn’t play by play, I could point out a totally different game than what the assists may show. Thats why I usually don’t criticize any player for their “low” assists. There are just so many factors there. Other than Sergio Rodriguez, I don’t think assists properly show ball movement in the appropriate context.

      I disagree about Kevin’s defense, and I wonder how bad was it really? Allen Iverson, who did some good things last night no question, as good as he was, was he better for the Sixers than Kevin Martin for the Kings? I would submit no.

      On the other hand, who can guard Iverson better than Martin can on the Kings? Sergio Rodriguez? Tyreke Evans? Jon Brockman? Donte Greene?

      I think 4dav, sometimes it’s wise to give credit to these guys for being the talented players they are than choosing to diminish credit for the other players because they aren’t as good. But, that’s me.

      Well, the Kings are now 15-23 and I consider that incredible progress given that this team won 17 games. If the team manages to win 28-30 games, that’s an incredible jump given how bad this team was last season. Not only bad, but woefully uncompetitive.

      Thanks for stopping by 4dav.

  3. I had a gig on friday night, so I listened to the game on KHTK on the way to the gig & missed the 4th quarter.

    & not to flog on the Sergio point too much (continuing from the other post); but when the offense is slow to start in getting into any rhythm I do think it might be helpful to put him in there for a minute or to just to change things up..can’t see that it would hurt if the offense is already stalled anyway.

    martin did a fair job on Iverson. not sure tyreke would have been any quicker on him…sergio could have probably stayed in front of him, but Iverson’s pretty wily;a cagey veteran; not sure if that would have worked out basketball i.q.-wise, for Serg but it mighta made a good learning experience for him.for anybody, really.

    • You bring an interesting point up Rhondda. How do you handle a stalled offense? Continue with the guys who haven’t done well up to that point, or substitute them with different players trying to win that game?

      There are times I wish Paul Westphal did that, I won’t lie, but I know he won’t because there is this: You win or lose with your best players of which Sergio is not one.

      • Of course you win(or lose)with your best players.Absolutely.

        & you’re right about Sergio not being one of the best players; he’s not as talented a shooter as Beno; not as strong as Tyreke, definitely the third option as a point guard,etc….I could go on….maybe even 4 after ‘Cisco’ comes back with his ballhandling skills as well….

        But:he does do two advantages that I see that could be utilized which is why I’m making an arguement for using him at times(in a rather limited fashion):

        he’s really fast & quick, & probably the best dribbler on the team. & like adding a little cinnamon to my flan he’s a “flavor” that used judiciously could improve offensive flow. Of course, just my opinion, but….

        Think back to the game against the Lakers and how derek Fisher couldn’t stay in front of Sergio, farmar could hardly keep up with him and ditto for their new point Brown. To me, that makes the argument in and of itself.

        • The thing is: I don’t know that bringing in Sergio gives you much of an advantage against a team like Washington or Philly because of their players (small & quick in the case of Philly–Lou Williams & Allen Iverson–and Washington–Earl Boykins namely) unless Sergio is playing out of his mind. But, again, that’s true of any matchup with any player in the NBA.

          I do appreciate what you’re saying Rhondda; I just don’t quite agree that the change of pace for 10 minutes a game is worth keeping Beno or Tyreke or Kevin or Cisco or Omri or Donte off the court.

          I suppose that’s what this comes down to.

  4. We can agree to disagree….my thoughts aren’t directed at keeping Beno, tyreke,kevin,cisco,etc….off the floor necessarily…

    it’s just an option to use Sergio when the offense stagnates, maybe a particular combination isn’t working that night or whatever, etc.; I’d like to see sergio get time because of his quickness, which seems to be his particular talent(i.e., his ‘upside’)…that & his passing; which has the potential to be superb if he’d calm down a little bit & not try so hard to be flashy(unfortunately, getting less floor time seems to encourage that, I think. Think back to Donte green last season & all the wild stuff he was trying to do offensively.After getting more playing time & confidence in himself [& receiving confidence from the coaching staff}he’s a much improved player.).

    take earl boykins from your previous example. I woulda liked to see sergio on him to see if he could stay in front of him or not. if he could, that’d be an argument for him seeing some minutes for particular matchups, since of course, matchups are very important in the game of basketball.

    if you’re not going to use a player at all, cut him loose or trade him.I don’t really see the point of extra players riding the pine all season.Of course, just my opinion; not like I’m either a coach, g.m. or owner.

    & thank you for the exchange…if someone disagrees with one’s position it helps bring clarity to one’s own positions…If you had simply agreed with me right off the bat, i wouldn’t have had the pleasure of fleshing out my own opinions on the matter so thoroughly.So thank you for that.

    • One of the many beauties of argument Rhonda, is that opposition makes you think about your own opinions differently. It’s one of the best lessons I’ve ever learned at StR about my basketball opinions.


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