Posted by: Kingsguru21 | January 29, 2010

Kings lose to Jazz on Hot Rod Hundley retirement night; 101-94

A lot of interesting things from a number of perspectives, and I’ll try to break them all down for you. Key Word: Try. Box Score.  4 Factors:

Pace (Poss) Eff eFG FT/FG OREB% TOr
Sacramento 92.3 (92) 102.2 46.7% 30.3 22.5 17.4
Utah 109.8 51.4% 37.5 26.3 15.2

Also, you can see the Hoopdata Boxscore when it’s available.

Now, it’s pretty simple from my view what happened to this game, and why the Kings lost. It was a game of runs, and the Jazz, despite not having Deron Williams or Carlos Boozer, still have better players across more positions. You factor in the Hot Rod Hundley retirement (and the emotions it invoked), and that Paul Millsap was Jason Kidd-esque, and it was all she wrote.

I’m going to quote Section 214 here since he said it so well in the StR post game thread:

My first time questioning Westphal: Hawes took a seat as a result of the match ups that Sloan put on the floor. When Okur sat, Hawes sat. Given the fact that no one could stop Millsap, why not give Spencer a try? And then how about posting up Spencer against the small lineup, or at least running him out of the high post to open up the middle for offensive boards?

This is well said. (Shocking I know. One of the editor’s of the biggest Kings site on the interwebs knows something? Shocking.) I also think it points out that Paul Westphal sometimes tries too hard to match up to matchup’s. Or, does he? I’m not going to second guess Paul Westphal as the head coach. But, like any head coach, I think he gave Spencer too little slack, and Jason Thompson too much room. Way toooooo much room. Like, Salt Lake City sized room. Spencer was in the game, and it was no accident IMO, and the Kings were at least even (or slightly ahead) in the rebounding category.

Then, Spencer doesn’t play for most of the 2nd half, and the Kings end up losing the rebounding battle. Huh?

Additionally, I would have loved to see Spencer on Paul Millsap. A few notes on Millsap: He may be the most under-appreciated NBA player by fans overall. Unless you’re a hardcore fan, or a fan of the Jazz, not many realize how good Millsap really is. When you factor in a talent like Andrei Kirilenko doing the things that he does, which includes stellar ball handling for a 6’11 guy with a 7’5 wingspan, and the fact that Millsap and AK47 picked up 10 assists, with ‘Sap getting 7 of them, that’s not a winning combination when you’re the Kings. Coming into the game, I absolutely knew ‘Sap would be featured for the Jazz, not just because of Boozer’s absence, but because that’s what the Jazz have done in the past regardless whose on the court. Millsap IS THAT GOOD folks. Which is why I’m surprised there wasn’t even an ATTEMPT that Spence defended Millsap once in this game.

Now, onto some of the good things.

Tyreke Evans and Kevin Martin as a pairing worked tonight. In fact, offensively anyway, they kept the Kings in the game by being the only reliable offense the Kings had tonight. The only times that the Kings really broke down with either guy was when Tyreke walked the ball up the court or took an ill-advised shot here or there. (There weren’t many.) Most of the problems by either guy were early TO’s racked up in the 1st qtr. Either way, when Martin has 33 pts, 7 boards, 3 assists & 2 steals, he’s doing something right. That’s vintage SpeedRacer. Tyreke Evans, not to be outdone, had 25 points (on not as efficient shooting), 6 assists, 1 o-board (that shockes me more than anything else), and 2 steals himself. Speed had 3 TO’s, while Reke had 4.

The 2 man game was at times devastating, and showed great signs that this backcourt can not only work, but work very well despite the opinions of pundits (like Matt Harpring who kept talking about why it wouldn’t work on the Jazz telecasts–well, what about tonight Matt?) who believe Martin and Evans are an ill-fated match. Umm, yeah. But enough of them.

As far as everything else, Jason Thompson stunk the joint up again. As much as people get on Spencer (and I’ll have something on that article today in the Bee by Amick tomorrow before my game preview–I know it’s late) and his ability to guard people, what amazes me is how few people notice it with JT. He doesn’t move his feet, spends way too much time arguing calls when he should be playing, and quite frankly doesn’t know where to use his hands yet. He, much like Spencer, is very much a work in progress. While JT has many skills I like, they just don’t always translate as well as they should.

Whomever pissed in Beno’s cheerios this morning, thanks a lot. I like my Tasmenian Slovenian just fine thank you.

Brockman, May, and Udoka were not greatly effective. Again, this is what happens when the shine starts to fall off a bit and teams get a chance to scout the combinations and sets teams run. The Kings have been scouted, and simply are playing better teams lately, and it showed again tonight.

I’m going to credit Noceone of StR of pointing this out in the game thread, but the Kings really lost the game in the 3rd qtr when the bench came in and there was a big hole, once again, that the starters had to dig the team out of. When you consistently have to dig yourself out of holes in the NBA, you will lose. Tonight, is yet again an example of this simply complicated phenomenon. (It’s called a growth process. Also, called the talent isn’t the perfect mix yet.) The Kings have depth, but it’s not the kind of depth that will translate to victories. Hilton Armstrong, again, showed by not being chosen to come off the bench is not the answer. (And wasn’t ever likely to be.) When you can’t match a team’s energy consistently, or scoring consistently, when the other team goes to their bench, and even more so when a team doesn’t have it’s 2 main stars like Boozer and Williams, you’re not going to win at the road, or at home. I don’t like blaming a loss on the bench as those aren’t usually your best players anyway, but tonight the bench essentially was the difference between a chance at a 2nd victory in SLC tonight. It’s not all the benches fault certainly, but it’s a very big component as to why the Kings weren’t able to ever really scare the Jazz and make it a close game down the stretch. At halftime, it was 49-46 Jazz. With 4 1/2 minutes left, it was tied 59 up. By the end of the 3rd qtr, it was 73-63 Jazz. Ballgame.

If you thought the Kings losing to the Jazz by 7 were bad, I shudder to think what would have happened if the Jazz had Deron Williams tonight. (Boozer, not so much because of Millsap.) Oh well.

Last but not least, the very deserving Hot Rod Hundley had a retirement banner lifted to the rafters in his honor by the Jazz tonight. A better honor couldn’t be bestowed on a better announcer. Hot Rod was terrific for those who’ve never had the pleasure of listening to a game called by the man. Absolutely incredible. If for nothing else, I’m glad I got to see the ceremony because the Kings were playing. While the game for the Kings stunk, it was good to see a real legend, and a NBA legend like Hundley, get honored at such a time. And, of course, Hundley announced part of the 3rd qtr, and showing that he is truly in retirement, didn’t know who Jason Thompson was when he scored a layup. Even though Hundley has been in retirement since last season, hope it goes very well Hot Rod!

For everyone else, tomorrow is another day. And, tomorrow it’s the Bobcats. Go, umm, beloved dipshits Kings?

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