Posted by: Kingsguru21 | January 31, 2010

Kings lose to Bobcats: 103-96

I was going to watch this game over again and then offer my thoughts, but alas being a poor pundit does have it’s disadvantages. One of them is having crappy internet and access to watching the Kings. Such is life I suppose. Box Score. HoopData Box Score. (A handy guide to all the definitions that HoopData uses is at B-Ref here. I suggest bookmarking this if you’re going to need it consistently.) And the 4 Factors:

The game itself I thought was a tale of 4 qtrs. There were 4 separate qtrs with 4 separate things going on.

The 1st qtr (if you watched the whole game) not surprisingly was the best qtr for our beloved Baby Royals last night. The ball moved, Evans broke down the defense, and racked up the assists to show for it. Hawes played as well as he can at the high post by showing his various abilities from there. Kevin Martin got hot.

Defensively, at times JT & Shawes played well on that end. Like the rest of the game, the Kings had no answers for Gerald Wallace. (But neither does the rest of the league really.) I thought Donte Greene did as good a job as Donte is capable of on G-Dub, but sometimes against a player of Wallace’s caliber (now anyway), that just won’t get it done. It happens. Unfortunately with regards to Wallace, it just got worse as the game went along. (In fact, G-Dub had 33 points by the end of the 3rd qtr.)

The 2nd qtr (to not be mistaken by the ghastly 3rd qtr), had it’s own issue’s. The ball movement stopped (mostly), and the reserves didn’t seem to have the same urgency (I’m hoping this isn’t becoming a theme) that the starters did to begin the game. Still, because of the 7 point lead that the starters (mostly) built during the 1st qtr, the Kings were only down 2 at the break. The 2nd qtr was, I thought, a well played qtr, and still provided the Kings every opportunity to win the game provided they didn’t have the 3rd qtr they ended up having.

Okay, obviously the 3rd qtr was the lowlight, and it’s a remaining problem that this team has: It hasn’t figured out to how score the ball consistently. Given this team’s poor defense, it doesn’t behoove this group to take poor shots and not move the ball on offense to get the best shot possible. Of course, when you’re running such a group inflicted with youth, they haven’t figured that out. 3rd qtr’s with a young team happen.

One note on Tyreke Evans: I hope the hip that was bothering him doesn’t have a lingering effect. When he was right last night (and he supposedly had hurt the hip the night before in Utah), the offense flowed smoothly between Reke and Speed (in particular).

I think Edm7 of StR made a great point in his recap of last night’s game: The Kings offense is trying to mix a more systematic Princetonish level of play with a more individual 1 on 1 style that Tyreke Evans employs. The mix, at times, is not pretty, but last night there were great signs that there is reason to stay the course and keep this team together and not break it apart prematurely.

The 4th qtr, though, offered signs that Sergio Rodriguez minutes in the rotation. He clearly is capable of moving the ball and getting players involved in the offense. Yet, I will offer up a particular play late in the 4th that essentially stalled the comeback. Sergio had the ball and was running a particularly hotly contested break and Sergio tossed the ball to JT. (This was like 2 1/2 minutes to go.) JT got stuffed by Gerald Wallace and the Bobcats ran back and ultimately scored. (Mostly a result of a tough shot made by Flip Murray.) The point here is that while folks focus on the change of pace and maybe some extra ball movement when Sergio is around, he still doesn’t have the feel of a game and it’s flow that you need to have if you’re going to be an important factor in victory for a team. Sergio doesn’t have that. I don’t know how I know it; I just know it watching him over the course of the season. It’s the reason (I think) that the Blazers paid the Kings to take Sergio off their hands over the summer, and it’s why I think Paul Westphal won’t use Sergio unless it’s an extreme situation. Whatever PW says publicly doesn’t mean half of much as the minutes he gives to players.

All in all, I think this game showed all the tell-tale signs of what the Kings CAN offer offensively, why they are losing games recently (their offense isn’t as consistent), and that setting a rotation every single game is a difficult task given the ups & downs of the entire roster. I do not envy Paul Westphal one bit although I wouldn’t mind that mil & half he’s making this season.

I’ll say it again & again: Such is life when following a young team. The trials and tribulations of this group will continue to frustrate, and, on a few occasions, amaze. There’s a saying that I think works well here: Delayed Gratification. Your 2009-10 Sacramento Kings: To delay the gratification for future benefit. Ayup.

A totally unrelated side note: Kings players will donate a 1$ for every fan in attendance to the relief effort in Haiti. That is yet another reason to attend the Spurs game on Wednesday if you were planning on going.

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