Posted by: Kingsguru21 | March 22, 2010

Grizzlies beat Kings to the punch a little too often; Kings lose 97-85

So, yeah. Losses suck, but not entirely unexpected. Box Score. 4 Factors:

Pace Eff eFG FT/FG OREB% TOr
Memphis 92.0 110.9 48.8% 23.8 32.6 12.0
Sacramento 92.4 42.6% 11.4 29.2 15.2

The Kings lost. The big reason why is that they didn’t have all their horses. Tyreke Evans, if nothing else, is the franchise player of this team. If he’s not there, the Kings aren’t as good. It’s that simple. You especially saw this in the wide FT discrepancy tonight.

The other part is that the Memphis, even without Marc Gasol (what a complete boner on my part that I forgot to put in that he’s been out for weeks–I’m an idiot and never forget this), dominated the Kings up front in many ways. The play of the night that will remain forever indented in my mind is Zach Randolph just literally running around Jason Thompson to get the offensive rebound on the sequence where the Grizz went to the line and got the O-board back to back times.

Simply put, the Grizzlies utilized their athleticism, their physical front line and Hasheem Thabeet showed why the Grizz picked him with the 2nd pick in the last June draft.

The Kings started well, but the Kings are like most jump shooting teams. When the J’s stop falling, their offense falls and guys often attempt to compensate. By doing so, this creates a chain reaction of forced plays and this is where the bad TO’s came in. 5 TO’s in the 1st half and 5 TO’s in the first 6 mins of the 3rd qtr is not the way to start a half. Ballgame.

I’m not sure what was worse: The end of the 2nd qtr or the beginning of the 3rd qtr. Both were equally bad and both were poorly timed. (Naturally.) The Kings awful end to the 2nd qtr was what really gave Memphis the edge.

When you combine the fact that the Kings didn’t get to the FT line much, the Grizz shot well from 3, and outshot the Kings overall, plus out-rebounded the Kings badly over the last 2 1/2 qtrs, that led to the Kings demise.

Nothing particularly shocking really, and Memphis showed why they were 4 games over 500 coming into Arco tonight. (Speaking of, if there were 5000 people for the game I’d be a monkey’s uncle quicker than you can say Dolemite.) The Kings also showed why they’ve been 20 games under 500 for quite a while. It’s not that they play poorly for long, but they play poorly long enough during games that unless the other team matches the poor play it’s likely going to end the pursuit of victory for the Kings.

I will give credit to the team in fact that they play hard, and don’t give up. There’s a lot of spirit on this team, and I suspect that the players in this group are not satisfied with being “in” games. I understand that, and like that. It’s good to have players who take it personally that they lose.

On the other hand, strictly from a fans perspective, the Kings have been wholly competitive this season, have already won 7 more games than all of last season, and have some solid building blocks for the future. There is much to like with regards to this team’s future.

Having said that, the loss was disappointing in that the Kings were playing well and suddenly the wheels came off. Why that was so, I don’t know exactly, but whatever the reason’s it changed the game from being a mild blowout in the Kings favor to a mild blowout in the Grizz’s favor by the end of the game.

Player observations:

* If Beno Udrih chooses to unleash the Yeti on opponents every night next season, the Kings will be a 500 team.

* Francisco Garcia is doing what he does. Sometimes he shoots well; sometimes not. He plays with energy and enthusiasm and commits a few stupid TO’s. That’s one area where his game needs to improve if the Kings are going to make the next leap as an upper echelon team.

* I have little to say that’s nice about Jason Thompson at the moment. Let’s just say that saying that JT sucked donkey shit balls is a kind way to illustrate how ineffective he was tonight. Tomorrow is another day JT. Go get ’em kid.

* Spencer Hawes pretty much does what he does. He was more effective against Memphis than JT was (by a long shot), but his physical limitations are too much for him to overcome unfortunately. He’s a backup big with serious skill. No more and no less. I hope he embraces that.

* Carl Landry is a great post player. Not good, not very good, great. The problem is that he’s really not great or good at much else. Which is unfortunate, but at 3 million his offensive skills are incredibly valuable. His attitude and work ethic are also strong bonuses. Easily one of my favorite Kings even though he’s only played 17 games in a Kings uni.

* Ime Udoka impresses the hell out of me. I was wondering what Udoka really had to bring to the table when the Kings signed him in November, but now I know why they brought him in. He’s a guy who does the dirty work, does it with a dose of hearty professionalism, puts on his hard hat, and at the end of the day does anything he can to help the team win the game. If the Kings want to bring him around for the vets minimum to challenge Casspi and Greene for minutes (and another potential young player), I would not have a problem with it. For every Udoka miss from the perimeter, he makes up for it with a knack of finding rebounds, challenging shots, and finding ways to get his hands on balls that he has no business getting to. And, the story about him being a Nigerian PDX ninja is no joke: It’s flat out true.

* Dominic McGuire is a very very poor man’s Ime Udoka. Only he isn’t as strong, and doesn’t get the boards the way Udoka does.

* Omri Casspi has a long ways to go. But, hopefully he finishes out strong. He has a rookie 1st team spot to maintain if he can play anything near the way he did to start the season. Whatever issues he has with stamina, part of his issues are purely mental at this point.

* The bench couldn’t hit shit tonight. Well, I take that back. They could barely hit shit. The fact that the Kings are starting 2 bench players (on a better team) in the starting lineup in Spence & Landry, plus the fact JT didn’t have it tonight, makes me wonder how good this team will be when it does have better pieces in place.

* Donte Greene disappointed me tonight almost as much as JT did. Like Omri, Donte’s play has fallen off somewhat and Donte needs to steady himself somewhat over the final 11 games to make me believe he’s worth giving rotation minutes to in the future.

* I’m not convinced of Spence, JT’s, Omri’s or Donte’s future at all. All 4 have to figure out ways to become more consistent.

Memphis was the better team, played like it, and ended up with the win. The Kings didn’t have all their horses, didn’t get the performance up front minus Landry (and Hawes to a much lesser extent) that they need to win, and that’s pretty much that.

11 games to go. Much work has been done already. Much work remains to be done. The ride has only begun.

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