Posted by: Kingsguru21 | January 5, 2011

Kings avoid blowout to the Hawks with last ditch effort; lose 108-102

There is 2 points to be made here that watching this game Kings fans should take away. The first is rather simple, and Debbie Downer’ish.

The Kings often look surprised that players like Jamal Crawford can shoot and score. Crawford has been in the L since 2000 and he did nothing he hasn’t done before. Crawford can shoot, and when you give him space and allow him to roam free, well you saw the results.

Joe Johnson showed why he’s an All-Star at the end with several of the players he made.

The single most frustrating thing for me was how often the Hawks spent from the mid 2nd qtr to the 5 minute mark of the 4th qtr in the open court and how many uncontested layups that they had in their halfcourt sets. Some of that is because they are a good team whose own young talent, well once upon a time anyway, has grown up together and shown why they are a good team. Some of this was simply that the Kings lacked energy for far too much of the game.

That said, when you look at the box score, you’ll receive an eye-opener.

If I told you that Tyreke Evans scored 29 pts, DeMarcus Cousins scored 24 pts, Casspi grabbed 11 boards and scored 10 pts (although not shooting well), I would have said the Kings would have been competitive.

Again, this is why I bring up the box-score is so deceptive: Don’t believe all of those numbers.

On one hand, you saw all of this teams’ weaknesses. At one point, I think Cousins was 2-11. He ended up 11-22 after making 7 consecutive shots (including the 3 with about 12 sec’s to go) in a row. He played well and was more active at the end than he had been at any point.

As poorly as Cousins played, he still found a way to go out and play well. Once they got the ball rolling, well, you can see the results. The results is a nice line that really rescued Cousins shooting percentages.

Tyreke Evans line was a decent one before the last ditch run. He was shooting nearly 50% for the game (and had dipped just a bit below that before the run), and had a few steals. However, in the 4th qtr, Tyreke was 6-8 from the floor. And all of those 6 misses were in that stretch. He also had 4 of his 8 assists in that comeback stretch too.

Namely, this game held as much value for the kids not giving up and salvaging their lines at the end as anything else. But, they almost nearly got back in the game too despite having been so far down at the beginning of the run. The Hawks made shots and their FT’s late. Simply put, the Hawks let down but the Kings also made a fierce run to see if they would fold. The Hawks didn’t tonight and that’s ultimately what sealed the victory.

Over the years, I’ve seen the Lakers do a lot of what the Kings did tonight except with a victory being extracted. The fact is that teams that can come back in games that seem lost give them more opportunities for victory than teams that don’t. This team has that innate knack for doing so. It’s both good & bad: Good they can come back and bad that they get so far down by playing so poorly in the first place.

Here is the box score.

A couple more notes.

* Pooh Jeter is starting to show why the Kings signed him. He isn’t perfect all the time, but the simple change of pace he provides and that he looks for teammates is a welcome sight. All of these guys appreciate him, and that’s why I said if Pooh can do what Sergio Rodriguez did without the distraction, he might be as good a pickup as the Kings could have gotten regardless of money. (If I didn’t say that at the time, I meant to.)

* Paul Westphal’s presser. Again, and I know this won’t be popular, but there aren’t lot of coaches who would have tolerated the youth on this team with the idea that there will be better times. Paul Westphal is one of them, and his patience, even if you don’t agree or understand it, is necessary in the development in these young players careers.

* Cousins said he didn’t come out prepared. I’ll give him props for admitting that, and I ask again: If a player isn’t ready, what is a coach supposed to do?

Having said that, DeMarcus Cousins is not the first player or the last to whom “not prepared” is an apt description for. The kid has his quirks and his issue’s. Expecting him to suddenly become professional in every sense of the word, to go out and show his stuff every night in a respectable fashion, and to be as productive as a NBA All-Star big is flat out ridiculous. P-A-T-I-E-N-C-E.

* I do not like Josh Smith. I do like Al Horford. (Yet you look at the box score, and one looked more effective than the other.) One of the encouraging things about Cousins that I saw was that he used his size to bother Horford at times early in the game. There aren’t a lot of guys in this league that can do that.

* I wish Beno Udrih had played better.

* Mike Bibby had 9 pts and 10 boards. All of the 9 pts came on 3’s.

* Arco’s announced attendance was around 11,900 and it seemed like there might have been 5000 people that actually showed up. I hope the Thursday game against Denver (that is being televised on TNT) is a full house. After the excitement of the win vs Phoenix, I thought maybe more people would show up for the game tonight. Apparently I was really wrong.

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Responses

  1. Somewhere towards the end of the 4th quarter an exciting game broke out. I had already written this game off as a loss before the game started and between watching OSU hold on for the win watching the Kings play fairly mediocre ball for large chunks of the game it was pretty much what I expected, until it wasn’t.

    * We were 11-18 on free throws

    * Beno couldn’t buy a basket last night, actually almost no one could.

    * Too many of the kids don’t understand that they can’t take a second off when playing defense. Way too many uncontested layups in my view.

    * Omri was a little off on his scoring but he played strong d last night.

    * I thought I saw some real chemistry last night between Reke, DMC and Omri last night. It might be nothing more than hope on my part but I believe that Reke and DMC are starting to understand what they are capable of when they play together.

    * This was actually a winnable game

    * I can’t prove it because I’m not willing to wade through all the comments at StR but Pooh is actually bringing what I thought he might be capable of. After I saw Sebastian Pruitti’s analysis of Jeter”s game I checked out some of his games in Europe and thought he would be a good fit in this role. He is doing a great job off the bench right now.

    See you on the game thread tomorrow or sometime soon. Good post Pook.

    • Thanks as always BJ.

      I agree it was a winnable game. But until these guys actually understand that part of being able to win is simply to stay and games and compete in them, this belief of “winnable games” is simply semantics.

      Winnable games tend to be, and I already see you rolling your eyes (in part because I am too), are the ones you win.

      We agree that Pooh has been good for this team. Pooh is more of a long term solution than Sergio Rodriguez anyway.

      The point you made about not playing every second on D? We’ll enjoy it when the light bulb flashes on in some of these guys head (if they do naturally), but until then we’re going to cringe a lot.

      Ridiculous Upside has a great tagline that I think applies to this Kings team: “Where potential is way cooler than reality.”

      If this Kings team can make a leap next season, they will be on their way. But it’s clear: Next season is the key. Until then, we’re all going to be arguing which route is our personal favorite.

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