Posted by: natehughart | January 29, 2012

Kings lose to Utah Jazz 96-93

There are only so many ways I can crap on Tyreke Evans for being a lackluster clownball Washington Generals like player. This has, among other things, gotten old. The problem is that like most things is that this history keeps repeating itself. What drives me absolutely crazy about Tyreke is the simple fact that he can run plays, doesn’t at critical stretches, and makes rudimentary errors that HS’ers get scolded for.

What galls me more than anything is the missed layup Tyreke had with about 2:45 remaining in the 4th qtr. That was a perfect opportunity for a left hand, and a perfect opportunity wasted. The goaltending call on Paul Millsap with 30 seconds remaining was another lucky incident. What gets me, and what is driving my anger, is that Tyreke shows he can run an offense and actually get the team into plays. What he doesn’t show is the commitment to do it for 48 minutes. That’s unacceptable, and as long as that continues I will continue to be absolutely one sided unfair. I will kill him for ridiculous lazy lapses like the CJ Miles layup wit 1:49 remaining. There was no call for that whatsoever. The Kings were down 3 points at the time, and Miles walks into the paint nearly uncontested for a layup. You can’t point fingers at someone like Jimmer Fredette and then play porous defense on critical possessions against the Jazz’s 6th or 7th best player. That’s Tyreke Evans in a nutshell. Did I mention the guy had 31 points (12-20 floor, 7-7 line), 9 assists, 6 rebounds (4 offensive though), 2 steals and a block tonight?. Also 4 turnovers including a ridiculous offensive turnover down the stretch of the 4th qtr. That’s Tyreke Evans in a nutshell. Excellent numbers wrapped with enough moments to make even the most vigorous and/or aggressive of mental midgets jealous.

I liked the zone that Keith Smart went to not because of what the Jazz did or didn’t do, but because it actually somewhat enforces the concept of actual responsibility by individual players. With players like Isaiah Thomas, it also makes a lot of sense to use his speed and length in a reasonable way.

Cousins played 36 minutes tonight. That’s something. (I’m being nice.) It’s more than I realized before looking at the box score.

Donte Greene is still mostly worth very little to this team. Nothing has happened under Keith Smart to make me consider otherwise, and right now I’m hoping Tyler Honeycutt can work his way into the rotation. Because, honestly, it’s hard to imagine how Honeycutt could be worse than Greene has been. Which is unfortunate because A) Donte Greene has NBA talent, B) is a quality teammate and C) needs a fresh start elsewhere to his career. Whatever it will be though, you can bet that Donte Greene will have to make his living in the NBA as a stretch 4 because it won’t be as a primary 3 man.

I’m wondering if Power Balance Pavilion is built on an Indian Grave Yard or something. Because whatever it is, Chuck Hayes didn’t deserve a separated shoulder yet again. Hopefully Hayes can return sooner than later, but at some point the injury has to heal before Hayes can realistically see court time. My favorite play of the game (which didn’t count officially) was seeing Tyreke Evans actually run a NBA play (it shocked me too) by running around a pick who then passed to the Chuckwagon. The Chuckwagon fires a great crosscourt pass to Francisco Garcia who hits a 3. Unfortunately, the end of the qtr clock had expired and it didn’t count. But, if it had? Yessir.

Lefty Speedy Gonzalez was the sole bench scorer. Of a bench that had 5 guys play 9 or more minutes, Isaiah Thomas hit the only points for the bench all night. More proof of just how pisspoor this Kings team is.

Jason Jones talked about this during the pre-game, but after spending quite a bit of emphasis on speeding up, Keith Smart wanted this Kings team to slow down. I personally don’t think it makes a difference because, fast or slow, shitty decision making is shitty decision making. When you have an inconsequential mental midget in a NBA franchise player body doing his Washington Generals clownball act, it doesn’t matter what kind of pace you ask your team to play at.

To finish this nonsense off, that atmosphere at Energy Solutions Arena was the strangest environment I can ever remember when watching a NBA game. A number of Jazz fans noticed as typically ESA is usually louder and more engaged. Even more so during a close game. This game? It was very blase unless Jesus– I mean Jimmer– came into the game. Then it was loud and “emotional”. There were boo’s when Jimmer came out, cheers when he came in, and raucous applause when Jimmer hit a shot. (He hit a few.)

Speaking of shots, and the last 3 that Jimmer took, there are 2 things on that play. One, Jimmer was not fouled. Two, Jimmer tried to be the hero and deliver a needed win for the Kings on the road. I don’t think it was the Utah crowd as much as Jimmer saw an opportunity to try and win the game right then and there. He took it. You can look at it as a guy trying to be a hero in his college backyard where the crowd was clearly on his side (and little else) all night. Or, you can look at it as a guy who wanted to win, saw an open shot he was clearly comfortable taking, and pulled the trigger. The result is just not what we wanted. Of these 2 scenario’s, I think it’s a bit of both. Jimmer wasn’t afraid to pull the trigger in part due to the crowd response, but I also think Jimmer saw an open look that he felt he could hit no questions asked. Jimmer simply rushed the shot a bit when he saw Earl Watson running hard at him which does happen. Rookie moments yanno?

Either way, stressing out about that shot is unnecessary. If Jimmer made it, it might have encouraged clownball to continue the course. Whatever seals the death of clownball permanently is fine by me. If that’s a Jimmer airball, so be it.

Rather than drone on about Tyreke Evans, why I hate him so, and why shooting grenades at his head is not enough of a punishment, it was nice to see a few things. The biggest is that the Kings hit 46.2% of their shots. The only other time all season where the Kings hit 46% or better of their shots was against the Lakers opening night. Additionally, Utah shot 44.3% from the field which is a huge head start to the Kings actually not playing clownball. Hopefully this is the start of a trend, and not just an outlier. Because the only trends this season have been supremely and ridiculously one sided negative. It would be nice to talk about positive trends instead for awhile.

******

This franchise has major problems. The owners are cash poor and for all intents and purposes completely worthless in any real fashion. The President of Basketball operations has enabled this ridiculous clownball culture to emerge, and is now hiding to protect his image and legacy from all who assail him. But that’s not what is ailing this team. You fire the Maloofs and Geoff Petrie tomorrow and these same problems exist. Accountability is not about how many dollars you spend or whether or not the man in charge of basketball operations has suddenly decided to become Keyser Soze. You need players who demand accountability. Of themselves, of their teammates, and of the organization. Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins do not do that because it would require examining their own failures. Neither is willing to accept their responsibilities and as long as that is the case this franchise is doomed any way you slice it. 3 point losses are not acceptable anymore. 2 years ago, I would have been okay with that. Now? Not even close.

I would love to say something different, I would love to say that I think Keith Smart is making incremental real progress, and that this is salvageable. The truth is, I think Keith Smart will end up taking the hit for this (unfairly) so that more self preservation by the Maloofs and Petrie can continue. Evans and Cousins will continue to act like primmadonna’s, the culture will remain toxic and young players or veterans (Evans and Cousins are not choosy this way–they are equal opportunity screwers in this department) will continue to have their flaws routinely exposed because Evans and Cousins are far more interested in looking good than being part of a winning franchise. Numbers don’t mean anything if they come at the cost of success, and that’s all Evans/Cousins numbers represent right now. Evans is a lesser hops stronger version of Vince Carter. DeMarcus Cousins is the mouth of Rasheed Wallace without the talent or reasonable amount of production. Anyway you slice this, it’s all bad with these two. As these two dolt’s go, so goes this Kings franchise. Hence my negativity.

I guess I could ignore the two scumbags who make a professional basketball team seem embarrassing when comparing them to a team like Oak Hill academy. But such is life in the realm of Sacramento Kings basketball these days, and that’s just the way it goes sometimes in the NBA. Sometimes you get complete craptastic assclowns for “potential” young franchise players, and sometimes you get 2 scumbags who think they are superstars.

For me, I guess the only reason to follow this team anymore is to follow the development of Jason Thompson, pray for Chuck Hayes body to hold up, watch Isaiah Thomas inevitable ups & downs, and pray that Tyler Honeycutt can carve out a niche for himself sooner than later. Because right now, as far as I can tell anyway, there isn’t anything else worth watching with this team that doesn’t require a puke bucket next to the TV and/or computer monitor.

Onto the flip side I go.


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