Open practice at ARCO Arena today.
Walking toward the arena I see Ron Artest near the practice facility. As I approach I debate with myself. Will I tell him that I think we should trade him? Will I tell him that I didn't like his CD? My mind is racing as I close to within 15 feet. Here is what I say: "Hey Ron, I'm a big fan. Get well soon, we need you back." God I'm a wuss.
Well, for the day I am section 114. The Kings dance team looks a lot better from down here.
Huge Mike is trying to heat up the crowd by starting...THE WAVE? What is this, 1990? Are Simmons, Mays, Bonner and Causwell going to come out of the tunnel?
I would estimate that there are about 9,000 people here as the downstairs is filled and there are some people sitting upstairs, including someone in my seat...Greek, is that you? I understand that people were lining up this morning at 7:30. I don't know if that is cool or sad.
A nice ovation for Petrie as he officially welcomes us to practice at about noon.
We see a live feed of the locker room on the jumbo tron, and Theus addresses the team, stressing that they are only four games out of the playoffs and that they are getting healthier.
A review of last night's game film begins. Theus interjects here and there, but the offensive review is handled by Rex Kalamian while Kenny Natt handles the defense. This takes about ten minutes. Kalamian notes that Brad needs to shoot the open jumper that he passed on just prior to Martin missing the jumper that would have tied the game late. The live feed ends at the end of the game film review.
30 minutes passes before the Kings take the floor.
I wonder where the Mavericks advance scout is sitting?
Kings dance team throwing free t-shirts into the crowd...must be in the first three rows to win.
Bibby comes out tells the crowd that he will be back Wednesday to a nice ovation. Artest should be back the following week.
The team hits the floor at 12:45. Reggie works the crowd while the team loosens up. He cracks that he gets a page whenever Sam Amick is in the building.
The team breaks into a five man weave. Reggie says this is the only time that the team does not turn the ball over.
Next is a full court drill where the team has to score 155 points in five minutes. Working both ends of the court and shooting three balls in succession they receive two points for three point baskets and one point for everything else. They score 145 points, and the applause is cut short when Reggie says that there will be no symapthy claps. They run it again, this time getting to 147. Normally the team would have to run suicides here, but Theus wants to keep the running to a minimum at an in between game practice. Bibby's jumper, by the way, looks pretty good.
The next drill is called "Beat 'em," which Theus says is a drill where Chuck Person takes a stick and beats the players. It is in fact a defensive drill. Theus mentions that the defense is designed not to give up points through the middle of the floor, adding that the Pacers hung an unacceptable 20 points through the middle last night.
Next is supposed to be a half court 5 on 5 until Brad Miller insists on it being full court, and Theus OK's it. Theus stops play mostly for defensive lapses. I hate saying this but K9(woof!) looks a lot smoother here than 3-Wil. Maybe that is the rub. 3-Wil needs to improve his team defense.
The team then breaks into two groups. Big guys at one end of the floor, wings and guards at the other. They begin going through a series of shooting drills.
I take my leave at this time, as Mrs. section214 has chores for me, and after my experience earlier with Artest I really don't want to run into Mike Bibby in the parking lot. This was cool, though. I'm glad that I came down here today.