No moral victory in losing at Memphis, by double digits, in a game the Kings were never in from about the fourth quarter on. The team played an unfocused, sloppy game, refusing to put together even two-minute stretches on vibrant basketball. If the Kings play one quarter of ball the way they did in Dallas and Houston, it's a win. But they didn't, and that's four straight losses, and a 5-8 record.
Not to make an excuse -- there are no excuses for 21 turnovers against a team as defensively lethargic as the Grizzlies -- but you wouldn't look like a loon if you suggested Scott Foster had the over. Though Jason Thompson was ineffective on offense, his foul trouble killed the team's energy in the first half. He played only 27 minutes due to the fouls, and still had a game-high 10 rebounds. He can destroy Memphis, even though he's had two disappointing games against them this season. He's built to beat teams like this, and being sent to the bench with all those fouls prevented that. (I should note for posterity that Paul Westphal didn't needlessly sit J.T. to protect him -- Thompson was legitimately in foul trouble before Westphal took him.)
Spencer Hawes (4 points on 5 FGAs, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 turnovers in 25 minutes) was rather emblematic of the problems the Kings had. Hawes was called for two brutal three-second violations on offense, in situations where three-second violations was basically indefensible mistakes. Just as with the team as a whole, Hawes would have one good play (a block, a nice backdoor pass to Beno Udrih) and would follow it up with three or four bad possessions.
Tyreke Evans had solid numbers (28/4/4 with five turnovers) but never really had control of the game. Udrih initiated the offense much of the first half, and Evans's gravity ebbed and waned. I think it's reasonable to say he was the most talented player on the floor, but the Kings needed him to take over the game. And he didn't, until the match had been decided. Having a Wade/Roy type player means having a player to live and die by. Evans played so well that the Kings could have lived if he'd taken his proper role. But it didn't happen. He is 20 years old, of course, 13 games into his
pro NBA career. There's time for growth.
For the record, Omri Casspi got ejected from this one for ... objecting to Jamaal Tinsley holding onto his arm. Omri's two technical fouls were the first two for any Kings player this season. (And yes, Rasheed Wallace tallied five before any King received one.) It's also worth noting for posterity's sake that Donte Greene -- that Donte Greene, you're thinking of the right one -- fouled out in 19 energetic minutes. Two of those fouls were absolutely absurd by normal NBA standards, but par for this game, which a preseasonesque 54 personal fouls.
Jon Brockman deserved all the minutes he received (14) plus all of Hawes's. Sergio Rodriguez had 16/7 with only one turnover off the bench -- Udrih was ineffective for the first time in a few weeks, and I wouldn't be surprised if Rodriguez is in position to deliver Beno a shorter leash during the coming homestand.
Kevin Martin cannot get back soon enough.
Rudy Gay is the worst good player in the league.