Seats in Sec. 222 Row N: $10 each
2 beers at the game, one for each half: $15
Being reunited with my old friend, Arco Magic: Priceless
One home game into the season, I've now attended as many games as I did all of last year (I couldn't miss Vlade's retirement). I figured I should take advantage of this rare opportunity to share some of my in-the-arena observations and present my first ever game recap. I'm sure you already all know the main storylines, who sucked and who was Hawesome, so I'll try to stay away from the obvious stuff and add a little color to what you were able to see in the broadcast/boxscore/legitimate recaps.General Observations:
- That was the strangest looking sellout I've ever seen. In the second half, we moved back a couple of rows so we had a bit more room to eat. The entire row was empty. We stayed there the rest of the game because my ability to jump around and gesture wildly without fear of disturbing anyone was clearly inspiring my team to victory. Maybe hundreds of people bought tickets but decided not to brave the rough fall weather (clear, calm, and pleasant). In any case, the ol' house was a-rockin' at all the right times and it was a lot of fun.
- The biggest cheers of the night, outside of the 4th quarter and OT, were showered upon Mr. Bobby Jackson, who was introduced to the crowd twice. As I'm sure they showed in the TV broadcast, there were many special guests in attendance last night in addition to Bobby: Mayor Johnson (as part of the "Sellout 09 Committee") was also greeted with a hearty cheer, as was Floyd Mayweather (who passed on an opportunity to commit felicide when Slamson taunted him with oversized boxing gloves). There was also a small group of Oakland Raiders there, though I'm not sure exactly which ones as the chorus of boos began before the announcer could finish saying "Oakland Raiders" and their names were drowned-out. It was like each of them called a touch-foul on Jason Thompson. I believe at least one of them was a reciever, and I wondered why he wasn't afraid of catching a cold in a crowd like that, until I remembered that he is a reciever on the Oakland Raiders.
- I was surprised when I couldn't find Donté during warmups, and wondered if they'd decided just to send him to Reno. It wasn't until the second half that I finally spotted him in street clothes. I assumed that he was inactive due to bench sores, until after the game when I learned he was bumped for K9. They should send Donte to Reno until, say, February-ish.
- Tyreke Evans: 'Reke had a great game, though he looks much more Slovenian in person. Seriously though, I'm not sure if his ankle was bothering him or what, but he just didn't seem very aggressive out there and seemed a bit out-of-sync with his teammates. Even on such an off-night though, you can see how much he disrupts the other team's defense. There were at least a few times when he would start his drive and draw two or three defenders and kick-it-out to an open man for what should've been a fairly easy mid-range jumper. I remember at least twice for sure when Sean May missed wide-open jumpers that were setup by a Tyreke drive. I know you can pretty much say about any PG that they would have a lot more assists if their teammates made their shots, but a lot of other Point Guards can't drive it like Tyreke. It's been said many times here before, but I'd really like to reinforce my belief that Tyreke will be at his best when he's surrounded by shooters. That means Spence instead of Sean May and Omri or Noce instead of Mason. At this point, don't even bother trying to convince me of Mason's value to this team, because you're just wasting keystrokes.
- Spencer Friggin' Hawes: FYI, I was the guy who was chanting "STAR-TING CEN-TER!" every time Spence made a shot or grabbed a rebound from the moment he entered the game. The dreamer in me believes that he heard me and it motivated him to put out the effort that he did. In reality, I was sitting pretty high-up and I’m not very loud; plus I could see in Spence’s body language the entire time that he didn’t need any extra motivation for this game. As soon as he came in, you could see that he was bringing a whole different energy with him. He was active, he was aggressive, and he was a swift kick-in-the-caboose to a team that up to that point was playing like it was a scrimmage with no scoreboard. I’m curious to know if the TV broadcast showed the moment in OT when we started pouring-it-on and the Grizz called a timeout (I think Martin or Noce had just hit a three), and Spencer pointed to the floor and shouted, I’m assuming, "THIS IS OUR HOUSE!". It was pretty badass. I <3 Spence.
- Kevin Friggin’ Martin: There’s not much I can add to the legend of Kevin Martin. When he’s hitting his shots like he was last night, the man is unguardable. Absolutely unguardable. Like Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Michael Jordan unguardable. Throughout the 2nd half and OT he would have the ball in his hands in a particular situation and the whole arena knew he would be taking a shot, including every Memphis player on the floor, and it didn’t matter one bit. He would decide where he wanted to shoot from, get there, and make the shot. It was crazy to watch, and Kevin probably had more fun on a basketball court last night than he has in a long time.
- Omri Casspi: This dude loves to play the game. Every shot he made was like a shot of adrenaline for him. The first shot he made was a three that was relatively inconsequential at that point, but he pumped his fist like he’d just tied-it-up in the 4th, though not in an obnoxious way. Other people have compared his intensity to that of Cisco Garcia. Seeing him in person, a different Kings player sprang-to-mind: Jon Barry. Take what you will from that, I don’t think I could do a very good job of explaining the difference between the attitudes of those players. I’m not even sure I fully understand why I got that impression, just something about having intensity and confidence but not really having what I would consider "swagger" (or more precisely, having a "quiet swagger", but plenty of it). In any case, this guy should be a whole lot of fun to watch for as long as we are blessed to have him on our team and I’m really really excited to have Omri when we’re good again. When that happens, this man will be responsible for a lot of memorable moments.
- Shock Thompson: Bummer that my favorite player had such a rough game when I was in the house. My two cents on his foul trouble: he’s too aggressive on defense. When his man has the ball, he refuses to give him even an inch to work with, seemingly thinking that if he can stay right up on the guy then he won’t be able to get off a decent shot or pass. I think if JT realizes that he’s not a Guard and neither are the guys that he’s usually defending, he’ll be able to better utilize the space between himself and his man to disrupt their offense without committing fouls. But I’m certainly no expert.
- Mancakes Brockman: Obviously his Brockness didn’t see much time this game, but he did have a pretty sick reverse dunk during warmups and a sweet little layup during the game that did enough to convince me that he’s just waiting for the right time to put his awesome offensive skills on full display. Whenever he decides to unleash his arsenal, his 20-20s will be as routine as a late-night Bisquick run.
- Beno Draino: As you all know, Beno had an awesome game offensively. He was clutch, he was pretty much getting his shot whenever he wanted, and he was making most of them. But Beno cannot guard Allen Iverson. I imagine it’s the same story with any of the quicker guards in the league. It certainly wasn’t for lack of effort. I could see that Beno was really trying to keep up; he just could not do it. I honestly don’t think it’s something he can learn, it’s just a serious limitation that he’ll always have. If he can continue to put up that kind of production on the offensive end, however, his defensive ineptness won’t matter.
- K9: I never thought I’d say this, but Kenny Thomas really helped us win this game. It didn’t really show in the box score, but he was in at some really critical times and was effective. He just looks really comfortable out on the floor (playing with no pressure, I guess), and he plays really smart. He knows how to defend without fouling (take notes, JT), and he seemed to act as a calming presence that allowed our more talented players to do their thing. I’m not sure that he should get regular rotation minutes (those should usually go to Brockman, in my opinion), but there will certainly be other times throughout the season when K9 is the right man for the job, and I feel pretty certain that this won’t be the last time he contributes to a winning effort this season. Wow, that felt really weird to type.
So there you have it. I hope my insights added something to your impressions of the game. If you really didn’t care for my recap, you can breathe a sigh of relief as its quite possible that this was the only game I attend all season, unless Brockman realizes how badly he needs my undying devotion and decides to leave tickets for me. I hope so, because this game was a whole lot of fun.