What a woeful little game for the Kings offense. Against a ghastly defense, and with top scorer Kevin Martin back in the fold, the Kings scored 86 points in 93 possessions, shooting 37 percent from the floor and turning the ball over a near extraordinary 19 times. Martin had three of those turnovers, as did sometimes sluggish Tyreke Evans. Jason Thompson, otherwise brilliant (19 points, 15 rebounds), coughed up the ball four times. Ime Udoka had three missteps in just 12 bench minutes. All that adds up to a lot of easy transition baskets for Philadelphia.
The shooting part was a bit more difficult to understand. Evans took only a couple iffy jumpers -- most of his 10 misses came at the rim (again). Martin shot 4-10, also having trouble finishing in traffic. But each got to the line at will (eight FTAs for Evans, nine for Martin), and that will be key going forward. And, of course, limiting those turnovers. Ugly, ugly turnovers.
On defense, the Kings stunk in two key areas: Samuel Dalembert and Elton Brand destroyed them in the paint, and Thaddeus Young destroyed them in transition. Dalembert and Brand combined to shoot 13-15 from the floor, just ridiculous production. No King could do anything with either of them. (And these are Philly's two untradable contracts!) Philadelphia's guards shot poorly enough (10-29 combined for Louis Williams and Allen Iverson) for the Kings to win this. But you can't let Dalembert and Brand destroy you in the process.
Martin looked good, mostly, in his return (two travels excepted). Until the closing minutes, he stayed in front of Iverson just fine, and made good decisions on offense. (These good decisions generally involved going to the rim or taking fairly open shots.) The word was that Martin was going to be limited to 15-20 minutes. That went out the window when Martin played the first eight minutes of the game -- Paul Westphal tried to give him frequent breaks, but it seemed like every time Martin sat the Sixers would start to pull away. (That showed up in the plus-minus: Martin was a team high +6. Only one other King -- Omri Casspi, who started but scored only six points in 32 minutes -- ended up in the positive.)
The Kings bench got massively outplayed. Beno Udrih shot decently (4-7 for nine points), but the other four reserves combined for 1-10 shooting. Donte Greene got exactly one possession of action before abbreviated garbage time: a defensive sequence to end the third quarter. (The Show played it beautifully, natch, forcing Marreese Speights into a fading three.) Udoka looked awfully tenative for such a cool customer, and even Jon Brockman appeared sluggish. (!) I'm not exactly sure how this rotation is going to shake out. Martin will soon play more minutes than he receives tonight (34), Andres Nocioni only saw five minutes (all at the power forward) and Sergio Rodriguez never got off the bench. Greene deserves more than two minutes, and I'm not exactly sure how he finds those. (Less burn for Udoka and Brockman -- yes, Brockman -- might end up the answer.)
Rough night. The Kings always seem to play so oddly in Philadelphia.