Yeah, you could say I'm still pissed about the Lakers game.
This week will forever be defined by that game. It was a heartbreaking loss, and one the Kings should have won. But was it more disappointing than a loss against Philadelphia against a team that you should be better than? Well yes, because its the Lakers.
1. Sactown Royalty Night
StR Night was a great time. Once again, it was awesome to meet all of you guys and to make fun of Grant in person. Oh yeah, and we beat a really good team too. Can't wait for the Peach-quel in the spring.
2. Omri Casspi
See Player of the Week.
3. Donté Greene's defensive emergence
Donté has been asked to focus on his defensive game, and this is definitely the part of the game where you can see the most improvement. Over the past couple weeks he's been asked to guard some of the best players in the world and he's done a remarkable job for a 21 year old. On Carmelo Anthony, the leading scorer in the league, he was a big factor in why Anthony only shot 15-35. Against Philadelphia, he guarded Thaddeus Young and held him to 11 points on 4-13 shooting, one of the few Sixers who had a bad game (and Donté being one of the few Kings who had a good game). In LA, he guarded Kobe as well as anyone could, and its a shame he fouled out because of the poor officiating. Not having Donté on that final play really hurt. He also saw some time against Dirk last night and used his length to bother his shot a bit. Donté looks like he has a very bright future in this league, and I don't think I'm being too bold in saying that the Donté we've seen this year is better than we would have thought he'd be in his 2nd year.
4. Jason Thompson in every game but the Lakers game.
JT would have been contending for Player of the Week if he would have had even half his averages against the Lakers. But he didn't, so lets focus on what he did do well this week. In the 3 games where they didn't play Los Angeles, JT had 3 double-doubles. Even against Los Angeles, he still had 6 rebounds in only 24 minutes. His defense has also improved, as he's been able to stay in games longer without fouling out (Lakers game doesn't count for fouling out. Shane Battier would have fouled out that game.) because he's not getting as many ticky tack calls from reaching in constantly. It still needs improvement, but its nice to see results already.
5. Spencer Hawes v. Los Angeles
Spencer didn't play much against Denver or Dallas, and in Philadelphia he didn't have too gaudy of a stat line, but against Los Angeles, the team that most people would say has the best frontcourt in the NBA, Spencer Hawes looked like the best big man on the floor. He dominated Andrew Bynum, he played decent defense on Pau Gasol. He hit the glass, he got his teammates involved, and he hit shots when it mattered most. This Spencer is the Spencer that we've all been waiting to see. And he's only 21 years old. If you don't know why the Kings believe Spencer Hawes can be their center of the future, watch the Lakers game again.
The Kings finally got back on track with regards to rebounding, outrebounding 3 of their 4 opponents this week, and a huge part of that has been Omri Casspi's extended playing time. Omri is an excellent rebounder for his position, and his 8.5 boards per game for the week shows that. The Kings could still use another good rebounder, especially to help limit opposing offensive boards, as evidenced by the Denver and Los Angeles games. Denver had an amazing 20 offensive boards, 43% of their total rebounds, and Los Angeles had 15.
I hereby dub Udoka and Brockman the "Bench Mobsters". When Westphal needs some type of production on the floor, he turns to these guys. Ime has gone from being a defensive specialist to also dropping 10 or so points on pretty efficient shooting. Mancakes has gone from being a rebounding specialist to being a pretty good defender, because his strength and lower center of gravity doesn't let him get backed down easily. Against Denver, and also in Chicago, these guys were the reason we won those games. They come in and play regardless of the situation. Yes Ime missed those two free throws, but he wouldn't have even had a chance to shoot those free throws if he hadn't knocked the ball off Pau on the previous play. I cannot question the heart and effort of these guys.
8. Going the Safe Route with Injuries
I like how the Kings staff is not rushing guys back from injury. There's no doubt in my mind that Tyreke could and would have played against Los Angeles if the team had let him. And the fact that the Kings are taking the slow route with Kevin Martin and making sure he comes back 100% is great. You don't want to be playing with damaged goods, and I think the Kings learned that last year when Kevin came back too early from his ankle injury last year. I don't want any injured player coming back too early and merely hurting themselves (and the team) even further by playing hurt. We're not going to the playoffs this year. The West is going to run about 10 teams deep for over .500 records. We've got a bright future, no need to try to rush things this year.
9. Geoff Petrie 3 year contract extension
The Kings extended GM Geoff Petrie for 3 more years this week, and I can't say enough how good this is to hear as a Kings fan. Petrie has helped put together a talented young squad and things are finally looking up for Sacramento. In fact, he should definitely be considered for Executive of the Year just for his draft night. Getting 4 players who become a regular rotation player in one day is quite ridiculous. Thanks for everything Geoff, you can stay for as long as you want.
His performance against Denver ups his ranking from ugly to merely bad. Which he still was in the 3 games following. Noc tries way too hard to get his shot going at times and it really kills our offense. His defense is sort of Artest-lite, in that he gets really physical, but it also means he gets called for a lot of fouls. Trade Noc as soon as possible. He'll need a minor miracle to last past the trade deadline.
2. Beno Draino
Whaaaat?!?!? The guy had 19 points and 13 assists against LA, and a 17 point performance against Denver. What are you on about Aykis? Well the reason I'm putting Beno on here is because he's finally come back down to Earth a little bit, but I still love me some Beno, because even the Beno of this week was a big improvement over last years Beno.
3. Spencer Hawes + JT = ?
Why can't JT and Spence seem to have good games together? It seems that if one of them gets going, the other doesn't really do much. It feels to me like they had much better chemistry last year, and both were rolling at the same time more often. I wonder if its the different system or what, but I know we need these two guys to start meshing together much more in the future if we plan on having them share our frontcourt for years to come.
4. Kenny Thomas
Kenny didn't really do anything of note this week, except for one thing. And that was to be in the game at a crucial point of the Lakers game. During the pivotal play, Kenny switched onto the cutting Vujacic, instead of the wide open Kobe Bryant. Yes Kobe pushed off Sergio, but Kenny should still have come to help. You don't leave Kobe that wide open with the game on the line. Off all the people in the world, not Kobe. And it was ridiculous how wide open he was. You're a veteran, you should have known better. Also, woof.
1. The officiating v. the Lakers
We've all said as much as we can say on the subject. Fact is we still lost, should have won, and could have won, even with the horrible officiating. Still...
2. Not having our group introduced at StR night
Fail ARCO staff. We want to be introduced twice next time, as "Peaches Posse". Make it happen.
3. JT v. Los Angeles
Worst game of the year for JT? Without a question. Possibly even of his career. If he scores even one basket, we win the game. And yet he didn't even manage that. It wasn't even the Lakers great defense, because all 4 of his shots were shots he'd usually make. 2 of them were of the wide open elbow jumper variety that he's been stroking this year. His frustration at the officiating was affecting his game way too much. You need to unleash on the other team JT, not on yourself.
4. The officiating v. the Lakers
Alright I'm done now. I think its all out of my system. Even though Kobe obviously pushed off of ... ah screw it. We lost.
Player of the Week:
19.3 PPG, .519 FG%, .588 3P%, 8.5 RPG, 2.8 APG, .8 SPG
Omri was simply wonderful this week. In Tyreke's absence, he looked like the Rookie of the Year. Three 20+ point games, including a career high 23 against the defending champs. The one qualm I could have is that sometimes the team doesn't find this ball enough (see Lakers game). Its almost like Bibby/Artest era Kevin Martin. Omri is definitely looking like the starting SF of the future. You don't mess with the Zohan.
Comment of the Week:
Highlight of the Week:
This was more exciting in person, but if you went to StR night, you know.
Last week's contest winner: Kfan in Korea
Lebron: "Damn, my name would look good on that jersey!"
This weeks picture:
And Nostradumbass Prediction for Next Week:
v. Phoenix 1/5 W (Sacramento took it to them in Phoenix and lost because of missed free throws. This team really wants to bounce back.)
@ Golden State 1/8 W (Golden State has improved since trading Stephen Jackson and leaving the drama behind them, but the Kings just match up so well with them and Tyreke Evans has absolutely dominated Monta Ellis in both the pre-season and regular season meetups. This probably won't be a blowout but it should be a good Kings win.)
v. Denver 1/9 W (Carmelo has a right knee contusion. Chauncey has a pulled left groin. If either one of them is out against the Kings, and I think that will be the case, we win this one again. StR won't be there, but the Kings should have Evans so it makes up for it.)
Nostradumbass record for the season 18-15.