Tonight's game was a bit weird. The first half was evenly played and the Kings showed flashes of great play. The third quarter was insanely frustrating and pretty much gave the game to Charlotte. The 4th was all about the failed comeback; exciting but not enough. I don't really have much analysis so I'll just go with some random thoughts:
The Kings are not a very good team. To quote Pookey: "shocking!" Because they are not that good (yet!) they can't afford to get themselves in a 20 point hole and then attempt a comeback. It may work once or twice, but I'm going to take a wild guess and say that it is not a good strategy most of the time. We still almost did come back though. JT missed FTs could've put us within 4 and then Felton missed 2 FT of his own that could've maybe set up a 3 or a quick 2 with a bit over 10 secs left. Wishful thinking but we were close. Either way, the problem was not failing to comeback but having to make a comeback in the first place.
Total third quarter collapse by the team. We only had a Kevin 3 and a Spencer bucket by the 8 minute mark and the Bobcats were killing us in transition. Frustrating but everyone just needs to get back, everyone! It also seemed like they weren't missing in that 3rd. At this point I don't know if it's the other team or if it's just the Kings defense. To be 100% honest, live, it did not look like just the Kings. Yes, we failed to box out a couple times and maybe rotations were not as quick as they should've been, but it just seemed to me like the Bobcats were just making shots. Whatever it was, the Kings were not getting it done so it's on them at the end of the day.
I've said this before but I can't emphasize it enough: you have to witness Kevin Martin live to truly appreciate what he does on the offensive end. It just seems so effortless the way he scores and at no point do you think he's forcing it or taking bad shots. Every shot he takes are within the offense and not because he's being selfish. His efficiency is tremendous. I honestly have no idea how someone who has seen him live, when he's on, would propose to trade him for anything less than an established star. Unfortunately for the Kings, he was one of the only ones to show up on that side of the court. Funny note about Speed: I think he missed 3 of his first 5 shots or something like that which prompted me to tell the wifey that his shot still seemed a little off. This is just funny to me because he came back and scored so well that my early statement just proves how I expect him to make every single one of his shots. If he misses one shot, he's having an off night!! How dare he!!!!
I had no idea Reke was bothered by the hip, and I'm actually a bit glad that was the case tonight, because he didn't have his best game scoring the ball and we kinda needed that. He did a beautiful job of getting everyone involved though. He was able to find teammates for easy buckets and was truly a PG out there dishing the ball. I kept thinking that the orders were for him to get everyone involved in the first half and then take over in the second, but looks like because of the injury he just couldn't. Again, unfortunate because Kevin could;ve used his help.
One random thought on Tyreke and how he fits with this team. The best offense for the Kings, IMO, happened in the first quarter when we were running things through Spencer. The ball movement was great, Spencer was making for the most part good decisions, and everything seemed like it was flowing nicely. This got me thinking: this team we have right now was not built for Tyreke Evans. Let me explain before you call me crazy. The type of players the Kings drafted, signed, traded for before this year were acquired for a system that not necessarily is the type that would benefit the type of player Tyreke Evans is. Reke is a great player (now or in the making, take your pick) but he benefits from having the ball in his hands and making the decisions. Players like Spencer and Kevin (to take two examples) are best served to play in a system with a lot of ball movement, cutting, slashing, and passing while Evans is a bit more of a power, individual type player who needs others to complement him. I'm in no way, shape, or form implying that Evans doesn't fit or he or the others should be traded. What I'm trying to say is that the adjustment period to incorporate Evans, Martin, Hawes, and the others into a succesful offensive system may be a bit longer than expected because of the mix of styles. Once this is done, the Kings have the potential of having an awesome system on that end of the floor, but before that happens both sides need to adjust to each other and learn how to make it work. To me this is not about Martin fitting, or Reke fitting, or Spencer fitting, it's about every single guy compromising and doing what's best for the team. This is also on both GP (getting new players that will fit the makeup of this new team) and coach Westphal to find the best way of making everything work.
Back to the game:
Sergio did a very good job when he came in at running the team and truly leading that comeback. I think he definitely deserves more minutes. I've said it before (though I've also tried to stay away from the late Sergio arguments) that he brings something unique to this team. He's the only PG on this team that has the ability to get everyone involved and change the pace of the game. I think we could benefit from that on many stretches during games. I don't think we will win or lose games because of Sergio Rodriguez but I do feel he has the chance of helping this team in ways no one else in the roster can. Unfortunately, our main pieces are both Gs so where would the minutes come from? This leads me to my next thought.
I hope Beno Udrih is on the trading block. Believe me, I'm far from a Beno hater and I appreciate so much him coming into this season motivated and doing an awesome job at the beginning, and this idea is also not coming out because he had a couple bad games. IMO with the return of Kevin, Beno's impact is greatly diminished. Like I said in the Sergio paragraph, our main guys right now are the Gs and Beno brings something to the table that could easily be replaced by Kevin, a returning Cisco, and Sergio. We already knew his contract was bad so it may be the time to sell high while we can. To repeat, I loved Wabeno at the beginning of the season, but with that contract and with Kevin's scoring back, I don't think he is going to be of much help in the future. We need talent, I've said it many times, but we also need to look at the future and I don't see Beno bringing anything that others already in the team can't easily bring. If you think about it, moving Beno may actually be better than moving Noc. Just my opinion.
A couple things on our big men: JT had a good game numbers wise but still seemed a bit off. It was a bit of a "bleh" game for him though he did make a couple of those sweet jumpers and rebounded the ball alright. I hope he slowly comes back to being the JT we know and love.
Spencer, as I mentioned above, did an awesome job at running the offense in the high post. I'd love to see more of this because he has proven to make very good decisions. The more confidence he gets at doing this should lead to less TOs and I think it's well worth it. This is all part of PW making everyone fit in the offense. I do agree that he has a very short leash with the coaching staff. As soon as he didn't get a couple boards in the 3rd he was out, and I actually think he never came back. The problem is that once he;s out and the other team big man goes out as well, the matchup never seem good to bring him back in. I'm not smart enough to make a suggestion here so definitely help me out.
May was a no show, and Brockman had some uneventful minutes. We did go Nellie small with Donte or Omri at C a couple times. Weird to see to be honest.
G-Money was great for the Bobcats. Definitely showed why he's an All-Star. He did it all for them.
So that's what I have on this game. That 3rd quarter was tough as a fan and had to remind myself how young we are many times. Some people actually left during that Bobcats run in the 3rd and it was awful to see. I hate people who leave early. Maybe in the last 2 minutes of a truly out of reach game it's fine, but not in the 3rd with a young team that has made comabcks before. Oh well, not everyone is a true fan like us. A complete comeback would've been even sweeter because of all those who left.
And by the way, Arco looked fairly empty, it was sad to see after attending a couple near sold out games. The team just has to go back to its "winning ways" I guess. Unfortunately, it's going to be tough so I expect a lot of 10,000 fans nights at Arco in the coming months.
While dissapointed, as always I left hopeful, because these guys have no quit in them and that's good to see because character and fight is not something you can teach a player. You can set a better offensive system or teach better defense or draft players that will fill a need, but you can't teach heart and the young Kings have proven to have just that. Gotta love this team.